Massachusetts Housing Market – Looking Better?

By
Real Estate Agent with The Buyers' Counsel

Housing market heading upThe number of home sales in Massachusetts rose slightly in August while the rate of foreclosures fell sharply. 

In what some may say is a signal of this region's housing market recovery, sales of single-family homes rose two percent for the second consecutive month. 

"This is a modest increase in single-family homes sales, but the fact that sales have improved for two months straight after declining steadily for the first half of the year, is a hopeful sign," said Timothy Warren, CEO of The Warren Group whose company provided this data. 

Warren went on to say that the state's unemployment and mortgage delinquencies remain a challenge to a quick recovery. 

The other side of the coin remains in the still-sliding values of real estate in Massachusetts.  The median selling price for a single-family home dropped 6.2 percent to $302,625 in August from $332,500 during the same month last year. 

If we are comparing this to our market of four years ago - median homes prices are around 21 percent lower than they were then.  But, do we really want to go there

The foreclosure picture also improved last month with the number of foreclosures falling sharply.  The Warren Group reported that foreclosures declined 35 percent from a year ago.  At the same time, initial foreclosure proceedings soared by more than 150 percent in August.  This sudden surge in proceedings may have, in fact, been caused by a change in the state's law last May that forced lenders to delay initial proceedings, keeping the numbers artificially low for the past few months. 

The number of initial foreclosure proceedings does not tell the entire story since many foreclosures are resolved before the lender takes the property.  Some homeowners will pay what they owe, some will renegotiate with the bank and others may actually sell their homes.  Last year, out of 21,000 foreclosures that were initiated, only 12,000 were completed. 

State and federal governments have also put into motion a number of programs to help homeowners avoid foreclosure and HUD has said that it has plans right now to modify mortgage for around 500,000 home owners. 

Aside from today's number from The Warren Group, a recent report from Zillow.com indicated that home prices in the Greater Boston Area may be turning a corner.  While this is anything but full recovery, some signs are indicating that we may actually be heading in the right direction.  

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  Copyright 2009 - Claudette Millette, President, TheBuyersCounsel -  800-392-1446, E-mail    

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Rainmaker
597,884
Valerie Osterhoudt
Johnson Real Estate, Inc. - Cromwell, CT
ABR, Cromwell, CT Real Estate ~ 860.883.8889

Claudette.. I'm so glad to see that you are blogging about *good* news.  I've been mentioning this for weeks that the market seems to be recovering.. I'm glad that you agree.

valerie osterhoudt

Sep 29, 2009 11:49 AM #1
Rainmaker
403,509
Claudette Millette
The Buyers' Counsel - Ashland, MA
Buyer, Broker - Metrowest Mass

Valerie:

It certainly feels good to do it.  Let's hope we have more of this news to tell.

 

Sep 29, 2009 11:54 AM #2
Rainmaker
176,931
Lori Lincoln And Associates
Top Agent Serving Dighton Taunton, Rehoboth and more! - Taunton, MA
Top Agent Taunton,Dighton Rehoboth &more

Claudette,

Boston has not really felt the pain of the housing downturn like areas of Springfield, New Bedford and Fall River. New Bedford and Springfield  are still "bleeding".  As a Realtor wholives and  works in Southern New England, I believe that we didn't see that increase in several towns. On a brighter note, Lakeville, Middleboro, Easton have realized some small gains in the first time buyer price point. especially Easton. It just goes back to "All Real Estate is Local.

Sep 29, 2009 12:31 PM #3
Rainmaker
565,763
Denise Hamlin, Broker/Owner
Cardinal Realty ~ 319-400-0268 - Iowa City, IA
Helping Happy Clients Make Smart Choices

Hi Claudette ~ It is nice to see you have some good news about your area. Babysteps right? I agree with Lori that there probably has never been a time when the saying "real estate is local" was more true. Anyone buying or selling real estate should really talk to a local Realtor, because the discrepancies around the country are phenomenal. Here in Iowa City for instance, sales and prices are flat, but not so much that you loose sleep about it. I'm amazed at some of the stories here on AR - definitely not representative of Iowa City even in the slightest.

Sep 29, 2009 12:50 PM #4
Rainmaker
403,509
Claudette Millette
The Buyers' Counsel - Ashland, MA
Buyer, Broker - Metrowest Mass

Lori:

You are so right about that. The national headlines do not tell the whole story.  Each area is different. I am originally from that Greater New Bedford area having been raised in Rochester/Mattapoisett.  I know how depressed that city can be and I agree it is going through one of those times now.  I am glad to hear about Lakeville (beautiful place), Middleboro and Easton having some rebound.

Denise:

"Baby Steps" is an accurate portrayal of what is happening right now.  But any steps in the right direction are welcome.  That's interesting what you are saying about Iowa City.  You are not losing sleep? That is different from most of the rest of the country.  'So glad to hear it.

Sep 29, 2009 02:50 PM #5
Rainmaker
1,048,025
Bill Gassett
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Hopkinton, MA
Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate

Claudette from what I have been reading some of the prognosticators are saying that the Boston area should recover quicker than others in regards to employment which should have a trickle effect on Real Estate. Lets hope that is the case!

Sep 29, 2009 11:52 PM #6
Rainmaker
403,509
Claudette Millette
The Buyers' Counsel - Ashland, MA
Buyer, Broker - Metrowest Mass

Bill:

Yes, and I am hoping that they are right about that.  My husband is a software developer and he works as a consultant.  He has seen an increase in contracts coming in lately and, therefore, more jobs in high tech.  Let's hope that real estate follows this trend. 

Sep 30, 2009 05:59 AM #7
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Rainmaker
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Claudette Millette

Buyer, Broker - Metrowest Mass
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