image 09 Jan 2019

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December Market Report


The Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® (MAR) reported today that the number of homes put under agreement in the month of December rose almost 10 percent over the last year, marking a full year of year-over-year increases. Pending condo sales for the month fell from last year. The pending median home price saw over a one percent drop to $375,000 while condominiums saw a two percent drop to $352,500 compared to December 2017.

Year-end data shows there was an increase in average median prices for both homes and condos in 2018 compared to last year. This year also saw an increase in total pending sales for homes and condos. December's "Hot Topic" question shows that REALTORS® have found that the stock market volatility in December has had a neutral impact on their client's decisions to buy or sell.


December Pending Sales

Homes December 2018 December 2017 % Change
Total Sales 3,122 2,847 + 9.7%
Median Price $375,000 $380,000 - 1.3%

Pending sales have been up for the past 12 months.

Condos December 2018 December 2017 % Change
Total Sales 1,077 1,083 - 0.6%
Median Price $352,500 $359,900 - 2.1%

Pending sales have been down or flat 6 of the last 12 months.


Year End Pending Sales

Homes 2018 2017 % Change
Total Sales 62,209 57,474 + 8.2%
Median Price $392,083 $372,488 + 5.3%

Condos 2018 2017 % Change
Total Sales 23,265 22,456 + 3.6%
Median Price $371,513 $349,838 + 6.2%

Year-end pending sales data derived from monthly published pending sales reports.


"One thing this high demand market has done over the past several years is it has expanded the traditional home buying and selling seasons to more than just the spring and fall," said 2019 MAR President Anne Meczywor, associate broker at Roberts & Associates Realty in Lenox, MA. "December was another example of buyers staying engaged in the process until they made offers that were accepted, regardless of the time of year."


REALTOR® Market & Price Confidence Indexes

Confidence Index December 2018 December 2017 % Change
Market 57.40 74.62 - 23.07%
Price 56.30 71.55 -21.31%

Measured on a 100-point scale, a score of 50 is the midpoint between a strong (100 points) and a weak (0 points) market condition.


Year-End Market & Price Confidence Indexes

Confidence Index 2018 2017 % Change
Market 70.64 77.16 - 8.45%
Price 66.24 71.92 - 7.90%

"The combination of historically-low inventory, high prices, and mortgage rate uncertainty has helped push both confidence indexes down in December," said Meczywor.


Monthly Hot Topic Question


The December "Hot Topic" question asked REALTORS® if the volatility of the stock market in December has had an impact on buyer and seller behaviors.


Of those who responded, less than two percent reported that the stock market’s volatility had a positive impact on their clients' decision to buy or sell. The majority of respondents (73%) reported that there has been a neutral impact on their clients. The remaining 25 percent reported that there has been a negative impact or a significant negative impact on the buying and selling behaviors of their clients.


"Most buyers and sellers, especially those already moving along in the process, are sticking to their decisions to buy and sell. When buyers and sellers get to this point, their financial ducks tend to already be in a row," said Meczywor.


About the Data Sets


The tracking of signed purchase and sales agreements (also called "pending sales") provide reliable information about where the real estate market is heading in coming months.

A pending sale or a sale "under agreement" happens when the buyer and seller agree on the terms of the sale of a home and have a signed purchase and sale agreement, but have yet to close and be recorded as such. MAR is the only organization, which compiles this statewide information from Multiple Listing Services each month.


Monthly pending (or under agreement) data and closed sales data comes from the three REALTOR® affiliated Multiple Listing Services in Massachusetts. They are the Berkshire County Multiple Listing Service, Cape Cod & Islands Association of REALTORS® Multiple Listing Service, Inc.; and MLS Property Information Network, Inc. The data is compiled by 10K Research and Marketing, Inc. and updated each month. As a result, previous data may change after the reports have been run.


The REALTOR® Index Methodology


The Massachusetts REALTOR® Market Confidence Index (RMCI) and Price Confidence Index (RPCI) are based on monthly responses from a random sampling of Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® members on the state of the housing market. More specifically, the survey asks members two basic questions pertaining to the real estate business in their market area in Massachusetts:


  • • How would you describe the current housing market?

  • • What are your expectations of home prices over the next year?


In addition to these standard questions, the survey each month includes one wildcard question that changes each month and is based on an industry hot topic.


The RMCI is calculated in the following way. Respondents indicate whether conditions are, or are expected to be strong (100 points), moderate (50 points), and weak (0 points). The results are the average score for each question. A score of 50 is the threshold between a strong and a weak condition. Similarly, the question about home prices over the next year (REALTOR® Price Confidence Index) is calculated using five categories: Rise 0-5% (75 points), Rise 5%+ (100 points), Level (50 points), Fall 0-5% (25 points), and Fall >5% (0 points).


About the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS®:


Organized in 1924, the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® is a professional trade organization with more than 24,000+ members. The term REALTOR® is registered as the exclusive designation of members of the National Association of REALTORS® who subscribe to a strict code of ethics and enjoy continuing education programs.


Editors and reporters: Please note that the term REALTOR® is properly spelled with capitalized letters and the registered trademark symbol, per the Associated Press Stylebook.