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Home Sales in Massachusetts and New Hampshire Increase for the Fourth Month in a Row

Home Sales Increased for April 2012Home sales in Massachusetts and New Hampshire increased for the fourth consecutive month, a positive sign that the housing market is improving. According to the April Lamacchia Realty Housing Report, overall Massachusetts home sales increased 18.88 percent and New Hampshire home sales increased 27.07 percent

The increase in sales was true for single-family homes, condos, and multi-family properties. The number of single-family homes sold in Massachusetts increased 22 percent in April 2012 compared to April 2011. In New Hampshire, single-family home sales increased 29 percent for the same time period. Condo sales rose 12.57 percent in Massachusetts; in New Hampshire, condo sales rose 28.40 percent.

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Towns with the Largest Increase in Sales

Some towns saw large increases in sales. Derry, New Hampshire showed a 54 percent increase in sales for all home types. Beverly saw a 118 percent increase in single family homes. Boston had a 16 percent increase in condo sales. And Multi-family property sales increased 52 percent in Jamaica Plain. This increase in the number of homes sold is happening across the country, indicating an improvement in the housing market. In a news release from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) on May 22, existing home sales in April increased 3.4 percent from March, and are 10.0 percent higher compared to April 2011.

Why Home Sales Are Increasing

There are several key factors in the rise in home sales:

The low unemployment rate and job growth numbers have added to home buyer confidence. This month the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development reported that Massachusetts added 2,500 jobs in April and the unemployment rate dropped to 6.3 percent. In New Hampshire, the unemployment rate is even lower, at 5 percent.

Record low mortgage rates are also driving more home buyers.

The average 30 year fixed rate has hovered around 3.82 percent for the past month, which can mean huge savings over the life of a loan compared to the rates only a couple of years ago.

High rents relative to low monthly mortgage payments are also a factor in the increase in home sales. Low vacancy rates and more renters have caused average monthly rents to spike in the area. Home buyers are finding that owning a home is more affordable in many cases than renting an apartment.  This demand for rental properties has also driven sales as more investors are buying property to rent out.

Average Home Prices Increased in April 2012

April average home prices show signs of stabilizing as well. NAR reports the national median existing-home price for all housing types rose 10.1 percent to $177,400 in April from a year ago. The average selling price for all home types in Massachusetts is $332,654, an increase of .67 percent over last April, due in part to a large increase in the sale prices for condos. In New Hampshire, single family properties prices saw the biggest increase and sold for an average of $235,547, 5.9 percent higher than last April.

Our report shows some towns in Massachusetts and New Hampshire had a jump in home selling prices compared to April 2011. In Massachusetts, Plymouth average prices increased 15 percent for single-family homes, 4.7 percent for condos, and 19 percent for multi-family properties. Lowell also saw average prices improve for all home types: single family homes rose by 11 percent, condos by .33 percent, and multi-family property increase 17 percent. In New Hampshire, Nashua prices for single family homes rose 2.35 percent. Merrimack condo prices rose 11.86 percent, and Hudson multi-family prices rose 165 percent.

We expect this trend in higher home sales and price stabilization to continue through the rest of the year.

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Source: NAR News Release: April Existing-Home Sales Up, Prices Rise Again