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How the Polar Vortex Affected the Real Estate Market

The Polar Vortex has pushed bitter cold and multiple snowstorms into the entire Northeast, having an effect on the housing market here in Massachusetts. Since late December the infamous Polar Vortex has pushed bitter cold and multiple snowstorms into the entire Northeast, having an effect on the housing market here in Massachusetts.  Now that January and February are behind us we wanted to take a look at the numbers and see how much of an impact, if any, all this bad weather has had on market activity. Although completed home sales numbers for February are not in yet, we are able to examine year to date housing activity in regard to homes listed for sale, pending sales, and home selling prices.

Homes Listed for Sale:

Month

2013

2014

Difference

 Percentage Change
January

6839

6072

-767

-11%

Feb 1-28

6665

6711

46

0%

Jan 1 to Feb 28th

13,504

12,783

-721

-5%

According to MLS Property Information Network, Inc (MLSPIN), it is clear that many sellers decided not to list their homes for sale in January and that is why the month showed an 11% decline in homes listed.  February started out very slow as well but then picked up toward the end of the month.  Therefore it was about the same as last year.  When you combine January and February data, the number of homes listed was down 5% overall.

Homes on the Market:

As of today there are 18,397 homes for sale (on the market) in Massachusetts. This includes single families, condos, and multifamily homes.  This represents a 6% drop from last year at the same time there were 19,479 homes for sale and a 58% drop from the height of inventory in 2008.








Accepted Contracts: (Pendings)

Month

2013

2014

Difference

 Percentage Change
January

4784

5129

345

7%

Feb 1-28

4783

5706

923

19%

Jan 1 to Feb 28th

9428

10,527

1099

12%

The best news is how much pending home sales were up.  Pending means that a seller accepted an offer on their home but the home is not actually sold yet. This is the best indicator of what’s to come for home sales in the months ahead. January pending sales were up 7% and February pendings were up 19%!  This really showed us that the poor weather did not scare away buyers from making offers.  There is no doubt that overall home sales in March and April will be up as a result.

Home Selling Prices:

Month

2013

2014

Difference

 Percentage Change
January

$351,577

$399,436

$47,859

14%

Feb 1-28

$340,982

$378,619

$37,637

11%

Jan 1 to Feb 28th

$346,774

$390,366

$43,592

13%

With fewer homes listed on the market and pent up demand for homes, we are seeing home sales prices increase for both January and February. The average selling price for a home in Massachusetts year to date is $390,366, up 13% compared to the same period last year. This increase will encourage more home sellers to put their homes on the market which in turn could help stabilize prices and affect home sales in the upcoming months.

We fully expect the spring to be extremely busy and we are starting to see a wave build up since about two weeks ago.