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Massachusetts Home Sales in November 2013 Drop Compared to Last November

Home Sales in NovemberThe number of homes sold in Massachusetts in November dipped 10% from November 2012.  This was the first time since March home sales did not increase compared to the same month in 2012. There were 6,080 home sales in Massachusetts in November compared to 6,769 in November of 2012.

In Southern New Hampshire*, home sales also dropped compared to last year. There were 782 home sales in Southern New Hampshire in November compared to 813 last November.

The Government Shutdown in early October had a major impact on the housing market, which is reflected by these November sales numbers.

The problem was that all the media attention the Government Shutdown received had more of a psychological effect on home buyers than the actual shutdown did. Loan guidelines for mortgages backed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, or the FHA require validation through a government agency, and home buyers got word that there could be delays. Some lenders even offered workarounds for tax documentation on mortgage applications. Due to these concerns many buyers hesitated to make offers on homes in late September and early October so sales suffered in November.

At the same time reports show that pending home sales actually surged in November. Pending home sales track signed purchase and sales agreements, which provide information where home sales are headed. According to the Massachusetts Association of Realtors® the number of homes put under agreement (pending) in November was up 18.6% compared to the November last year. This was the ninth straight month of increases.

Average home prices continue to rise. The average price for a home in Massachusetts last month was $355,348, an increase of 10% compared to prices last November.  In Southern New Hampshire, the average selling price for a home was $234,797, an increase of 3% compared to last November.

Congress reached a budget agreement last week, eliminating the threat of another Government Shutdown in January so we expect home sales to continue to show gains in the New Year.

 *The report pulls data for Cheshire, Hillsborough, and Rockingham Counties in New Hampshire.

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