Interrupting our gripping non-stop arrest-non-arrest coverage of the marathon bombings, we bring you this housing news from the latest Fed Beige Book:
Strong consecutive months of year-over-year growth in single-family homes sales halted in February, with some New England states experiencing marginal increases and most observing a decline. According to contacts, buyer demand remains strong, but dwindling inventory levels have hampered growth in sales. Meanwhile, median sale prices across the region rose from a year ago. Contacts attribute the price rise to the declining stock of distressed properties compared to a year ago as well as to the general decline in inventory reducing supply relative to demand. Particularly in urban areas throughout New England, decreasing inventory levels have placed upward pressure on prices. In the Greater Boston area, contacts report that multiple bids on properties have become more common as inventory continues to dwindle.
Contacts express concern that low inventory levels in the next several months could discourage buyers and continue to be a significant factor limiting the growth of sales. On the other hand, inventory levels may rise with the beginning of the busy spring season. In addition, rising prices will eventually lure into the market sellers who have been waiting for the value of their homes to pick up before listing them.
If all we’re concerned about at this point is high demand and low inventory levels, after years of awful real-estate news, then we’ve come a long way recovery wise. And we’ll take it. For now.