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If only ‘pending’ sales were actual ‘closed’ sales

From the Massachusetts Association of Realtors:

“WALTHAM, Mass. – September 9, 2014 – Pending home sales climbed to their highest levels for any August since the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® (MAR) began tracking homes under agreement in 2004. According to the August Future Indicators Report, there was a 15.7 percent increase in accepted offers compared to the same month the year before. Median price of homes put under agreement also went up, increasing 2.2 percent compared to August 2013.”

But you’re probably wondering: “But we thought home sales were going down in the area?” Well, you’re right. They are indeed going down, most recently in July.

There’s a difference between “pending” and “closed” sales, and that partially, if not largely, explains why MAR’s confidence index of Realtors is down again. Realtors cite tight credit, among other things, for their ebbing confidence and for the difference between pending sales and closed sales.

Why are foreclosures continuing to rise in Massachusetts?

Boston condos

Boston condos

Foreclosure petition activity in Massachusetts climbed by 72.5 percent in July compared to a year ago, according to the latest report from The Warren Group.

The big question: Why does this happen amidst a rebounding economy and a rather robust housing market recovery? Here’s why:

“‘It is important to note that foreclosures are up year-over-year but down compared with the year-over-year increase posted in June 2014,” said Cassidy Murphy, editorial director of The Warren Group. “2013 was an unusual year in the foreclosure world as foreclosure procedures and legislation underwent revisions. Now that most of that has been settled, lenders are more comfortable moving forward with foreclosures from a legal standpoint.’”

Question answered (sort of).

Fyi: Here’s some recently listed foreclosures in Massachusetts.

MAR: Sales down, prices up … but listings also up


The Massachusetts Association of Realtors reports this morning that home and condo sales were both down again in July while prices continued to rise.

But prices seem to be moderating a bit, rising by 2.9 percent last month for single-family homes and by 2.6 percent for condos compared to a year ago.

And another interesting, and possibly encouraging, factoid: New listings for single-family homes rose by 7.6 percent last month and increased by 4.7 percent for condos.

Yes, inventory of homes for sale is still a major, major challenge for would-be homebuyers. Yet, there are signs of improvements. Small signs. But signs nevertheless.

Mass. home and condo sales way up in July

At last, a very impressive gain in pending home sales in Massachusetts, increasing by 17 percent last month for single-family homes and by nearly 10 percent for condos.

This is great news.

No MAR stats on new listings and inventory etc. But an increase in sales bodes well for the market.

From MAR’s press release:

WALTHAM, Mass. – August 12, 2014 – Pending home sales across the state climbed to their highest level for July since Massachusetts REALTORS began tracking homes under agreement in 2004. The Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® (MAR) announced the results of its July Future Indicators Report, showing a 17 percent increase in accepted offers since same time last year. Median price of accepted contracts rose nearly three percent to $360,000 during this period. …

“It’s no surprise to see buyer demand continue its strong pace into the second half of the year,” said 2014 MAR President Peter Ruffini, regional vice president at Jack Conway & Co. “Combined with the fact that new listings to the market were up significantly in June, this should translate into good year-over-year sales numbers for July.”

Is the home sales picture actually improving?

There we were, enjoying a nice leisurely summer week, eking out a couple days of non-posting as August began.

And what happens?

Conflicting reports about the home-sales picture in Massachusetts.

As previously noted, the Massachusetts Association of Realtors reported that sales were down and prices up yet again across the state in June.

But the Warren Group later came out with slightly different numbers. Significantly, it showed a slight increase in sales in June, with accompanying price increases.

Are we reading the reports right?

Anyway, here’s what the Warren Group’s Tim Warren had to say:

Mortgage interest rates are lower than they were last summer and demand remains high as homebuyers seem to be overcoming the problems with low inventory. We could see more gains in sales volume in the big months of July and August.”

We definitely hope he’s right.

File under: Encouraging news, if true

The inventory blues just won’t go away

The Massachusetts Association of Realtors released new monthly sales and price numbers for June, showing that statewide sales were down (again) and prices were up (again) for both single-family homes and condos.

Nothing really new here.

But what caught our attention (again) is that inventories of homes for sale were down 6.9 percent and condos for sale were down a whopping 20 percent in June compared to a year ago.

New listings did increase by 4 percent, but it clearly wasn’t enough to substantially boost inventories. The result: Demand is exceeding supply, driving up prices, although at a slower pace than in the recent past.

File under: Inventory blues

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