I just checked out MLS sales data for the month of May, and it shows that sales volume stayed pretty healthy, at least in the city of Boston.

Now, I should caution you. First, this information is from MLS-PIN, our local MLS. Not all condo sales will show up in MLS. Some properties are never listed in MLS, because the sales agents may have only posted their listings in LINK. Some sales are FSBOs, so never show up, and some are in new developments, so the developers may not have listed their properties in MLS.

Also, as I’ve mentioned previously, MLS has only recently become popular with downtown agents. Previously, agents only posted in LINK, but MLS has improved over the past couple of years, and now, most agents use both. This means the increase in the number of sales each year is partially due to more listings being entered into MLS.

Here’s what I found (remember, today is only June 5, so not all agents will have updated MLS with closing information).

May, 2005: 477 sales in the entire city of Boston
Lowest Price: $150,000
Median Price: $355,000
Highest Price: $3,900,000
Average Price: $448,890
Total Market Volume: $214,120,861
Average Days on Market: 67 days
Sales price to original price %: 98%

May, 2006: 459 sales in the entire city of Boston
Lowest Price: $139,000
Median Price: $368,000
Highest Price: $3,740,000
Average Price: $460,272
Total Market Volume: $212,645,938
Average Days on Market: 101 days
Sales price to original price %: 95%

What does this mean?

Well, first, you might be surprised. With all the talk of a “slowing market” you’d probably assume condo sales in Boston would have dropped, precipitously.

Apparently, not.

This is good news for sellers.

However, focusing on the bad news, what you see is a lengthening in time it took for a home to sell, from 60 days to 100 days. This is due to the large inventory, most likely. Buyers have more properties to look at, before making a decision.

Average price and median price both increased, again, good for sellers, not so good for buyers, seeing as they are also facing increasing mortgage loan interest rates. Presumably, list prices will come down, a bit, in the near future – if sellers get nervous about making a sale. Sellers may be willing to wait it out, however – the average days on market went from two months to three and a half – still not too long a time (but getting up there).

Total sales volume means (to me) that properties are selling in all price ranges (I confirmed this by looking at sales volume in each $100,000 range), which shows me it’s a healthy market, full of low-end and high-end buyers.

The sales price to original list price ratio dropped, by 3%, which means sellers have been willing to negotiate more on the prices of their properties. This should be encouraging to buyers – they shouldn’t be put off by high list prices – take 5% off the price you see listed, and make an offer.

Sellers should also be encouraged. It appears that they won’t have to drop their prices alot, at least yet, in order to find a buyer.

Like I said, MLS is not used for all sales, so take these figures with a grain of salt. (For comparison’s sake, MLS showed 408 sales in May, 2004, most likely a large part of the difference was because fewer Boston listings were listed in MLS).

I think it is good, valid, accurate data.

I don’t know. What do you think?

Source: MLS PIN

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Updated: January 2018

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