The Lamacchia Housing Report presents overall home sale statistics and highlights the average sale prices for single families, condominiums, and multi-family homes in Massachusetts and New Hampshire for February 2020 compared to February 2019. It also looks at other metrics in Massachusetts like Homes Listed for Sale, Homes Pending, and Price Adjustments made to active listings, as they are often the best indicators for predicting future trends in the market.
Massachusetts Home Sales Down .6%
When compared year over year, the number of homes sold in February decreased by a slight 26 sales which is about half a percentage point. Prices decreased in single and multi-families but increased in condos. There were 4,526 in 2019 and 4,520 last month. Prices increased in single families, multi-families, and condos by 8.7%, by $37,820 year over year, now up to $474,793 from $436,973.
Homes Listed for Sale:
February 2020 saw a positive change in the number of homes listed over February 2019. There were 691 more homes listed which is an increase of 10.2%. The year began with lower inventory than ever recorded so this is a welcome increase for buyers as this goes to show they will have more selection as more sellers list.
Pending Home Sales:
Pending home sales increased as well in February 2020. There were 608 more homes that went under agreement compared to last year which is an increase of 9.5%. It has been a very busy start to the beginning of 2020, which will hopefully carry the market through this coronavirus blip while sellers and buyers carefully navigate this unprecedented set of circumstances.
Price changes decreased year over year by 11.8% and are down by 44. Most sellers aren’t having to lower the price of their homes because so many aggressively searching buyers are willing to pay what the seller wants, and more sometimes, to get into the home they want.
New Hampshire Home Sales Down 15.3%
Sales decreased and prices increased in New Hampshire in February 2020 when compared to February 2019 just like Massachusetts’ performance. Sales are down 15.3%, which is really just 111 transactions, and prices are up by $43,080, 14.6%. Prices increased in all three categories, and sales decreased in all three categories.
Given the mild winter and strong economy, February performed as expected with the increase in homes listed and pending. Sellers have been busy preparing their houses now so they can list soon before the masses do once April hits but the coronavirus has changed plans for many. Less supply and more demand are the keystones of a seller’s market, which may swing into the buyer’s favor as inventory increases and the economy slows down due to the coronavirus.
Knowing what we know about how the market is already being affected by the coronavirus, we can only predict the next month or so. But the data shows at this point that the market is still active, Anthony Lamacchia’s Facebook video from this past Monday explains how this is the highest demand time of the year and that’s a big part of the reason that the market hasn’t slowed down too much so far. Buyers and sellers should be exercising extreme caution and cognizance about how they mitigate germs and the spread of this virus during showings. Open houses as we know them traditionally have been reduced to Controlled Traffic Showing-blocks which essentially limits them to small group showings where traffic is controlled to small numbers, and the appropriate measures are taken to keep everyone healthy.
This bizarre set of circumstances is likely to cause the market to perform out of character for the next few months. Interest rates dropped and now are back up as a result of how the year began and even more so because of the spread of this virus and its effect on the stock and bond markets. Closing delays will absolutely be a thing of the near future as city and town involvement are paused with shutdowns and mortgage companies are experiencing a massive bottleneck which is going to create a massive log jam in the real estate industry’s supply chain, but that doesn’t mean deals are going to fall through. Agents need to work together to develop a plan that works for both the buyer and the seller which often times can be a simple extension to give everyone the time needed to get things ready to close.
As it stands, we aren’t seeing many buyers and sellers pullback in their hopes to buy and sell. That may change as the next few weeks progress, but whatever slow down we see in the next month should be made up for once this ends. There will very likely be a surge in the market to make up for whatever pause we do see. This has happened in years past with major snowstorms and is exactly how the market corrects itself over time. The good news is we went into this with a strong economy. If we didn’t we would be in even worse trouble.