Remember When I Said You Would Know the Market Had Hit Bottom When You Could See it in the Rear View Mirror?

If you want to know when the market will hit bottom, look in the rear view mirror. According to all ways of measuring it, the downward slide of home prices in the Greater Boston area is over.  Most likely due to the lack of inventory – see my previous blog entry.

From the Boston Globe:

The Massachusetts housing market showed further signs of improvement last month with robust sales and rising prices, data released Tuesday show.

Sales of single-family homes increased by 10 percent in January, reaching the highest level for that month since 2007, according to the Warren Group, a Boston company that tracks local real estate.

The median price rose to $277,750 in January, which was 6.8 percent higher than during the same period in 2012. It was the fourth consecutive month of price increases, the Warren Group said.

“We ended 2012 on a pretty positive note, and this is carrying into January,’’ said Timothy M. Warren Jr., the firm’s chief executive. “There are positive signs that 2013 will be a second year of recovery.”

Condominium sales also rose in January, by 10.9 percent compared with the same month a year earlier, according to the Warren Group. But the median price for condos slipped to $240,000, a 1.8 percent drop compared with prices at the same time last year.

The monthly housing data for Massachusetts came on a day when other real estate news showed that 2012 marked the official recovery of the state and US housing markets.

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, which measure repeat home sales in 20 US cities and are widely considered some of the best markers for housing values, reported Tuesday that in the Boston area, home values increased 3.6 percent in December, compared with December, 2011.

From the Economist’s Outlook – Demand  continued to expand faster than  supply. The Buyer Traffic Index rose to 56  from 36 in the same period last year, while the  Seller Traffic Index barely moved, ending at 38 from 37 last year.  REALTORS® reported numerous cases of multi-bidding  resulting in “properties selling above the list/asking price”  or “distressed sales selling close to market price.”  

From Inman News

Existing-home sales, prices and inventory saw dramatic changes in 2012 reminiscent of the housing boom, statistics released today by the National Association of Realtors show.

At 4.65 million units, 2012 existing-home sales were up 9.2 percent from 2011, according to NAR’s preliminary totals for the year. That would be the highest volume since 2007, when 5.03 million were sold.

Bolstered by low inventories, the national median existing-home price was up 11.5 percent from a year ago in December, to $180,800. December saw the 10th consecutive month of year-over-year price gains, a trend not seen since May 2006.

For 2012 as a whole, the national median existing-home price was up 6.3 percent, to $176,600, the largest annual price gain since prices surged by 12.4 percent in 2005.

At 1.82 million units at the end of December, existing-home inventory now represents a 4.4-month supply, the lowest level since May 2005, near the peak of the housing boom.

“Likely job creation and household formation will likely fuel (market) growth,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun in a statement. “Both sales and prices will again be higher in 2013.”

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