It looks increasingly like a buyer’s market in the Boston area.
Such a trend would’ve been laughable a short while ago, but new numbers for October from real estate research firm the Warren Group and the Greater Boston Association of Realtors seem to confirm the shift. (Numbers that they put out for September also reflected it.)
Case in point: Detached single-family sales cratered in October, according to the statistics, which analyzed closed deals in Boston proper and 63 municipalities in its orbit. There were a total of 669 detached single-family (a.k.a. house) sales in Greater Boston in October, the lowest sum for the month in more than two decades and a 38.7 percent decline from October 2018.
As for condo sales, those were down 31 percent annually, to 553—the lowest October total since 2010, when 773 condos traded in the Boston area. Condo sales were also down more than 30 percent from September.
“A late summer slowdown in the market is not uncommon, but this year it was more pronounced,” Jim Major, president of the Greater Boston Association of Realtors and an agent with Century 21 North East in Woburn, said in a statement.
More choice is behind the paltry sales numbers, as properties languish on the sales market longer and potential buyers watch prices fluctuate. Those buyers have basically adopted “a wait-and-see attitude until prices settle,” Major said.
The median sales price for a detached single-family in the region was $590,000, a 2.2 percent decline from the record high in October 2018; and the median condo sales price was up 1.9 percent annually to $550,000.
Meanwhile, the inventory of unsold condos and single-families increased in October, creating that greater variety of choice for would-be buyers. Inventory was up 6.6 percent and 1.1 percent for single-families from September and October 2018, respectively. Inventory for condos was up 6.8 percent from September and a hefty 14.7 percent from last October.
The average number of days it takes to unload a house in Greater Boston rose to 46 in October from 45 the year before, and the average number for a condo trade was up an entire week from October 2018, to 46 days.
So is the advice now sellers beware? Looks like it.
“Our years-long seller’s market appears to be coming to an end, as market conditions begin to shift more and more in favor of buyers,” Major said. “As supply and demand continue to become more balanced, buyers can expect increased bargaining power and a wider selection of homes to choose from, while home sellers will find more competition and may need to become more realistic in their pricing to sell their home in the desired time frame.”