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Shift to a buyer’s market in the Boston area continues, stats show

Softening prices, slower sales, static inventory—it’s all coming together to boost buyers’ standing after years of the market favoring sellers

A row of rowhouses along a city street. Shutterstock

The shift to a buyer’s market from a seller’s appears to have continued in the Boston area in November, according to new statistics from the Greater Boston Association of Realtors and real estate research firm the Warren Group.

The report tracked closed deals in November in 64 municipalities in the area, including in Boston proper. It’s as good a gauge as any of where the market stands as it creeps toward 2020.

Sales of both available single-families and condos dropped in November compared with the same month in 2018: 16 percent in the case of single-families and 6.8 percent in the case of condos. At the same time, the number of new active listings for either was down too in November, and the inventories of available single-families and condos were each static.

Meanwhile—and perhaps most importantly—the median sales prices for both single-families and condos barely budged in November compared with last year. The median condo price was basically the same as last November, at $563,000, and the median single-family was up a mere 2.3 percent, to $599,900.

These conditions reflect a months-long trend in the Boston-area market, prompting brokers to conclude that the market is pivoting in buyers’ favor after years and years (and years) of favoring sellers through escalating prices and sales as well as that largely static inventory.

It’s a matter of buyers holding back after those years of ever higher prices, and sellers less willing to list in a market that appears to be shifting, brokers say.

“The buyer pool remains strong, but we are seeing less of a rush to buy on the part of those entering the market since mid-summer,” Jim Major, president of the Greater Boston Association of Realtors and an agent with Century 21 North East in Woburn, said in a statement. “The market is definitely becoming more balanced, but we could still use more listings to meet demand.”