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Massachusetts home prices and sales jump at the start of 2020 amid tight inventory

Lack of supply plus steady demand equals higher costs for buyers—but they keep coming

Highway signs leading to Boston. Shutterstock

Prices and sales of single-families and condos in Massachusetts were up annually in January as the inventory of available homes continued to shrink amid steady demand.

The number of closed single-family sales was up 5.9 percent year over year in January, to 3,249, according to the Massachusetts Association of Realtors. And the median sales price was up 6.6 percent, to $405,000. That represented the ninth straight month that the median tag was above $400,000.

As for condos, the number of closed sales was up 15.7 percent annually in January, to 1,294, while the median sales price was up 9.7 percent, to $401,613. That median has been up or flat for much of the past three years, the realtors association (MAR) said.

A big part of the reason for the higher prices—aside from the steady demand familiar to so many in the Boston area and throughout Massachusetts—is a lack of available homes to buy. Single-family inventory was down 34.7 percent annually, and condo inventory down 26.2 percent. The numbers of new listings—those single-families and condos put on the market just in January—were down sharply too.

“Prices continued to go up, and now both single-family homes and condominiums are over the $400,000 median price point in January,” Kurt Thompson, MAR’s president and a broker at Keller Williams Realty North Central in Leominster, said in a statement. “With the lack of homes for sale in the state, the question we must ask is ‘what are the longterm implications for Massachusetts if buyers are not able to find affordable homes here?’

“We must increase production to meet the needs of our current and future residents.”