Now that we are into the month of April, and have the first three months of data to review for the year, the same trend from last year is continuing, and maybe even more so.

In the City of Newton, inventory is down 17%, year-to-date, for this year when compared with last year. Last year, they were 341 houses, condos or multi families to be listed between January 1 and April 1, and most of my Realtor colleagues as well as potential home buyers were complaining about how low inventory was last year.

Little did we know that this year, inventory would be even tighter! There have only been 286 new listings since January 1. The average sales price is 8% higher for a single-family home during the first three months of the year when compared with the same period last year, with this year’s average sales price coming in at $1,433,133 compared with last year’s $1,327,527. Prices are also selling closer to asking price this year than last year, with many properties going for well over their asking price when they are priced to sell.

For condos, the sales volume is WAY DOWN thus far this year, as there have been just slightly more than half as many as there were at this time last year, with only 49 listings compared with 97 to have hit the market in the first three months of 2017! Very few new condo listings have come on the market quite possibly because those condo dwellers who may have wanted to upgrade to a single family home have been unable to do so. This indeed may be a vicious circle, as those who are thinking of selling their longtime family house have not had much of a choice into what kind of a condo in which to downsize if they wanted to stay in Newton!

For multifamily homes, there have been 26 new listings thus far this year, the same as the year-to-date last year, but the “Cambridge effect” is now occurring here in Newton.  In Cambridge in recent years, multifamilies have sold as much as 107% of their original asking price. The paucity of listings available to a market that includes homeowners, investors and renovators looking for a condoization project have conspired to push mutlifamilies to sales prices that can be well over their asking prices.   In Newton, mutlifamily houses are now selling at an average of 102% of their listing price.

The demand for housing is so great that a slight uptick in interest rates into the mid 4% range has had little effect on discouraging anyone from the home buying market, and, quite possibly, has propelled more people to start looking, fearing that rates may be too high by the time that they may really be ready to buy.  This is particularly evident on any property listed for under $1 million, as it is now unusual to see a listing for below $1 million fail to get multiple offers. In the same vein, the $10,000 federal deductibility limit for local taxes also seems to have had very little effect, if any, in discouraging home buying in this area.

Statistics are similar for the surrounding area, with a few exceptions of a few towns. If you would like a closer examination of these statistics in your community, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Until next month,