Home sales in state, Hampshire County spring to life in April

There were 3,100 single-family homes sold in Massachusetts last month, a 6.8% climb over the 2,902 sales recorded in April 2023 and just the third time in nearly three years that home sales were up from the same month a year prior.

There were 3,100 single-family homes sold in Massachusetts last month, a 6.8% climb over the 2,902 sales recorded in April 2023 and just the third time in nearly three years that home sales were up from the same month a year prior. AP

By COLIN A. YOUNG

State House News Service

Published: 05-22-2024 4:11 PM

BOSTON — There were 3,100 single-family homes sold in Massachusetts last month, and while that number alone may not mean much to those still looking for an affordable home, it may represent a glimmer of hope — it was the largest year-over-year increase in sales since June 2021.

Real estate market analysts at The Warren Group said April’s sales volume represented a 6.8% climb over the 2,902 sales recorded in April 2023 and just the third time in nearly three years that home sales were up from the same month a year ago (following tiny increases in January and February of this year).

Closer to home, sales were also up in Hampshire and Franklin counties.

In Hampshire County, 65 single-family homes sold in April 2024, or 20.4% more than the 54 homes sold the same month last year. Median sale prices also climbed by 6.3% in April, from $395,000 in 2023 to $420,000 this year.

Year-to-date sales, meanwhile, are up 9.2% in the county, from 206 through the first four months last year to 225 this year.

In Franklin County, 36 single-family homes sold in April 2024, or 9.1% more than the 33 home sold the same month in 2023. Median sale prices remained flat at about $300,000 when comparing April 2023 to the same month in 2024.

Year-to-date sales are up 8.3%, from 120 through the first four months last year to 130 this year.

Cassidy Norton, The Warren Group’s associate publisher, called April’s sales “a positive sign for both buyers and sellers” but highlighted how sales volume alone can’t tell the whole story.

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Statewide, the median single-family home sale price rose 9.9% compared to April 2023 to hit $610,000 last month, a new all-time high for the month and the first time the median home price has crossed the $600,000 ceiling this year.

“The market has been exceedingly tight in recent years as mortgage rates and building costs rose. More sales didn’t move the needle on home prices, however; the median single-family home sale price in April rose nearly 10 percent,” she said, adding that last month’s median price was not far off the record high of $615,000 set in June 2023.

The sales and price increases were roughly the same when looking just at the 139 communities inside the Interstate 495 belt, The Warren Group said. Greater Boston sales were up 8.8% to 1,517 in April as the median price shot up 10.1% to $760,000.

Through the first four months of 2024, 10,113 single-family homes have sold in Massachusetts — eight more homes than were sold in the same span of 2023, or a 0.1% increase. But compared to the first four months of 2023, the year-to-date median single-family home price here is now 9.5% higher, at $575,000, The Warren Group said.

Home sales across Massachusetts sank to a 12-year low in 2023 and housing here is inaccessible or unaffordable for many residents. Gov. Maura Healey last year identified housing as “the number-one issue facing this state” and said there is a shortage of 200,000 units across the state.

The five-year, $4.12 billion housing bond bill (H 4138) she filed in the fall seeking to kickstart production of new housing units has not surfaced in the House, where it stands as one of numerous significant pieces of legislation that lawmakers say they intend to pass into law by the time their formal work concludes for the year on July 31.

On Monday, Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll and Housing and Livable Communities Secretary Ed Augustus participated in a roundtable discussion with residents who recently purchased a home through a state-sponsored first-time homebuyer program.

Sponsored by the Massachusetts Housing Partnership, MassHousing and the Mass. Affordable Housing Alliance, the event also promoted Healey’s bill. The administration said the bill would authorize $50 million for “MassDreams” to create first-time homebuyer opportunities, authorize $100 million for the Commonwealth Builder Program to spur construction of affordable single-family homes in Gateway Cities and similar markets, and create a Homeownership Tax Credit for first-time homebuyers.

“Affordable homeownership allows people to sink roots into a community and begin to accumulate equity and wealth from owning their own home that might eventually be passed on to future generations,” MassHousing CEO Chrystal Kornegay said. “Creating more opportunity for homeownership is a major part of addressing the housing and wealth disparities in Massachusetts.”

Another snapshot of the housing market and the struggles that homeowners and renters face is expected on June 20, when the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University plans to release the “State of the Nation’s Housing 2024 Report.”

“On the for-sale side, millions of potential homebuyers have been priced out of the market by high home prices and interest rates, while the number of renters with cost burdens has hit an all-time high,” the center said in an advisory Tuesday. “However, a surge in new multi-family rental units is slowing rent growth and accelerated single-family construction is starting to life for-sale inventories.”