Return to lower FHA-GSE loan limits could hurt market
WALTHAM, Mass. – October 25, 2011 – The Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® (MAR) reported today that September single-family home and condominium sales were up for the third straight month compared to the same time last year. Median prices for both property types were also up compared to the year before.
September 2011 Housing Numbers Podcast with
MAR President Laurie Cadigan
“Sales activity continued to go in a positive direction in September as qualified buyers were able to take advantage of these super-low interest rates,” said 2011 MAR President Laurie Cadigan, broker-owner of Barrett & Company in Concord. “The slight increase in median sales prices showed that sellers priced, and in some cases re-priced, their homes where buyers felt they could get good value with many who made offers at or near asking price.”
There were *3,512 detached single-family homes sold this September, a 9.96 percent increase from the 3,194 homes sold the same time last year. On a month-to-month basis, home sales were down 17.48 percent from 4,256 homes sold this past August. It is typical for there to be an August-to-September decline in sales.
The median selling price for single-family homes in September was $294,950 an increase of 1.7 percent compared to $290,000 in September 2010. On a month-to-month basis, the September median selling price went down 6.37 percent from this past August.
The September condominium market was up 8.87 percent compared to the same time last year (from 1,173 units sold in 2010 to 1,277 units sold in 2011). On a month-to-month basis, condominium sales were down 23.26 percent compared to the 1,664 units sold this past August. Similar to single-family homes, it is typical for there to be an August-to-September decline in sales.
Condominium median selling prices in September were up 5.43 percent from the September 2010 median price (from $258,000 to $272,000 in 2011). On a month-to-month basis, the median selling price of a condominium was down 5.23 percent from an August median of $287,000.
FHA-GSE Loan Limit:
The Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® is concerned about the recovery of the housing market in Massachusetts after Congress let higher FHA and GSE (Federal Housing Administration and Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac) loan limits expire on October 1, 2011. Because private investors have not yet returned to the housing market, the lower loan limits have left many credit-worthy borrowers without access to affordable financing and will prolong the housing crisis.
“We need to ensure that buyers and sellers can move up and down the housing ladder based on their family needs and wants,” said Cadigan. “Because Massachusetts is a high-cost housing state, these lower loan limits would make it more expensive to buy many homes in Massachusetts. As a result, it would put an additional road block in the housing market recovery.”
Last week, the US Senate approved an amendment to the Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Bill, which REALTORS® strongly supported. The amendment seeks to restore the loan limits to the previous limits of 125% of median area sales price up to a cap of $729,750 (the lower limit is 115% and $625,000). The amendment was supported by Massachusetts Senators John Kerry and Scott Brown. The change still must be approved by the US House of Representatives.
Inventory and Days on Market:
The inventory of single-family homes as of September 30, 2011 decreased 7.0 percent from September 2010 (35,340 listings in 2010 to 32,858 listings in 2011) which translates into 10.2 months of supply in September 2011. This is up from 10.0 months of supply last year and down from 10.7 months in August.
The inventory of condominiums on the market in August went down 20.5 percent compared to the year before (13,602 listings in 2010 to 10,813 listings in 2011), which translates into 8.7 months of supply, which is down from 9.4 months in September 2010 and down from 9.0 months in August.
Detached single-family homes stayed on the market an average of 112 days in September 2011 compared to an average of 104 days in September 2010. Condos stayed on the market an average of 116 days in September 2011 compared to an average of 109 days in September 2010. On a month-to-month basis, days on market for single-family homes were up from 106 days in August, while condos were up from 105 days.
About the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS®:
Organized in 1924, the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® is a professional trade organization with more than 19,000 members. The term REALTOR® is registered as the exclusive designation of members of the National Association of REALTORS® who subscribe to a strict code of ethics and enjoy continuing education programs.
*Please note: As of July 2011, all 2010 and 2011 housing data has been updated to reflect new collection methods from the three REALTOR® affiliated Multiple Listing Services in Massachusetts via 10K Research and Marketing.
Editors and reporters: Please note that the term Realtor is properly spelled with an initial capital “R”, per the Associated Press Stylebook.