REALTORS® support legislation to improve short sale process introduce by U.S. Senator Scott Brown
WALTHAM, Mass. – February 28, 2012 – The Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® (MAR) reported today that January 2012 home sales were up over the same time last year. This is the seventh straight month of year-over-year increases while condominium sales were down slightly compared to January 2011. Median prices were down for single-family homes and essentially flat for condominiums compared to the same time last year.
January 2012 Housing Numbers Podcast with
MAR President Trisha McCarthy
“We’re pleased to see that January was another positive month for home sales in Massachusetts,” said 2012 MAR President Trisha McCarthy, broker at Keller Williams Realty in Newburyport. “With each month of improved economic news, buyer confidence continues to build. It is this confidence combined with the ongoing low interest rates and home affordability that will lead to a real estate market recovery.”
There were 2,385 detached single-family homes sold this January, a 3.7 percent increase from the 2,299 homes sold the same time last year. This is the seventh straight month of year-over-year increases. On a month-to-month basis, home sales were down 29.8 percent from 3,399 homes sold this past December. Significant month-to-month drops from December to January are typical.
The median selling price for single-family homes in January was $265,000, a decrease of 5.0 percent compared to $279,000 in January 2011. This is the fourth straight year-over-year decrease. On a month-to-month basis, the January median selling price was down 2.2 percent from $271,000 in December 2011.
The January condominium market was down less than one percent (-0.6) compared to the same time last year (from 842 units sold in 2011 to 837 units sold in 2012). This is the second straight month of annual decreases. On a month-to-month basis, condominium sales were down 34.6 percent compared to the 1,280 units sold this past December. Similar to single-family sales, the condominium market experiences a significant month-to-month drop from December to January.
Condominium median selling prices in January were essentially flat (up 0.3 percent) from the January 2011 median price (from $247,000 to $247,750). On a month-to-month basis, the median selling price of a condominium was down 3.9 percent from a December 2011 median of $257,750.
Federal Short Sale Legislation:
“Foreclosures continue to be a concern and a drag on this otherwise improving market,” said McCarthy. “Because short sales often are a much better alternative to foreclosure, benefiting all parties of the transaction, we are very pleased to see that Senator Scott Brown is helping to lead an effort to facilitate the short sale process and we strongly support his efforts.”
The Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® and the National Association of REALTORS® support legislation recently introduced by US Senators Scott Brown of Massachusetts, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Sherrod Brown of Ohio to shorten the process of a short sale. Currently the short sale process can take several months to over a year in some cases.
“One of the best ways to prevent foreclosures and the downward pressure they put on the market is for lenders to improve the short sale process,” said McCarthy. “It’s very frustrating when you have a home owner who is looking to do the right thing and avoid foreclosure and a buyer who is willing to buy the home at a market price, only to have the sale fall apart or the home go into foreclosure, because the lender can’t make a decision on whether to allow the sale.”
According to information released by Senator Brown, The Prompt Notification of Short Sale Act would improve the process for buyers considering a “short-sale” home – a home where sellers are in negative equity and cannot pay off the balance. Presently, it can take many months to get any kind of response to short sale offers. The legislation:
• Requires a written response of an acceptance, rejection, counter offer, or the need for an extension of time within 75 days of a request from a homeowner.
• Creates a $1,000 penalty for those that don’t comply, along with legal fees.
Inventory and Days on Market:
The inventory of single-family homes as of January 31, 2012 decreased 9.0 percent from January 2011 (26,548 listings in 2011 to 24,149 listings in 2012) which translates into 7.3 months of supply in January 2012. This is down from 7.9 months of supply last year and down from 7.5 months in December 2011. This was the fifth straight month of inventory decreases.
The inventory of condominiums on the market in December was down 18.8 percent compared to the year before (10,165 listings in 2011 to 8,250 listings in 2012), which translates into 6.5 months of supply, which is down from 7.6 months in January 2011 and the same as this past December.
Detached single-family homes stayed on the market an average of 128 days in January 2012 compared to an average of 120 days in January 2011. Condos stayed on the market an average of 130 days, up from an average of 127 days in January 2011. On a month-to-month basis, days on market for single-family homes were up from 119 days in December while condos were up from 122 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.
Editors and reporters: Please note that the term Realtor is properly spelled with an initial capital “R”, per the Associated Press Stylebook.