EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


September 13, 2013

City home values jump 25 percentin the last year

Real estate observers: Low inventory behind rapid value gains


The trade group said tight inventory has restrained real estate sales across Massachusetts.

“What’s behind the surge in values in Haverhill is the same thing that’s behind the surge in values all over the state: Lack of inventory to meet the demands of home buyers,” said Richard Rosa of Buyers Brokers Only, a Haverhill real estate firm. “Haverhill has the added advantage of being very affordable compared to surrounding towns.”

Rosa said home sales in Haverhill increased by 12 percent to 37 sales in July, up from 33 homes sales in July 2012. The real estate market began an uptick last year, and much of the inventory that was out there got bought up quickly, Rosa said.

According to the Haverhill assessor’s study, there were 14 fewer real estate sales in the first seven months this year compared to that span last year — 435 to 421 — even as the market has improved.

Rosa speculated many potential sellers might be waiting for the market to improve further before listing their homes. Others who realize there’s low inventory, Rosa said, might be worried about finding a new home once they sell the one they currently own.

“Six or seven years ago home values were so high that some people might be waiting for their home to gain all that value back,” he said of another possible factor for the lack of properties on the market.

Rosa expects the upward trend in values to continue, but he added that rising interest rates might temper that growth somewhat. In May, for instance, interest rates on a 20 year real estate loan were between 3.5 and 3.75, Rosa said. In just a few months, they have risen to between 4.5 and 4.75, he said.

“The good news is that if someone wants to sell their house, it’s a good time to sell,” Rosa said. “And that home values are finally going up after a long period of declines.”

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