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November 15, 2012

Spike in pending home, condo sales could fuel Mass. housing rebound

Greater Boston, the South Shore, and northeast regions of Massachusetts registered the largest number of pending single-family home and condo sales in October, according to the Massachusetts Association of Realtors.

Single-family home pending sales, or those with signed purchase and sales agreements, were up nearly 36 percent across the state in October compared to the same month last year, while condos were up 43.5 percent compared to October 2011.

The October numbers were almost as high as months which traditionally see the most activity - May and June, the realtors association said.

While pending home sales do not always translate into closings, they show there is increased activity in the market, said Eric Berman, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Association of Realtors.

“We were a little surprised," he said. "We thought people could be holding off until after the elections."

A combination of stabilizing home prices and lower interest rates has pushed many buyers off the sidelines, he said.

The increases in pending sales around the state marked the second biggest year-over-year increase since the association began tracking the data in June 2007.

The pending sales topped another banner month, April 2010, which was the final month to qualify for the $8,000 first-time home buyer federal tax credit.

Last month, Greater Boston had 916 single-family homes and 836 condos placed under purchase-and-sale agreements.

The northeast region was second highest, with 794 pending sales of single-family homes and 283 condos.

The South Shore came in with 701 single-family homes and 188 pending condo sales.

Pending sales on Cape Cod and the Islands hit 491 for single family homes and 120 for condos, while central Massachusetts had 628 single family homes go under agreement and 143 condos.

The western part of the state saw 536 homes and 66 condos put under agreement.

There are many reasons why one region might see a greater jump in sales than another, Berman said, ranging from population and location to residents’ personal feelings about the economy.

“All real estate is local,” he said. “Some regions might feel better economically than some people in other parts of the state. Overall sales are up everywhere.” - C. Quinn/SHNS

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