For the first time in six months, home sales in Massachusetts have dropped.
A total of 3,902 single-family homes sold in November, down from 3,983 in November 2012.
“This has been a banner year in local real estate, but one with a focus on rising prices. The sales volume growth has been more restrained and now we see a modest decline,” said Warren Group CEO Timothy M. Warren Jr. “We’re seeing the same thing in Massachusetts that the rest of the country is experiencing: a slight slowdown in home sales, driven by increasing interest rates and tight supply.”
The median price of single-family homes rose 4 percent to $307,000 in November, up from $295,000 a year earlier. This is the 14th consecutive month of year-over-year increases in the median price of a single-family home. The median price for homes sold January through November was $322,000, up 11 percent from $290,000 in the prior year.
Many median home prices in the Merrimack Valley rose in November from this time last year as well. In Lawrence, the median price was $176,000 this November, while last November it was $148,000. For Methuen, the price rose from $240,000 last year to $259,000 this past month. North Andover saw no change as the median price stayed at a steady $437,000, while Andover’s dropped from $592,000 to $555,000. Meanwhile in Haverhill, the median price rose from $224,900 last year to $258,000 this past month.
The Warren Group says one of the reasons for the dip in sales could be the rises in prices.
“I’ve been concerned about how the rapid increase of prices would affect the market, and that could be one factor in the dip in sales volume in November,” Warren added. “With the supply of homes for sale low and prices escalating we may have reached a turning point where the recovery continues but with less frenzy.”
John Walsh, of JW Real Estate, in Andover said he has seen in a decline in activity in sales himself.
“I’ve seen a lack of activity for about two months,” he said.
However, he is not too worried about it.
“It’s a cyclical thing. We usually see it annually around this time of year. With the holidays and the cold weather, it’s typical to have a drop off,” he said.
Condominium sales in Massachusetts increased in November, rising 7 percent from a year earlier. A total of 1,609 condos sold last month, up from 1,503 in November 2012. Year-to-date condo sales are up almost 6 percent, increasing to 18,683 from 17,655 a year earlier.
The fewest homes were sold in Lawrence last month, only 20. There were 24 homes sold in North Andover, 27 in Andover and 28 in Haverhill. Methuen has the most homes sold with 39.
Walsh says interests rates have gone up as well, which might be why people are not buying.
“Around the time when we were coming out of the recession, interest rates were around 3.5 percent. Now they are 4.5 percent. I think that has people worried,” he said.
Walsh has hopes that the market will pick up again.
“If interests rates stay where or especially if they drop a little, I think we will see more people buying again eventually,” he said.
Follow Sara Brown on Twitter @Sara_Brown_Trib. To comment on stories and see what others are saying, log on to eagletribune.com.