Media Contact: Eric Berman - 781-839-5507 -

Summer Vacations Don’t Stop Mass. Buyers from Making Offers on Homes in August as Pending Sales Rise

by Eric Berman - - 781-839-5507 | Sep 13, 2017

Realtors® cite shortage of starter homes as main issue facing first-time homebuyers

 WALTHAM, Mass. – September 12, 2017 – The Massachusetts Association of Realtors® (MAR) reported today that single-family pending home sales jumped over 11 percent this month from August of last year, with prices rising over five percent. Pending condominium sales were also up, rising more than eight percent over last year. Condominium prices stayed level. Realtors® confidence in the market and in home prices were both up again in August. This month’s “Hot Topic” question asks Realtors® to list the primary issues facing first-time homebuyer clients.

 August Pending Sales: 

Single Family

August 2017

August 2016

% Change





Median Price




  • Pending sales up for 11 out of the last 12 months


August 2017

August 2016

% Change





Median Price




  • Pending sales up for 10 out of the last 12 months

“Even with prices still close to the $400,000 mark, buyers have shown they’re eager to put in offers as the summer ended,” said 2017 MAR President Paul Yorkis, president of Patriot Real Estate in Medway. “This market can be challenging, but people are making it clear it’s a priority to live and work in Massachusetts.”

Realtor® Market and Price Confidence Indexes: 

Confidence Index

August 2017

August 2016

% Change









  • The Realtor® Market Confidence Index up for the 27th time in 28 months
  • The Realtor® Price Confidence Index up for the seventh time in eight months
  • Measured on a 100-point scale, a score of 50 is the midpoint between a “strong” (100 points) and a “weak” (0 points) market condition  

“The headlines have been about the lack of inventory for months, but Realtors® remain confident in the market because we know buyers are out there making offers,” said Yorkis.

Monthly ‘Hot Topic’ Question:  

The August “Hot Topic” question asked Realtors® what they see as the most common issue making it difficult for first-time homebuyers to successfully purchase a home.

Of those who responded, 39 percent cited the shortage of starter homes as the primary issue facing first-time homebuyers. Another 24 percent thought that home prices are too high, while 15 percent listed a lack of down payment. The remaining respondents said either credit issues/ability to secure financing (eight percent) or student loan debit (six percent) were the main problems for first-time homebuyers.

 “When inventory dries up, it is often would-be first-time homebuyers that suffer the most,” said Yorkis. “Home prices are too high due in part to a lack of inventory, so unfortunately it becomes a vicious cycle. We need more people willing to sell and new development to ease these issues for young people.”

About the Data Sets: 

The tracking of signed purchase and sales agreements (also called “pending sales”) provide reliable information about where the real estate market is heading in coming months.  

A pending sale or a sale “under agreement” happens when the buyer and seller agree on the terms of the sale of a home and have a signed purchase and sale agreement, but have yet to close and be recorded as such.  MAR is the only organization, which compiles this statewide information from Multiple Listing Services each month. 

Monthly pending (or under agreement) data and closed sales data comes from the three Realtor®-affiliated Multiple Listing Services in Massachusetts. They are the Berkshire County Multiple Listing Service, Cape Cod & Islands Association of Realtors® Multiple Listing Service, Inc.; and MLS Property Information Network, Inc. The data is compiled by 10K Research and Marketing, Inc. and updated each month. As a result, the previous data may change after the reports have been run. 

The REALTOR® Index Methodology - The Massachusetts Realtor® Market Confidence Index (RMCI) and Price Confidence Index (RPCI) are based on monthly responses from a random sampling of Massachusetts Association of Realtors® members on the state of the housing market.  More specifically, the survey asks members two basic questions pertaining to the real estate business in their market area in Massachusetts. 

  • How would you describe the current housing market? 
  • What are your expectations of home prices over the next year? 

In addition to these standard questions, the survey each month includes one wildcard question that changes each month and is based on an industry hot topic. 

The RMCI is calculated in the following way.  Respondents indicate whether conditions are, or are expected to be “strong” (100 points), “moderate” (50 points), and “weak” (0 points).  The results are the average score for each question.  A score of 50 is the threshold between a “strong” and a “weak” condition.  Similarly, the question about home prices over the next year (Realtor® Price Confidence Index) is calculated using five categories: “Rise 0-5%” (75 points), “Rise 5%+” (100 points), “Level” (50 points), “Fall 0-5%” (25 points), and “Fall >5%” (0 points). 

About the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS®:  

Organized in 1924, the Massachusetts Association of Realtors® is a professional trade organization with more than 24,000 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.