Media Contact: Eric Berman - 781-839-5507 - eberman@marealtor.com

The Number of Massachusetts Single-Family Homes Put Under Agreement Up in September

by Eric Berman - eberman@marealtor.com - 781-839-5507 | Oct 11, 2018

Appraisals generally coming in at the agreed upon price despite low inventory market 

WALTHAM, Mass. – October 11, 2018 – The Massachusetts Association of Realtors® (MAR) reported today that the number of single-family homes put under agreement in the month of September rose over last year, marking a full year of year-over-year increases. The median price for pending single-family home sales also saw a hike. Condominium pending sales and median price fell over last year. September’s Hot Topic question found that Realtors® report that appraisals are generally coming in at the agreed upon price, despite inventory and price challenges.  

September Pending Sales: 

Single-Family

September 2018

September 2017

% Change

Sales

5,090

4,919

3.5%

Median Price

$390,000

$375,000

4.0%

  • Pending sales have been up for the past 12 months 

Condominium

September 2018

September 2017

% Change

Sales

1,778

1,862

-4.5%

Median Price

$337,750

$350,000

-3.5%

  • Pending sales have been down or flat for three of the last 12 months 

“Demand for single-family homes in September continued to be strong even as families got back into the routine of school and schedules” said 2018 MAR President Rita Coffey, general manager of CENTURY 21 Tullish & Clancy in Weymouth. “While prices went below $400,000, they’re still up over the same time last year.” 

Realtor® Market and Price Confidence Indexes: 

Confidence Index

September 2018

September 2017

% Change

Market

62.00

76.74

-19.2%

Price

58.67

68.48

-14.3%

  • 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     

“Realtors® feel positive about the market, but their confidence isn’t as strong as it has been in past months,” said Coffey.  

Monthly ‘Hot Topic’ Question: 

The September “Hot Topic” question asked Realtors® how they would describe the appraisal process in the current market over the last six months, with inventory down and prices at or near all-time highs. 

Of those who responded, a majority (74%) reported that appraisals are generally coming in at the agreed upon price, despite inventory and price challenges. Another 13 percent responded appraisal are either coming in below (12%) or significantly below (1%) the agreed upon price. Another eight percent reported that appraisals are generally coming in over the agreed upon price. 

The percentage of Realtors® who reported that appraisals are generally coming in at the agree upon price increased slightly from last year, when 72 percent reported this assessment.  

“We’ve asked this question for several years now and the overwhelming majority have said that appraisals are coming in as expected,” said Coffey. “It is encouraging that the appraisal process is working and not negatively impacting the market.” 

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, 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. 

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Editors and reporters: Please note that the term Realtor is properly spelled with an initial capital “R”, per the Associated Press Stylebook.