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

Pending Home Sales Continue to Rise as Winter Slowly Turns to Spring

by Eric Berman - eberman@marealtor.com - 781-839-5507 | Apr 12, 2016

Realtors® See Busy Open Houses in the First Quarter

 WALTHAM, Mass. –April 12, 2016 – The Massachusetts Association of Realtors® (MAR) reported today that homebuyers are not slowing down after a particularly active winter, with pending home sales rising over 50 percent from March of last year. Realtors® confidence in the market went up again, as it has every month for the past year. This month’s “Hot Topic” question finds that the majority of Realtors® are seeing busier-than-normal open houses, with 16 percent reporting this is the busiest first quarter they’ve seen.

 March Pending Sales:

Single Family

March 2016

March 2015

% Change

Sales

6,431

4,177

54.0%

Median Price

$329,900

$320,000

3.1%

  • Pending sales have been up 36 of last 37 months
  • Most pending sales in the month of March since 2004

Condominium

March 2016

March 2015

% Change

Sales

2,401

1,906

26.0%

Median Price

$307,500

$307,000

0.2%

  • Pending sales have been up 36 of the last 37 months

“This time last year we were still digging out from a record snowfall, which explains some of the increase in pending sales since last March,” said 2016 MAR President Annie Blatz, branch executive at Kinlin Grover Real Estate on Cape Cod. “Moreover, the increase shows us that homebuyers continue to want seek homeownership in Massachusetts.”

REALTOR® Market and Price Confidence Indexes:

Confidence Index

March 2016

March 2015

%Change

Market

72.79

69.18

5.23%

Price

74.45

78.88

-5.62%

  • The Realtor® Market Confidence Index was up for the 12th straight month
  • The Realtor® Price Confidence Index was down for the fourth time in 12 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    

“Unsurprisingly, the Market Confidence Index has risen again as we enter what we believe will be an active spring market,” said Blatz. “We saw signs of home prices starting to moderate at the beginning of the year, and while there was a slight uptick in March, the recent months of moderating prices continue to be on the minds of Realtors® and their clients.”

Monthly ‘Hot Topic’ Question:

The March “Hot Topic” question asked Realtors® how open house attendance has been since the start of 2016. Of those Realtors® who responded, 47 percent reported that the first quarter has been busier than usual. Sixteen percent of Realtors® responded that this has been the busiest first quarter in open house attendance that they’ve ever seen. Eleven percent said they don’t use open houses as a marketing tactic. Another 22 percent said this quarter has been business as usual, while the remaining four percent said it was either weaker than usual or the weakest Q1 they’ve seen.

That the majority of Realtors in this survey are reporting a busier-than-normal quarter at open houses, reflects the excitement and activity in the market because of the mild winter,” said Blatz.

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 ShowingTime 10K 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 22,000+ 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.