Massachusetts Home Sales Make Positive Gains in October as Prices Also Up

by Eric Berman - eberman@marealtor.com - 781-839-5507 | Nov 25, 2014
REALTORS® are calling on Congress not to tax ‘phantom income’ on short sales

October 2014 Data - Executive Summary
October 2014 Housing Market Podcast with MAR President Peter Ruffini

WALTHAM, Mass. – November 25, 2014 – The Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® (MAR) reported today that single-family home sales are up slightly from the same time last year. It’s the first increase after eight months of decreases. Prices also increased in October compared to October 2013.

October Closed Sales:

Single-Family

October 2014

October 2013

%Change

Sales

4,321

4,302

+0.4%

Median Price

$325,000

$320,000

+1.6%

  • First monthly increase after eight straight month of single-family (SF) year-over-year sales decreases

 

 

Condominium

 

October 2014

 

October 2013

 

%Change

 

Sales

 

1,696

 

1,631

 

+4.0%

 

Median Price

 

$300,000

 

$295,915

 

+1.4%

  • First monthly increase after six straight month of condominium (CC) year-over-year sales decreases
  • Prices up 16 out of the last 17 months

“It’s definitely a positive sign to see home sales increase in October,” said 2014 MAR President Peter Ruffini, regional vice president at Jack Conway & Co., in Norwell. “Buyer activity and accepted offers continue to be strong, and we’ve seen inventory starting to increase in many market areas over the past several weeks – all the key ingredients to increased sales. We hope to see this continue into next month as well.”

Inventory and Days on Market:

 

Single-Family

 

October 2014

 

October 2013

 

%Change

 

Inventory

 

21,953

 

24,171

 

-9.2%

 

Months of Supply

 

5.3

 

5.8

 

-8.6%

 

Days on Market

 

92

 

100

 

+8.7%

 

New Listings

 

6,097

 

5,978

 

+2.0%

  • 32nd straight month of year-over-year inventory decreases

 

 

Condominium

 

October 2014

 

October 2013

 

%Change

 

Inventory

 

5,181

 

6,662

 

-22.2%

 

Months of Supply

 

3.1

 

3.9

 

-20.5%

 

Days on Market

 

81

 

78

 

+3.8%

 

New Listings

 

2,220

 

2,175

 

+2.1%

  • 48th straight month of year-over-year inventory decreases

 

Taxing Phantom Income:
REALTORS® in Massachusetts and across the country are urging members of the US House of Representatives to pass ''The Mortgage Forgiveness Tax Relief Act,'' during its ''lame duck'' session of Congress. This bipartisan legislation would extend an expired provision that has helped millions of distressed American families by allowing tax relief for homeowners when lenders forgive some portion of the mortgage debt they owe.

“This legislation is important for many reasons,” said Ruffini. “It enables families to avoid the negative effects of foreclosure by opting for a short sale. It also keeps the market healthy by reducing the number of foreclosures – and the problems they bring to neighborhoods and communities, such as lowering property values, blight and crime.”

If this bill isn’t passed, families who were already in financial distress, but were able to sell their home via short sale will likely have to pay income tax on the mortgage amount forgiven by the lender. The prospect of having to pay a tax on “phantom income,” that these families cannot afford, will push more distressed them to opt instead for continued delinquency or possible default until foreclosure, or simply to walk away from the property. This will destabilize the communities where such homes are located.

The Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® is also working to have similar legislation enacted at the state level to protect these families from a state “phantom tax.”

About the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS®:

Organized in 1924, the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® is a professional trade organization with more than 20,000+ 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.