Marblehead Condo Market – Prices hit record but…..

At first glance, the Marblehead condo market reached a record median price level in the first half of 2014, beating the previous high for the first half by more than $20,000.

But it is always important to keep in mind that the condo market here is small, something which can distort raw numbers. There were 19 sales in the first half of the year. The sale immediately below the median was $328,000 and the one above it $405,000, so one more sale in the quarter could have had a marked impact on the median price.

Source: MLS, Oliver Reports

Source: MLS, Oliver Reports

The median price seems quite likely to be under pressure in the second half of the year based on the very high proportion of condos currently for sale under $300,000.

Source: MLS, Oliver Reports

Source: MLS, Oliver Reports

Here are actual sales in the first half, together with sales currently pending:

Source: MLS, Oliver Reports

Source: MLS, Oliver Reports

And finally the ASR, the ratio of Assessed Value (AV) to Sales Price (SP). When a property sells above its AV, the ASR is under 100%. Since AVs are a lagging indicator (FY2014 assessments are based on sales in 2012) in a rising market the ASR should be falling.

Source: MLS, Oliver Reports

Source: MLS, Oliver Reports

What stands out here is that 5 of the 6 condos in the $500-749k range sold below AV.

Looking overall, it would seem that there is renewed supply at the lower end; that the $300-499k price range is selling well with little inventory; and that the $500-749k range is under some pressure, at least compared with AVs.

I plan to do some more research into the lower end, but my first thought is to wonder if we are seeing more condo conversion units for sale as a result of a stronger market and easier financing. I note that 7 of the units under $300k are in buildings with 1-4 units, 5 in ones with 5-8 units, and just 3 – all at 8 Franklin Street – in a larger building.

The good news if this is true is that it does suggest that there is more ability for buyers to finance such units than has been the case since the Great recession began.

If you  – or somebody you know – are considering buying or selling a home and have questions about the market and/or current home prices, feel free to contact me on 617.834.8205 or Andrew.Oliver@SothebysRealty.com.

Andrew Oliver is a Realtor with Harborside Sotheby’s International Realty

Sotheby’s International Realty® is a registered trademark licensed to Sotheby’s International Realty

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