Swampscott Mid-Year Review: median price up 10%
The main feature of the first half was a 10.5% increase in the median price of a Single Family Home (SFH) to $491,500.
For the last year I have been highlighting the shortage of inventory in Swampscott, especially at the lower end. In my 2015 mid-year review I wrote: “Of the 47 SFHs for sale today just 7 are listed below $445,000, the median sales price for the first half of 2015. And only 11 are below $500,000.” And in my review of this year’s Q1 I added:”The big story is the shortness of inventory compared with a year ago. The number of SFHs for sale under $500,000 is just 5 compared with 19 a year ago. Overall inventory for both SFHs and condos is about half that of a year ago.”
Low inventory + low mortgage rates + buyers looking = higher prices.
The condo market has seen an extraordinary shrinkage in inventory, with only 10 condos currently for sale – and 4 of those are over $1 million.
A breakdown of current inventory is shown further on in this report.
Single Family Homes (SFH)
Here is the chart of half-yearly median prices for the last 5 years, followed by a table showing quarterly numbers.
Two of the last three Quarters have seen a median price over $500,000 for the first time since 2005.
The condo market in Swampscott is varied, with units ranging from the large developments around Vinnin Square to smaller, luxury waterfront units on Humphrey Street. Because the latter are small in numbers, the median price of the overall market is influenced more by sales at lower price levels. Sales in the first half of 2016 were quite strong and the median price increased by 5%. But the big story is inventory – or rather lack of inventory.
Condo Sales by price
Sales were higher than average (22 over the last 17 years), which is interesting considering the shortage of supply.
While the number of SFHs for sale is almost identical to that of a year ago, there has been a huge drop since 2014 – and that drop is most noticeable under $400,000, where the number available has gone from 17 in 2014 to just 3 today.
The condo market has seen a greater shrinkage, with just 4 condos for sale under $500,000, down from 20 a year ago.
Over the last year I have wondered whether prices in Swampscott had reached a level where the trade-off of higher taxes versus a lower sales price was becoming attractive to buyers. The evidence of the last year suggests that may well be the case, and with inventory at such low levels we are seeing the inevitable increase in the median price of reported sales.
Swampscott continues to see new development and conversions, and its proximity to Boston, whether by commuter train or the T from Wonderland, ensures that the market remains attractive to those who accept the trade-off with higher taxes.
On a broader note, mortgage rates are at or very close to all-time lows, while the US economy appears to be resilient. Against that are the global concerns – think Brexit – and caution as we approach the November elections.
If you are considering selling your home please contact me on 617.834.8205 or Andrew.Oliver@SothebysRealty.com for a free market analysis and explanation of the outstanding marketing program I offer.
If you are looking to buy, I will contact you immediately when a house that meets your needs is available. In this market you need to have somebody looking after your interests.
Andrew Oliver is a Realtor with Harborside Sotheby’s International Realty. Each Office Is Independently Owned and Operated