Home sales: from feast to famine?

The old saying is that there are three things that matter in real estate: location, location and location.

In the same vein there are three things that matter in real estate statistics: never rely upon one month’s numbers, never rely upon one month’s numbers….well you can guess the third one.

Just three weeks after I published Are home sales really booming? the headlines this week have trumpeted the “large’ decline in sales of existing homes in August following the “large” jump in July.

So what is really happening? Let’s ignore the actual numbers for a moment. The winter was rough in New England –  – and one of the consequences was a late start to the home buying and selling season. This had the effect of concentrating sales in the May-July period. Not surprisingly, therefore, sales in August dropped off from the pace of July. And bear in mind that sales are a lagging indicator. It usually takes 6-8 weeks for a sale to close once an offer has been accepted, so for example sales in August reflect actual buying activity in June or July.

Elsewhere in the country other weather patterns were in play – or in the warmer parts there was no seasonal weather pattern.

What I find interesting though is that through all these seasonal and geographic fluctuations and variations, sales of existing homes for the first 8 months of the year are fairly consistent: up 6% in the country overall and 7% in Massachusetts.

And the median SFH price increased 5% nationally, 3% in Essex County and Massachusetts.

The table below shows the number of offers for SFHs accepted since June compared with last year. Note that the number of offers being accepted has continued to show increases averaging 16%, which suggests that demand remains strong:

MLS, Oliver Reports

The coming week sees the end of the third quarter and I shall be publishing my Q3 reviews next weekend. They will show a housing market which is robust, but not crazy. Check back next week for details.

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.

Read Which broker will sell my home?

Andrew Oliver is a Realtor with Harborside Sotheby’s International Realty. Each Office Is Independently Owned and Operated

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