Marblehead: sales jumping, inventory plunging

Since May 15, 23 Single Family Homes (SFH) have received an offer in Marblehead, while there are currently just 67 SFHs for sale, compared with 116 a year ago at this time, a decline of over 40%. But the position for buyers may be even worse than it appears.

One of the numbers I follow is the number of days a property has been on the market (DOM). Last year MLS introduced a new measure, Days to Offer (DTO), which – yes-  the number of days a property is on the market before it receives an accepted offer.

A house receives the greatest attention, from both buyers and agents, when it first comes on the market, but as time moves on the listing becomes stale. In an active market such as exists now, a property sees the most activity and interest in the first 30 days.

With that in mind, let’s look at three categories: current inventory, pending sales and sales so far in 2015. In each case I will show a pie chart of the overall picture (at the end of the article are tables showing the breakdown by price band). I’ll summarize and add my conclusions after the charts.

Current Inventory
Light blue represents 0-29 DOM:  27 (of which 9 were listed this week) of the 67 houses for sale are in this category or 40%:

Source: MLS, Oliver Reports

Source: MLS, Oliver Reports

Pending Sales
This category includes all houses which have an accepted offer but where closing has not yet occurred.
Note that the light blue slice is much, much bigger: 44 out of 61, or 72%.

Source: MLS, Oliver Reports

Source: MLS, Oliver Reports

Sales YTD
This category is all the houses that have closed in 2015 so far. The light blue category, those which received an offer in 0-29 days, represents 28 of 68, or 41%, very similar to the For Sale number:

Source: MLS, Oliver Reports

Source: MLS, Oliver Reports


Source: MLS, Oliver Reports

Source: MLS, Oliver Reports

The key numbers are those for pending sales, as these are the most current figures on houses that have recently received an offer. Whereas 41% of the houses that have sold this year received an offer in under 30 days, fully 72% of all pending sales (and 82% of pending sales under $1 million) received an offer within 30 days of hitting the market. But only 40% of houses currently for sale have been on the market less than 30 days, and one-third of those were listed just this week.

What do these numbers tell us?
Houses are selling quickly. While it is understandable that houses took longer to sell during the winter months, in the current market houses are moving. And the market has little fresh inventory.

There are two message for sellers and buyers each:
This is a great time to list, but if your house has been on the market for more than 30 days it might be time to ask why: is it price or is it some other factor?

Apart from the obvious – be ready to move quickly and make sure that financing is committed before you make an offer – check out houses that have been on the market for an extended time and may have been overlooked (it happens). You have more chance of having a lower-priced offer accepted on a “stale” listing than on one fresh to the market.

I concluded my April report on these same statistics with this comment: “Fasten your safety belts for an exciting ride.” We seem to be speeding up.

For Sale_MayPending_MaySold_May

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 is a Realtor with Harborside Sotheby’s International Realty Sotheby’s International Realty® is a registered trademark licensed to Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC. Each Office Is Independently Owned and Operated

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