March 2021 MA|NH Housing Report

The Lamacchia Housing Report presents overall home sale statistics and highlights the average sale prices for single families, condominiums, and multi-family homes in Massachusetts and New Hampshire for March 2021 compared to March 2020. It also looks at other metrics in Massachusetts like Homes Listed for Sale, Homes Pending, and Price Adjustments made to active listings, as they are often the best indicators for predicting future trends in the market.  This month’s report will be unlike years’ past due to the lingering effects of COVID and the massive amount of home sellers that didn’t list last year, so 2019 will be discussed to compare this month to a market not impacted by a pandemic.

Massachusetts Home Sales Up 14.6%

There were 6,853 sales in March 2021 over 5,979 in March 2020 which is an 14.6% increase in total sales year over year.  Singles are up 2.6%, condos are up 32.9%, and multi’s are up 41.2%.
Average prices continue increase, up by 8.9% over March 2020, now at $532,310 from $489,052.  Multi-families were down by 2.2% but single-family prices increased by 16.6% and condo prices increased by 3%.
Sales and prices in March 2020 were the result of homes placed under agreement in the months prior to the COVID-19 shutdown so the number of sales wasn’t greatly affected.  We will see the impact in our year-over-year numbers for April, which will come out next month.

Homes Listed For Sale:

Homes listed for sale in March 2021 increased by 9.6% when compared to last year- but don’t forget that it was exactly March last year when everything shut down due to COVID and the second half of the month was put to a complete halt.  It’s only natural that there were more listings in March of 2021 with 9,571 over 2020 with 8,734 homes listed.
If you compare March 2021 to the 9,683 homes that were listed in March 2019, we have a 1.2% decrease.  This slight decrease shows that, yes, we are still trying to play catch up to what was the norm before the pandemic, but it also shows with such a small decrease, we are almost there.
Single family listings took a big hit over the summer and fall of 2020, but as it stands now, we are only down 2.6% from the number of listings last year at this time, now at 5,606 in March 2021 from 5,750 in March 2020.  It’s still not near where inventory was in 2019 with 6,148 singles on the market, an 8.82% change from March 2019 to March 2021.  Singles are being sold faster than they are listed as you can see in the chart below.  Despite the number of active listings being close year over year, there’s very little inventory available.

Homes Placed Under Agreement (Pending Home Sales):

Pending home sales over 2020 are up by 21%, as March was when the market screeched to a halt and pendings fell off track.  2021 is only up by 8.8% over 2019 so again, this is a good sign that the market is doing what it can to make up for lost time.  Pending sales are a sign of closed sales for the following month, so we are likely going to see an increase in sales for April.  This is due to the fact that last April’s sales decreased due to the shutdown, and because buyers are still voraciously out there making offers and trying to secure homes which is driving sales up.

Price Changes:

Price changes (reductions) are understandably down by 18.3% over March 2020. Price changes just aren’t as necessary in this market climate.  An appropriate price attracts the most buyers every time, so if a seller is reasonable with their list price, they’ll likely get what they want and more.  It is the competition that drives prices up naturally, so if you’re a smart seller, you’ll price well based on comps, attract interest, and won’t need to adjust the price to make the sale.

New Hampshire Home Sales Up 2.7%

New Hampshire sales increased by almost 3%, now at 1,539 over 1,498 in March 2020. Single family sales decreased by 2.6% year over year, but both condos and multi-families increased by 9.5% and 43% respectively.
Average prices are up by 18%, now at $393,083 from $333,143 in March 2020. Prices increased in all three categories, up for singles by 20.4%, 8.1% for condos, and up by 30.3% for multi families.
The same theories apply for New Hampshire as Massachusetts, in that next month’s year over year comparison, will show the impact of the pandemic on sales and prices as the shutdown caused the market to decline during the end of March and beginning of April.

What’s Ahead?

We are at the point now where we will be able to see how the market deviated from normal trends as the shut-down was exactly a year ago.  Last month we predicted that despite listeds and pendings being down for February, we would still likely see an increase in sales year over year in March as COVID caused the market to halt.  This created an artificial reduction in sales last year because close to a thousand sales that were scheduled to close in mid to late March of 2020 didn’t.  That decrease along with our current buyer activity have made this year’s sales increase.  If the market didn’t shut down last year, we’d likely be down.
As you can see in the chart above, single family inventory, when compared to previous years, is still down significantly.  The number of listeds is down compared to last year by 2.6% but pending sales are up by nearly 7%.  This illustrates how inventory is being consumed faster than it is becoming available.  Single family demand doesn’t show any signs of alleviating quite yet but the good news for condos is that their demand is coming back. With vaccines becoming more readily available, communal living isn’t as much of a concern anymore.
It’s still an outstanding time to sell, so if it’s something you’re considering, talk to your REALTOR®. There are customized selling and buying plans that your REALTOR® can put together for you based on your needs.  Believe it or not, you can sell and have a longer closing to give you time to find your next home, sometimes by listing traditionally or by finding an off-market buyer who will work with your timeline so that you can find suitable housing.
You can properly set yourself up as a buyer so that you’re able to secure a home without necessarily having to compete in a bidding war, and borrowing at this time is still affordable considering the higher loan limits and the low mortgage rates despite their recent increase. There are sellers who are ready to list but haven’t yet.  Our Realtors have access to this list of homes and can reach out to these potential off-market sellers if you are interested enough to close on their terms.
The market is trying to catch up to where it would have been had COVID not put a massive wrench in the works, but it’s not quite there yet.

Data provided by Warren Group & MLSPin for MA, and by NEREN for NH then compared to the prior year.