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December 31, 2005

Boston housing market 2006: "Hard landing" or "return to normalcy"?

Three weeks after economist Nicholas Perna told the Boston Globe that "both early data and the anecdotes -- are pointing more toward a hard rather than a soft landing" for the [Massachusetts] housing market, Perna repeated that assessment in the Boston Herald following news that single-family home sales fell 9.2 percent in November.  Need to confirm, but isn't that the four month this year of near double-digit decreases compared to 2004?

"It sounds more and more like the housing adjustment is a harder landing in Massachusetts than elsewhere in the country,' said economist Nicholas Perna. 'I don’t think we are seeing anything like that in the country as a whole. My guess is that Massachusetts is among the most seriously affected."

Some real estate professionals dismissed the significance of falling sales, calling them a "return to normalcy."   What's your take?  Your comments are welcome below, or on our readers' "record your own podcast" line:  617-876-2117.

Quick overview of November housing statistics from the Boston Globe:
November home sales off sharply

"The median condo price slid 2.3 percent to $265,000 in November from October. That's about the same as it was in November 2004.

Sales of single-family homes fell 9.2 percent in November compared to a year ago, the second consecutive steep monthly decline.

The Massachusetts Association of Realtors, in its November report on the state's housing market, said yesterday that 3,713 single-family home sales closed, down from 4,089 in November last year.

Despite the decline, the median price ROSE (emphasis added) modestly, to $354,000 last month. That's 1.7 percent higher than in October and 2.3 percent above November 2004."

Single family housing prices may have risen slightly last month, but this graph of real estate cycles over the past 30 years in Boston, created by Douglas McCarroll, one of The Real Estate Cafe's fee-for-service buyer agent / real estate consultants, gives some context for predictions that the Boston housing market is merely returning to "normalcy."

04:44 PM in Falling prices, In the News, Market Trends, Sales falling | Permalink


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