Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Home Sales Increase across New England in March 2011

RISMEDIA, April 18, 2011—Spring is in bloom this month as home sales increased an impressive 37.7% across New England with each state experiencing an upswing. Pricing also showed signs of stabilization with a slight overall decrease of -1.1% primarily driven by Rhode Island.

“After one of the toughest winters in history, we are certainly seeing an uptick in activity and lots of strong energy around the housing market. Buyers understand the long-term benefits of homeownership and are recognizing now is the time to take action,” said RE/MAX of New England Executive Vice President Jay Hummer.

Massachusetts experienced the largest increase in home sales in New England in March, 49.9% vs. February, 2011. The Bay State may finally be experiencing some stabilization with prices up 1.9% after two straight months of declines. While inventory has increased month-over-month, it is down significantly year-over-year from 38,316 in March, 2010. Massachusetts remains a ‘pocketed’ state with urban towns such as Milton, Needham and Winchester experiencing stabilization and growth while the suburban and rural towns are still not in recovery.

After two straight months of declining sales and prices, the Connecticut housing market has experienced a breath of life. Unit sales soared 22.5% vs. February, 2011. However, average days on market (DOM) has increased both month-over-month and year-over-year; up to 124 from 110 in March of 2010. This, coupled with an increase in inventory, could force prices to change direction.

Maine is one of the only states in New England whose market has experienced true stability. For three months now, Maine’s prices have remained stable at -0.8%. Home sales are reaping the rewards of buyer activity, up 32.0% vs. February, 2011. Maine is one of only two states where inventory has decreased month-over-month as well as year-over-year, down from 16,632 in March, 2010. Unless inventory grows in the coming months, Maine’s pricing could steadily increase.

New Hampshire
New Hampshire home sales saw a significant increase of 36.0% in March with 1,023 homes sold. Prices have begun to stabilize with a -1.1% decrease from $175,000 in February, 2011 to $173,000 in March, 2011. New Hampshire’s days on market is shifting down from 145 in February, 2011 to 141 in March, 2011. If DOM continues to decrease, with inventory increasing and prices continuing to stabilize, the spring market in New Hampshire could be strong.

Rhode Island
For the first time in three months, Rhode Island’s median price declined -9.8%, the largest decrease among all New England states. While prices dropped, home sales increased 44.0%, second only to Massachusetts. The Ocean State is also the only state where inventory has increased year-over-year from 6,726 in March, 2010 to 6,979 in March, 2011 suggesting that the number of distressed properties is on the rise.

The state of Vermont experienced the highest month-over-month price increase this month, 2.4%, and was the only New England state to see a year-over-year price increase at 5.4%. Vermont’s prices have been stable the last two months. The number of homes sold in Vermont spiked from 246 in February, 2011 to 325 in March, 2011, a 32.1% increase. The decrease in inventory may have contributed to the increase in prices.

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