BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts homeowners still appear reluctant to put their houses on the market, driving sales volume down and prices up last month, two organizations that track the real estate market said Wednesday.
The number of single-family homes sold dropped almost 12 percent in March compared with the same month a year ago, while the median price jumped more than 8 percent to more than $314,000, according to the Waltham-based Massachusetts Association of Realtors.
The Warren Group, a Boston publisher of business data, reported an 8 percent decrease in sales volume and a nearly 9 percent boost in the median price to $315,000, the 18th consecutive month of higher year-over-year prices.
"The low inventory of single-family homes in the market is the primary cause of the decreasing sales activity," said Timothy M. Warren Jr., chief executive of The Warren Group. "Motivated buyers, however, are eagerly bidding for the limited supply which accounts for the increasing sales prices. People want to buy homes before prices and interest rates rise further."
The organizations use slightly different figures in their calculations.
The future is positive, said Realtors' President Peter Ruffini.
"While the market still needs more homes for sale — including both existing homes and new construction — the increase in new listings in March is a good sign," he said. "With home values on an upward trend, it gives homeowners the opportunity and incentive to take advantage of the current buyer demand and list their homes for sale."
Condominium sales remained strong.
The Warren Group reported a nearly 13 percent increase in condo sales last month compared with March 2013, while the Realtors reported a 4 percent jump.
Both groups reported an increase in median condo prices in the 10 percent to 11 percent range.
"As we see from the sales numbers, condos continue to be an attractive option for first-time home buyers or empty nesters," Warren said.