Which matters more – home sales numbers or price?

No, no, it’s not a trick question.

I am also intrigued when I hear or read of a report on commentary about the real estate market which leads with sales numbers. I suspect – usually correctly – that such a report comes from a Realtors’ association. I mean, how many houses does the average home buyer buy or sell in a month, or a quarter, or a year. Quite.

The latest announcements comes from the Mass Association of Realtors (MAR), of which I am a member, which led its February report with the news that sales were down nearly 1% year over year. And oh by the way prices were up 7.5%.

Sales figures do, of course, matter. There is no doubt that the low level of inventory is holding back sales. As I have frequently said: low inventory + low mortgage rates + strong demand = rising prices. Inventory in February in MA was 3.4 months, whereas 6 months is normally regarded as a market in equilibrium between buyers and sellers.

Here are charts showing the 5 year trend of SFHs for sale in Marblehead and Essex County overall:

Source: MLS, Oliver Reports

Source: MLS, Oliver Reports


Source: MLS, Oliver Reports

Source: MLS, Oliver Reports

While it is reasonable to expect greater supply as we head into “spring” (and it is snowing again as I write this) I suspect that many potential sellers are going to discover the need to make some repairs as a result of this winter before their house is ready for sale. I see no end to the inventory shortage any time soon.

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@SothebysRealty.com.

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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