October Home Sales

October Home Sales – The number of single-family homes that were sold in October rose nearly 3 percent from a year ago, but the median-selling price for those homes dropped 5.2 percent, the Association of Realtors reported this morning.

According to the association, home sales were up for the fourth straight month when compared to the same months last year.

During October, 3,057 detached single-family homes were sold in Massachusetts, and the median selling price for the month was $275,000, down from $290,000 in October 2010, the association said.

As for the Bay State’s condominium market, 1,038 condos were sold in October, up 0.78 percent from the number in October 2010; condominium median selling prices in October were up 4.08 percent from the October 2010 median price to $255,00, the association said.

“The presence of a relatively better job market here in the Commonwealth combined with affordable prices and super-low interest rates continues to be the engine that is pushing sales to positive ground,” association president Laurie Cadigan said in a statement.  “Each month we experience an increase in home sales is an important step forward in the eventual recovery of the housing market here in Massachusetts.”

The Warren Group, a Boston firm that tracks local real estate activity, issued a separate report on the local housing market. Its results for the Massachusetts housing market in October were roughly in line with those of the Massachusetts Association of Realtors. One exception: Condo sales. According to the Warren Group, local condo sales dropped about 12 percent last month. The two groups use different methods to monitor real estate activity.

In a statement, Warren Group chief executive Timothy M. Warren Jr. said: “Four months of increasing sales volume is a good sign for the real estate market and an indication of improving consumer confidence. However, there is no getting around the fact that the market is still slow and sales will be lower in 2011 than either of the previous years.”

More than six years after the housing downturn began, values remain 15 percent below their peak. Foreclosures, which slowed as banks wrestled with legal problems, appear to be accelerating again. And despite record low interest rates and a variety of efforts to boost the market, few housing specialists expect any notable improvement in residential real estate activity anytime soon.

Another housing report is expected to be released later today.