Home sales are on the rise in North Reading in 2012 and Reading sellers are getting some of the highest prices in the area.
With so few homes staying on the market for long, buyers are getting into bidding wars and often paying more. The low interest rates are getting buyers interested with first-time homebuyers looking to join the ranks of homeowners.
North Reading homes are selling
North Reading single-family home sales nearly tripled in April 2012 from April 2011, according to The Warren Group. Overall, year to date sales through April this year have outpaced last year 29-23 in North Reading.
(See the chart below for information comparing North Reading, Reading and surrounding communities.)
Home sellers are also getting more for their homes so far in North Reading this year. April median prices this year were $357,500 compared to $313,900 last April. The year to date median price is also up 5 percent over 2011.
Reading sellers are getting more
In Reading, 12 single-family homes sold in April this year compared to 19 last year. So far in 2012 through April, 42 single-family homes were sold in Reading, a decrease from 48 last year, reported The Warren Group.
The good news for sellers is that Reading property has increased in value this year. The median home sale in Reading in April 2011 was $390,000, but jumped to $423,725 this year. For the 2012 through April, the median home sale was $433,000, which was up from $383,000 last year, said The Warren Group.
Interest rates are inticing buyers
Rita Patriarca, a Realtor with Re/Max Heritage, LLC, in Reading, said the market has lagged somewhat since 2007, but there has been more interest this year.
"With interest still at historical lows, more buyers are taking advantage of mortgages under 4 percent in many cases. Also, we are experiencing the classic supply and demand situation, in which there are many more buyers out searching to buy homes than we have homes for sale. This is leading to bidding wars in many communities," said Patriarca.
Geri Farrelly, Realtor with Classified Realty Group in North Reading, said the inventory remains low, which is the case across the region and nation. Homes that are priced appropriately, are in pristine condition and are in a good location are not lasting long on the market -- and are receiving multiple offers, she said.
"The markets in both Reading and North Reading are much busier with prospective buyers this year as compared to last. The lower to mid-range prices are coming on the market and going off the market very quickly and a lot of the time with multiple offers on the property," she said.
"The higher end homes are staying on the market longer, but are also beginning to pick up. The greatest problem we are having is the decrease in inventory; there are buyers willing to buy, but there are not enough homes on the market," she said.
What buyers want
Farrelly said the hottest homes right now are in the $300,000 to $400,000 price range. These are usually first-time homebuyers who are looking for homes with the major work completed.
"Homes with updated kitchens and baths, gleaming hardwood floors and a nice flat backyard seem to meet the criteria for this segment of buyers," she said.
"Buyers are generally looking for homes with two baths and three bedrooms minimum. Kitchens seem to be the most popular as far as size large enough to have an eat in area and updated with today’s conveniences," said Farrelly.
Kimberly O'Neil, Realtor with CENTURY 21 Spindler & O'Neil Assoc., Inc., said buyers are willing to settle for less space though she said the current "American Dream" home is a four-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom colonial with a granite and stainless steel kitchen.
"It is great that people who have been on the fence about buying are finally realizing that now is the time to take advantage of low interest rates, more affordable pricing and a healthy amount of inventory to choose from in the marketplace," said O'Neil.
Greater buyer interest has a drawback
The downside to the housing rebound is that buyers are having a hard time finding a home.
"Many have been involved in submitting offers on multiple properties and again, due to the supply and demand we are experiencing, they are forced to either pay more for a home or wait until another home comes on the market. Also, many buyers may waive contingencies, such as a home inspection or financing contingencies, on their offers, which could be quite risky," said Patriarca.
Single-family home sales
|Town||April 2011 single-family home sales||April 2012 single-family home sales||Year to date sales||April median sales price|
Median sale price
|Town||April 2011||April 2012||YTD 2011||YTD 2012|
Source: The Warren Group