BOSTON — Snow storms and frigid temperatures did not deter homebuyers on the North Shore in February, according to The Warren Group, the Boston real estate tracker.
The big winners were sellers in Lynn, Peabody and Saugus where single-family home sales and median prices saw giant increases.
In Lynn, February home sales grew to 43, up from 33 for the same month last year, a 30 percent rise. As sales swelled, so did prices. The median price for a single-family home in the city reached $347,000 last month, up more than 8 percent from one year ago when it was $320,000.
“The combination of low inventory and mortgage interest rates that have been dropping since the end of last year explains the rise in sales and prices,” said Al DiVirgilio Jr., co-owner of Re/Max 360 in Lynn. “Historically, Lynn homebuyers were from here, not anymore. Today, the buyers are from Chelsea, Somerville, Everett, East Boston, and as far away as Framingham and Brockton, because Lynn is more affordable.”
After sales tanked by 9 percent last year in Peabody, the city made a comeback in February as the number of homes sold swelled to 22, up from 14 one year ago, a 57 percent rise. During the same period, the median price of a single-family home increased by 4 percent to $449,000.
“Low inventory continues to drive prices,” said Marilyn Hazel, an agent at Century 21 North East in Peabody. “I listed an estate sale home on Reynolds Road and have had so many people looking at it. I’ve got two offers and I’m expecting another tonight. It’s very competitive right now out there for buyers.”
The number of homes listed for sale statewide last month was 10,262, nearly 10 percent lower than a year ago, according to the Massachusetts Association of Realtors.
Saugus sellers saw home sales rise by 29 percent in February while median prices jumped to $446,450, up from $410,000 last year, a 9 percent hike.
Even in communities where sales dipped in February, some saw prices to continue to skyrocket.
In Swampscott, as the number of single-family home sales fell in February, the median price increased by 21 percent to $537,000, up from $444,950 last year.
In Lynnfield, only one home sold last month, compared to nine for the same month in 2018 and the median price remained flat at $590,000.
Marblehead sales and median prices were unchanged. The number of single-family homes sold in February was 11, the same as one year ago. The median price stayed the same at $730,000.
Nahant had no sales in February as the median remained the same as last year at $465,000.
Statewide, there were 2,810 sales recorded, a nearly 9 percent increase from February 2018 when there were 2,585 transactions. This marked the highest number of sales for the month of February since 2016.
Meanwhile, the median single-family sales price increased 7.4 percent on a year-over-year basis to $365,000, which marked an all-time high for the month of February. Year-to-date, there have been 6,044 single-family home sales with a median sale price of $365,000.
“Massachusetts single-family home prices continue to set records as demand remains strong while supply is tight,” said Timothy Warren, CEO of The Warren Group, in a statement. “The last time the median sale price declined on a year-over-year basis was in March 2016. February’s increase in median price was the biggest percentage gain in four years.”
Thomas Grillo can be reached at [email protected]