The North Shore real estate market remained red hot throughout Q3 with record prices being set across the board. The market rebounded strongly after the initial COVID-19 induced pause in March and April.

The desire by many people to move out of Boston and into the surrounding towns amplified activity, which was already competitive due to record low inventories and record low mortgage rates. In these reports, we have compiled data that gives insight into how our housing markets were impacted throughout Q3.

Key Insights

Prices up 11.8% year-to-date

  • The median price of sold single-family homes increased 11.8% to $532,500 in the first 9 months of the year, with the Q3 median price reaching $565,000
  • All of the 34 cities and towns in Essex County saw year-on-year increases in the median selling price
  • Sales volume for single-family homes declined 10.4%, with most of that occurring in Q2. Just 9 towns reported increased sales volume year-on-year.
  • The condo/townhomes median sales price increased 9% to $338,000 in the first 9 months (and to $360,000 in Q3). Sales volume declined 8.3%, entirely in Q2.

Accepted offers recover strongly
The pandemic caused the number of accepted offers to drop sharply from mid-March to mid-April. As buyers and sellers became more accustomed to doing business in a pandemic, and as mortgage rates tumbled, activity picked up dramatically. By early October, the number of accepted offers year-to-date had caught up with the 2019 level.

Properties sold quickly
The percentage of properties receiving offers in 15 days or less has been remarkably consistent since February, with on average 68% of single-family homes receiving an accepted offer in 15 days or less. This number dropped only to 59% in April and recorded the highest figure of 75% in September.

Even lower mortgage rates
The national average cost of a 30-year Fixed-rate Mortgage dropped below 3% in early July and stayed just below the 3% level for the rest of the quarter.

Overall inventory remains tight
Inventory of single-family homes started the year some 30% lower than in 2019, and by early October the year-on-year decline was 50%. Despite this, accepted offers are level with last year’s number, meaning that homes are selling very quickly.

The year-on-year inventory of condos for sales was 15% lower in January and 25% lower by October 1.

Whereas a market is traditionally believed to be in equilibrium between buyers and sellers when the number of available properties equals 6 months of sales (the supply), Essex County has been in a greatly reduced supply position for some years. The supply position is normally worse at the lowest price points, but now supply is 1.3 months or less all the way up to $1 million.

Q3 2020 Market Reports: Featured North Shore Communities

Essex County Snapshot

We regularly examine housing data across the 34 cities and towns that make up Essex County and beyond. For a high level overview, please click here. Do not hesitate to contact us for custom data or information about your desired community.

We hope you find these reports informative about what’s happening in your community. We are here to provide the information and guidance that you need regarding all of your buying, selling, and real estate investing needs. If you are considering a move this summer or want to discuss current market conditions, please contact us.