Business & Tech

Massachusetts home sales, and housing stock, rose in February

AP

The Greater Boston housing market continued to pick up speed in February, with both sales and the number of homes listed for sale on the rise.

New data from the Warren Group and state and local real estate organizations show the median price of a single-family home climbed in Greater Boston and statewide. At $577,500, the median price in the Boston area was up 6.7 percent compared with the same period last year, according to the Greater Boston Association of Realtors.

Condominium prices, however, dipped slightly compared with last February, down 2.9 percent in Greater Boston, while the number of condos on the market surged 22.9 percent, a sign that growing supply may finally be giving would-be buyers more options.

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“Dating back to last fall, inventory has been steady if not increasing month-to-month, and the larger number of listings is providing buyers more opportunity to get into the market,” said GBAR president Jim Major, an agent with Century 21 North East in Woburn. “Compared to a year ago, buyers have a wider selection of homes to choose from and a slightly longer, more relaxed time frame in which to search for a home.”

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Price growth is slowing fastest at the top of the market, Major said, with some luxury and high-end homes remaining for sale longer than they were a year or two ago.

Still, the region’s housing market overall remains tight heading into the busy spring home-buying season. At the current pace of sales, there are just 3.5 months’ worth of single-family homes on the market in Greater Boston, and 3.4 months worth of condos. Housing experts say a healthy market should have about six months worth of supply.

The area keeps adding jobs, which is fueling demand from people who want to buy a home. And interest rates, after climbing sharply last fall, have dipped again. The average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has fallen from 4.9 percent in November to 4.3 percent last week, effectively giving buyers more purchasing power. Those trends continue to drive prices upward, said Warren Group CEO Tim Warren.

“Single-family home prices continue to set records,” he said. “Demand remains strong while supply is tight.”

Tim Logan can be reached at tim.logan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @bytimlogan.