Sales of multifamily homes fell across Massachusetts for the first time in five years in 2005, declining 15.1 percent from a record 9,401 sales in 2004 to 7,980 last year, according to data compiled by the Massachusetts Association of Realtors. The slowdown is due to escalating property values, rising energy prices and higher vacancy rates brought on by a steady increase in condo conversions and multifamily housing construction in recent years that has softened demand among investors and made the market less attractive to first-time home buyers, MAR reported. "The multifamily housing market has experienced record demand over the past three years and that's led to strong price appreciation, but also priced others out of the market," said MAR President David Wluka of Wluka Real Estate in Sharon. "Entry-level buyers have come to find that duplexes and triple-deckers are no longer the affordable starter-home option they once were, while investors have started to look to other less costly ...
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