The first known case of coronavirus in the state of Massachusetts was reported at the beginning of February. This case — a man in his 20s had recently returned to his home in Boston from visiting Wuhan, China, where the virus originated — was the eighth to be reported in the United States.
Now, well into the month of May, here’s where the commonwealth stands in terms of real estate.
Statewide cases and deaths
- There were 87,052 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Tuesday, May 19th.
- As of Tuesday afternoon, 5,862 fatalities had been reported.
- A total of 469,199 COVID-19 tests have been administered as of May 19th.
Statewide crisis response
- Gov. Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency in Massachusetts on March 10. Over the next few days, the governor placed restrictions on visiting nursing homes and holding large gatherings.
- On March 15, schools were ordered closed until April 6. That order was later extended through May 18.
- On March 16, Gov. Baker announced a $10 million small business recovery loan fund. On March 19, he activated the Massachusetts National Guard to support the pandemic response.
- Non-essential businesses were ordered to cease in-person operations on March 23 and a stay-at-home advisory was put into place for two weeks. Stay-at-home advisories were later extended through May 18.
- On May 1, Gov. Baker announced that face coverings that cover the nose and mouth would be required in public starting on May 6.
- On May 7, the governor’s office allowed the reopening of golf courses with strict guidelines for players to stick of groups of four people or less, to not enter the course until 15 minutes before tee time and to return to their vehicle immediately after play finished. Clubhouses, gold shops, restaurants, bag rooms and locker rooms would remain closed.
Statewide real estate
- The median sales price for a single-family home in Massachusetts increased by 6.5 percent year-over-year from $390,500 in March 2019 to $416,000 in March 2020, according to the Massachusetts Association of Realtors. The median sales price for condos rose by 14.3 percent from $375,000 in March 2019 to $428,500 in March 2020.
- Single-family homes spent an average of 74 days on market in March 2020, down slightly from 78 days the year before. Inventory also dropped year-over-year with a mere 1.8 months supply of inventory available in March 2020 compared to 2.7 months in March 2019. Condo inventory was similarly low at 1.7 months supply down from 2.5 months supply the previous year.
- There were 6,061 new single-family home listings in March 2020, a 5.8 percent decline from 6,436 new listings the year before.
- At the end of April, the Division of Administrative Law Appeals, the Housing Appeals Committee, the Massachusetts Registers and Assistant Registers of Deeds Association created processes for electronic filings. As of April 27, Gov. Baker also signed into law a measure allowing remote notarization through videoconferencing.
Suffolk County (Boston, Chelsea, Revere, Winthrop)
Confirmed cases as of May 19: 16,671
Deaths as of May 19: 790
Boston’s picturesque colonial neighborhoods with cobblestone streets serve as a reminder of the birth of the United States as a nation back in the eighteenth century. The city is now home to about 694,583 people, and is one major metropolis that helps makes up Suffolk County, a county of about 803,907 people, according to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau.
The median sales price for a single-family home in Boston during March 2020 was $640,000, up 6.8 percent from $599,400 the previous year, according to the Greater Boston Association of Realtors. There were 1,584 new listings made during March, down 5.3 percent from 1,673 new listings in March 2019.
Single-family homes spent an average of 34 days on market, compared to 42 days on market in March 2019. The city held a 2.3 months supply of inventory during March 2020, down from 2.9 months supply in March 2020.
The median sales price for condominiums during March was $619,950, up 12.7 percent from $550,000 in March 2019. The month saw 1,217 new listings, down 17.3 percent from 1,472 new listings the previous year.
Middlesex County (Cambridge, Lowell, Newton, Somerville)
Confirmed cases as of May 19: 19,345
Deaths as of May 19: 1,412
Lowell, located in the North of Middlesex County, which lies in the Northeast portion of the Massachusetts, was the home of 20th-century beat novelist Jack Kerouac made. The county contains about 1,611,699 people, according to the most recent census data from 2019.
The current median home value in Lowell is $313,351, according to Zillow, and the median sale price is $262,100. Over the past year, home values have jumped by 6.5 percent, but Zillow anticipates they will drop by about 0.6 percent over the next year.
Homes in Lowell listed on Zillow spend an average of 73 days on market.
The median rent price in Lowell is $1,674 — significantly less that the median rent price of $2,650 in the Boston metro area.
Worcester County (Worcester, Fitchburg, Gardner, Leominster, Southbridge)
Confirmed cases as of May 19: 87,052
Deaths as of May 19: 581
Worcester is located in central Massachusetts and is the home of Clark University and College of the Holy Cross. The county has a population of about 830,622, according to the latest Census Bureau estimate conducted in 2019.
The median sales price of all homes in Worcester County during March 2020 was $258,000, according to Long & Foster, up about 1 percent year-over-year.
There was a 3.9 months supply of inventory available during March 2020, down 29 percent from one year ago.
There were 237 new listings during the month, down about 25 percent from the previous year. Homes spent an average of 101 days on market.
Hampden County (Springfield, Holyoke, Palmer, Westfield)
Confirmed cases as of May 19: 5,264
Deaths as of May 19: 517
Springfield is located is Western Massachusetts alongside the Connecticut River, and known as the “birthplace of basketball,” as the sport was created here by physical education instructor Dr. James Naismith in the late 1800s. Hampden County’s population was last estimated at about 466,372 people in 2019 according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Hampden County’s median single-family home sales price was $204,000 in March 2020, an increase of 9.7 percent compared to $186,000 in March 2019, according to the Realtor Association of Pioneer Valley. Median sales price for condos also increased year-over-year from $144,000 in March 2019 to $160,000 in March 2020.
Closed sales went up by 1.9 percent year-over-year from 264 closed sales in March 2019 to 269 closed sales in March 2020.
Months supply of inventory decreased by 40 percent year-over-year from 2.5 months supply in 2019 to 1.5 months supply in 2020. There were 415 new listings in March 2020, down from 452 the previous year.
Barnstable County (Cape Cod)
Confirmed cases as of May 19: 1,155
Deaths as of May 19: 95
Cape Cod is Massachusetts’ hook-shaped peninsula, a summertime haven for vacationing seafood and lighthouse lovers alike. Barnstable County’s population was last estimated at 213,413 in 2018 according to the Census Bureau.
In March 2020, 326 single-family and 74 condos sold in Cape Cod and its surrounding islands, according to the Cape Cod & Islands Association of Realtors, a modest increase from 294 single-family homes and 65 condos sold the previous year.
Median sales price for single-family homes increased to $441,250 in March 2020 compared to $421,500 in March 2019. Condo median sales price also rose from $255,000 in March 2019 to $306,000 in March 2020.
New listings dropped by 14.7 percent to 480 single-family homes listed in March 2020 down from 563 new listings the previous year. New condo listings also declined, but to a lesser extent — down 10.5 percent to 111 new listings in March 2020 compared to 124 in March 2019.
- The Massachusetts Association of Realtors, the Cape Cod and Islands Association of Realtors, the Realtor Association of Pioneer Valley and the Greater Boston Association of Realtors all have COVID-19 resource pages on their websites.
- The Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations has a COVID-19 resources webpage with information about housing, small business, food and other resources in relation to the pandemic.
- The Real Estate Bar Association for Massachusetts has a COVID-19 resources webpage specifically as the pandemic relates to real estate-related legal issues.
- The Massachusetts government website has a webpage devoted to COVID-19 guidance from the Department of Housing and Community Development applicable to renters, homeowners, landlords and developers.
- The Citizens Housing and Planning Association has a COVID-19 resources webpage with aggregated information about state and national updates, as well as housing policy resources. The non-profit is also hosting affordable housing coronavirus response virtual meetings on a weekly basis.