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Luxury Home Sales Rise

By Thomas Grillo, Boston Business Journal
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BOSTON (CBS) – The state’s housing recovery is proving especially kind to sellers of high-end homes, a Boston Business Journal analysis of real estate transactions in Massachusetts this year indicates.

Sales of single-family homes regardless of price were up 19 percent for the first four months of 2012 compared with the same period last year.

Meanwhile, sales of homes that fetched $2 million or more were up 27 percent over the same period.

“Buyers are coming off the sidelines with more speed as they see inventory dropping and fear they could lose out on a deal,” said Kevin Ahearn , president of Otis & Ahearn.

“The combination of historically low interest rates and prices that have bottomed and are moving up have convinced buyers that this is the time to buy to get the best opportunity on price.”

When it comes to price, high-end homes performed similarly to the larger market.

The median price for a single-family home sold during the first four months of 2012 was $269,000 — down 2 percent from the median during the same months in 2011.

The median price for a $2 million-plus home sold during the first four months of 2012 was $2.6 million — down 4 percent from the average during the same months in 2011.

Average days on market was up 18 percent — to 299 — for $2 million-plus homes and flat at 150 days for the market overall.

Beth Dickerson, an agent at Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty, said high-end properties tend to sell at a discount because they are priced too high as most sellers are convinced their homes are special and will command a larger number. Unlike some other major cities, the Hub has been unable to absorb higher prices, she said. “If you’re taking 7 percent off a $10 million home, that’s not that bad. I tell sellers to expect offers that are 3 to 10 percent off asking price. Selling multi-million dollar single-family homes at asking price is rare, unless there’s a bidding war.”

“Typically,” she added, “buyers make a bid low and meet somewhere in the middle. But this is nothing new, no one pays asking prices for these over $5 million properties.”

Lisa van der Pool of the Boston Business Journal can be seen weekdays at 6 a.m. on WBZ-TV.

You can follow Lisa on Twitter at @lvanderpool.

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