By Anthony Silva, WBZ News Radio 1030 New England Business Editor

BOSTON (CBS) — Massachusetts home sales in July reached their highest monthly level in 7 years.

Sales of single family homes were up 20% from the same time last year.

Podcast With WBZ News Radio 1030 New England Business Editor Athony Silva

The Massachusetts Association of Realtors says more than 5,700 homes were sold across the state last month alone.

The Warren Group says even though sales are rising, tight inventory means prices are getting pushed upward.

As home sales rise, the color of green is playing a bigger role.

RealtyTrac says all-cash home sales jumped to 40% of home sales nationally last month.

Daren Blomquist at RealtyTrac says there are two reasons : one is tougher lending standards, and the other is more participation by institutional investors, gobbling up single family homes.

In the Boston metro real estate market, 23% of all home sales last month were homes sold for cash.

Meanwhile, a report from Zillow shows that more people are finally lifting themselves out of their upside-down mortgages.

Zillow says the number of homes with negative equity fell in the second quarter to just 15%. A year ago it was at almost 20%.

Zillow’s Svenja Goodell says the Boston numbers are also improving. She says the Boston metro market had the third lowest negative equity rates among the top 30 areas that Zillow measures.

But Goodell says the news is not all positive. Some Massachusetts cities are still dealing with crippling negative equity. In Brockton, for example, 42% of the homes are worth less than what is owed on their mortgages.

Mortgage rates fell slightly this week. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate on the 30-year fixed loan dropped to 4.51 percent, and the average on the 15-year fixed mortgage dipped to 3.54.

While rates remain low by historical standards, they have risen more than a full percentage point since May.


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