Article from The Boston Globe – By Kathleen Conti

Buyers wading into the real estate market this year better buckle up, because if 2016 was any indication, it’s going to be even bumpier this year.

Home shoppers in Boston-area communities especially should prepare for yet another year of slim pickings, overcrowded open houses, and bidding wars, real estate brokers say.

Early birds hoping to beat the traditional spring rush by house-hunting in the winter are already encountering the harsh reality that they are far from alone. Blame it on a mix of mild weather and frustration.

“I feel that there’s more buyers now than typical years in the winter months,” said James Gulden, a Metro Boston agent for real estate brokerage Redfin. “The kind of seasonal aspect of things has gone out the window due to these low inventory levels.”

The home sales figures for 2016 confirm an all too-familiar trend: Sales were up, but there was less to choose from, and what was available was usually more expensive.

The median price of a single-family home sold in Massachusetts in 2016 was $345,000, up 1.5 percent from the previous year and $10,000 shy of the peak recorded in 2005, according to data released Tuesday by the Warren Group. The 60,751 single-family homes sold in 2016 marked an 11.3 percent rise in homes sold over 2015.

Condos fared a bit better, with the statewide median price rising 4.1 percent to $329,000, the Warren Group said.

But in Greater Boston, where demand is highest, the single-family and condominium markets closed the year with much higher prices, according to a separate report released Tuesday by the Greater Boston Association of Realtors.

The median sale price of a single-family home in Greater Boston was up 5 percent, to $540,000. Condos in the region sold for a median $485,114, 8 percent higher than the previous year, according to GBAR.

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