Pioneer Valley Condo sales were up in 2012, median prices down Reply

Pioneer Valley condominium sales improved slightly in 2012, according to MLS PIN data.  There were 626 condo sales in 2012 in the valley, which was up from the 591 condo sales in 2011.  Out of all of the counties that make of the Pioneer Valley, only Franklin County saw an increase in median sale prices.

Here are the 2012 sales figures by Pioneer Valley County :

County

Median Sales Price

Units Sold

Franklin

$172,900

35

Hampshire

$174,000

216

Hampden

$125,000

375

Here are 2011 sales figures by Pioneer Valley County:

County

Median Sales Price

Units Sold

Franklin

$164,000

36

Hampshire

$174,950

212

Hampden

$130,000

343

As with the sale of all real estate, condominium sales suffered as a result of the mortgage crisis of 2007-2008.  The challenges facing condominium sellers that resulted from the crisis were compounded when the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) changed their condo certification rules in 2009.  This disqualified many Pioneer Valley home buyers from purchasing a condo because they could no longer take advantage the low down payment of 3.5%.  This is because many condominium complexes that were previously approved for FHA mortgages, no longer qualified under the new rules.  This included my own complex.  So, while buyers could meet the financial requirements of a FHA loan, the condo that they could have purchased did not meet the certification of FHA.  A tragic combination.

Even the so-called “spot-approvals” were eliminated under the new FHA condo approval rules.  Spot approvals allowed FHA mortgages to be written on condo units even if the condo complex where it was located was not FHA certified.

Last year, however, FHA eased up on some their new rules.  It helped some associations, but not all of them.  My association, for example, is unable to meet the new FHA approval requirements.  Although spot approvals are still prohibited, the new rules increased the number of investors that could buy up units, more commercial space could be included in a complex, and they are allowing up to 15% of unit owners to be 60 days behind on their condo dues.

If you are planning on buying or selling a condominium in the Pioneer Valley, make your first call to Michael Seward at 413-531-7129 or email michael.seward@comcast.net.

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