The Boston-area housing market roared through December Demand and prices, especially in the suburbs, were way up, and there’s no sign of a slowdown in 2021 By Tim Logan Globe Staff, Updated January 19, 2021, 12:05 p.m. Massachusetts home sales, especially in the suburbs, were robust in 2020, despite the pandemic. STEVEN SENNE/ASSOCIATED PRESS Greater Boston’s housing market kept roaring along in December, with no sign of the activity abating anytime soon. Home sales surged by about one-fifth for the month, compared with December 2019, according to figures from the Greater Boston Association of Realtors, as strong demand and low interest rates prompted more people to take the plunge. “The level of buyer activity we’ve seen in the market since Labor Day is unprecedented and has resulted in record-setting sales during the 2020 fall market,” said GBAR president Dino Confalone, an agent with Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty in Cambridge. “Since the economy began to reopen in June, we’ve seen the jobs market strengthen, the supply of properties for sale slowly rise, and interest rates trend lower that helped fuel a surge in pent-up demand.” They’re paying more, though, especially for single-family homes in more suburban locales. The median price for single-family homes sold in December increased to $683,700, up 13.9 percent from the same period in 2019. That was a record for December and the fifth straight month of double-digit price appreciation on a year- over-year basis. Inventory remains at rock-bottom levels, with just 897 homes listed for sale in the 64 cities and towns the GBAR tracks, perhaps three weeks of supply at the current pace of sales, though new listings climbed. The condominium market is a different story. Median prices dipped 3.4 percent, to $565,000, and listings climbed for the sixth consecutive month. While inventory remained relatively tight, with less than two months’ supply on the market, and condos going under contract faster, would-be condo buyers were finding more options than those looking for single-family homes, Confalone said. “The majority of today’s buyers are looking to upsize rather than downsize, or they want a home in the suburbs with outdoor living space, so that’s creating some good opportunities in the condo market where listings are up,” he said. For all the tumult of 2020 — with COVID-19 shutdowns bringing the market to a near- standstill in the spring, followed by a rush of activity in the summer and fall — the housing market wound up in a fairly stable place by year’s end. Sales volume was basically flat, compared with 2019, and while single-family home prices rose 9.7 percent, prices of condos — which make up about 40 percent of the market in Greater Boston — climbed by a more modest 2.8 percent. The region’s demographic bulge of people in their early 30s looking to settle down is still there — even if buyer preference has shifted toward suburban locations amid a wave of working from home, Confalone said. And the white-collar economy, despite major job losses among service workers, remains relatively strong, he added. Given all that, if vaccinations against COVID-19 are widely distributed and the broader economy begins to recover, Confalone said, he expect the region’s housing market to continue powering along. “We’re optimistic about 2021,” he said. Tim Logan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @bytimlogan.