Activity in Putnam surged in the fourth quarter of 2015, with sales up sharply, hitting levels we have not seen in over ten years. And although prices took a dip in the quarter, they were relatively flat for the year.
Sales. Putnam sales surged again in the fourth quarter, rising almost 12% from last year and up almost 21% for the year. Indeed, we have now seen sustained growth in Putnam sales for four years, with closings up for six straight quarters and 14 out of the last 15. And we are now seeing sales totals creep up to the seller market levels, with the 918 calendar sales being the most since 2005.
Prices. Pricing was disappointing, with the quarterly price down across the board after a robust showing in the third quarter. Indeed, for the year, prices were down just slightly, after rising for the past two calendar years.
Negotiability. The good news for prices came in the inventory numbers, which were down sharply. The months-of-inventory fell almost 21% from last year, down to below 9.0 months for the first time in over 10 years. With inventory tightening, we would expect negotiability to decline, which would tend to drive prices up as buyers chase fewer opportunities and homes sell more quickly and for closer to the asking price.
Condominiums. The condo market was similarly up, rising over 22% for the quarter and over 30% for the year. In this case, though, the surge in activity has already been felt in the pricing, with the average up over 11% for the quarter and over 9% for the year.
Going forward, we believe that these levels of buyer demand coupled with a declining inventory are likely to drive some meaningful price appreciation in a robust spring market and through the end of the year.