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High prices, mortgage rates, keep Greater Boston housing market stuck in neutral

Sales hit record lows in October, while prices remain at record highs

A home for sale in Watertown earlier this year.Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

High prices, high interest rates, and even rainy weekends are keeping the region’s housing market in slow motion.

Sales of both single-family houses and condos in the region remained at the lowest levels in more than a decade in October, according to data released Tuesday by the Greater Boston Association of Realtors. Prices, meantime, continued to escalate at double-digit rates on a year-over-year basis, due largely to a shortage of homes for sale.

“The prospect of facing higher mortgage rates, appreciating home prices, and more intense competition in this tight inventory market has not only diminished purchasing power, but overall housing demand,” said GBAR President Alison Socha, an agent with Leading Edge Real Estate in Melrose. “The rainy weather this summer did little to help entice buyers into the market.”

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It’s a trend that has persisted for much of the year. High interest rates have locked the market in place as homeowners balk at the prospect of selling and taking on a more expensive mortgage to buy a new house. With sluggish new construction, there’s simply not enough to buy, which is keeping sales volume low and prices elevated.

The median price of a single-family house in 64 cities and towns GBAR covers climbed 10.8 percent from a year earlier to $829,950. The median condo price rose to $694,812, up 13.7 percent. Both prices are the highest on record in October.

“The steady price gains that have occurred over the past year are largely a function of today’s low inventory market,” Socha said. “We don’t have nearly enough listings to meet the demand, and that imbalance continues to put upward pressure on home prices.”

Prices have softened a bit since the all-time highs this summer, when single-family prices reached $900,000. An influx of listings hit the market after Labor Day, and GBAR has seen evidence of price cuts by some sellers.

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Tim Logan can be reached at timothy.logan@globe.com. Follow him @bytimlogan.