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Nov. home-sale deals hold steady

Globe Staff / December 8, 2010

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The number of Massachusetts single-family homes put under agreement in November was unchanged, compared to the same time last year. It was the first time in six months that pending sales have not declined on a year-to-year basis, the Massachusetts Association of Realtors said.

Condominiums put under agreement were down in November, the association said.

The analysis counts homes under agreement but not completed sales. It can take six weeks for a sale to close. In general, economists look at closed sales when they evaluate market conditions, but that data can be weeks old. The association says pending sales can give a better indication of where the market might be heading.

“It is a positive sign that pending sales in November were the same as last year and didn’t decrease,’’ the group’s president, Kevin Sears, said in a prepared statement.

“It shows that there are buyers who are slowly getting back into the market and taking advantage of the conditions to purchase a home. Hopefully the economy will continue to improve, the snow holds off and doesn’t become a deterrent and pending sales continue to increase in December as well.’’

The Massachusetts housing market hit a deep freeze in October, with little more than 3,000 single-family homes sold, the lowest number for the month since 1990, according to data from the Warren Group, a Boston firm that tracks real estate activity.

Housing specialists attributed the market’s poor showing in October to the end of a federal home buyer tax credit.