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      The Case of Cold Weather, Hot Prices

      However true it is that the polar vortex has struck yet again, plunging the thermostat to deep freeze temperature levels once more, it seems that real estate has been resilient enough to thaw itself out just in time to prep for the spring season. And if that stands until summer, it would appear that this year will be yet again a banner year for home sales.

      DECEMBER NO LONGER A DEAD ZONE

      Traditionally, December is seen as a 'dead zone' for the real estate cycle. This however, is no longer true. In fact, home prices in the Boston area have increased in value by 3.6 percent compared to November 2012, and an across-the-board  increase of 8 percent compared to December 2012. If that isn't a clear enough indication of what is come for properties in Greater Boston, then we don't know what is.

      The number of 'hot leads' have also increased in the month of December 2013 according to both Trulia and Zillow, up almost 30 percent from the same month in 2012. In other words, more and more people seem to be eyeing - or at least inquiring about the purchase of a property in the coming months. This perhaps is a right move to gear up for any huge jumps in home prices that will surely seep in starting May, just in time for the highly-anticipated June, July, August and September selling season.

      Despite all of this, there is also a key statistic to consider: the inventory of unsold homes dropped nearly 20 percent from November to December. And compared to 2012, December 2013's inventory of unsold homes is 30 percent less that of the previous year. Take that, winter! This is a very huge plunge, and a vote of confidence to sellers out there who are considering the sale of their properties.

      NEW HOME SALES DISAPPOINT BUT STILL DRASTICALLY BETTER

      In a not-so sharp contrast with existing homes that sold and continue to steam roll through sales, December deals of new homes disappointed pundits and analysts alike. HOWEVER, before you blow out your horn about this, new home sales are still up from previous years. In particular, the total number of new homes sold for the year 2013 amounted to 428,000 - an increase of 16.4 percent compared to 2012, and is in fact the highest since 2008.

      December has traditionally always been a tough month for home sales in the Northeast, with frigid temperatures blocking house hunter's motivations. In total, new home sales fell by more than 36 percent compared with November of the same year. Our take on this: don't fret. Home builders aren't afraid of this, as builder confidence is at all time high, and in fact 84 percent of the 900 home builders surveyed nationwide say that 2014 will still be a good year.

      So, is it finally time to start the sales engine? We certainly think so.