Baltimore area closes year with surging home sales and record December prices

Posted on January 14, 2020 by Corey Hart



Baltimore Metro area closes out 2019 with a new December record price of $278,000; Inventories at lowest level of the decade

Rockville, MD – (January 14, 2019) – The following analysis of the Baltimore Metro Area housing market has been prepared by Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D. of MarketStats by ShowingTime and is based on December 2019 Bright MLS housing data.

Click here to view PDF version of this report


  • The Baltimore Metro area median sales price rose 9.0% to $278,000 to set a new December price record.  The area has seen steady and solid price appreciation for the last four years.
  • Sales volume of over $1 billion was up 41.7% from last year.
  • Closed sales compared to last year were up significantly for the fourth month in a row, rising 30.9% to 3,143.
  • New pending sales were up for the sixth month in a row, gaining 10.7% to 2,752 and were at the highest December level of the decade.
  • New listings were down 4.6% to 2,441 and resulting active inventory levels compared to last year declined by 15.2% to just 7,413, the lowest overall monthly level of the past ten years.
  • The average percentage of original list price received at sale was 94.5%, up significantly from last December’s 92.2%.  This was the highest December level in ten years.
  • Median days-on-market of 33 are down from last December’s 37 days and at the lowest December level of the last 10 years.


  • December’s regional median sales price of $278,000 was, by far, the highest December price of the decade, up 9.0% or $23,000 from last year and up 1.1% or $3,050 from last month.
  • Single-family homes saw the largest gains in prices compared to last year, rising 10.3% to $352,750.  Townhome prices were up 5.5% to $210,000, and condos were up 4.7% to $210,450.
  • Prices are well above the 5-year average of $252,600 and the 10-year average of $240,498.
  • Prices are 26.4% above the December 2011 low of $219,900.
  • Howard County continues to be the most expensive area in the region, with a December median sales price of $422,500, up 12.7% from last year.
  • Baltimore City continues to be the most affordable, with a December median sales price of $145,250, up 5.3% from last year.
  • For all of 2019, regional prices increased to $284,260.  With the exception of Howard County, where prices slipped 0.2% to $415,000, all areas saw growth in prices over 2019.  Baltimore City saw the highest level of price appreciation in 2019, gaining 10.7% to $160,000, followed by Harford County (+8.6% to $271,500), Anne Arundel (+4.4% to $355,000), Baltimore County (+4.2% to $250,000) and Carroll County (+1.9% to $325,000).


  • Closed sales were up a significant 30.9% to 3,143 (although last December’s number may have been abnormally low due to the federal government shutdown).  This is the fourth month in a row of double-digit increases after nearly a year of declines.  Sales were up 8.5% from last month.
  • Closed sales of condos were up 35.9% to 314, while single-family closed sales rose by 33.4% to 1,654 and townhome sales were up 26.5% to 1,175.
  • December sales are above both the 5-year average of 2,969 and the 10-year average of 2,524.
  • December sales were 82.1% above the December 2011 trough of 1,726 but are 1.7% below the peak level of 3,196 seen in December 2016.
  • December sales were up across the region, with the largest percentage gain in Harford County (+47.6% to 335) and the smallest in Carroll County (+14.8% to 163).
  • For all of 2019, closed sales across the region were up 4.0% to 40,857 and all areas except Carroll County (where they were virtually unchanged) saw gains in closed sales compared to 2018. 


  • New pending sales of 2,752 were up 10.7% compared to last year and were down a seasonal 11.2% from last month.  This was the highest level of pending sales at the end of December this decade.
  • Pending sales of single-family homes were up 12.5% to 1,371, townhomes were up 9.2% to 1,130 and pending sales of condos were up 8.7% to 251.
  • Pending contracts are above both the 5-year average of 2,647 and the 10-year average of 2,268.
  • The number of new pending contracts in December was 62.2% more than the 10-year market low of 1,697 seen in December 2011.
  • Across the region, new pending sales were up everywhere in December, with the largest percentage gain in Howard County (+35.1% to 281) and the smallest gain in Baltimore County (+2.8% to 733).    


  • New listings of 2,441 were down 4.6% compared to last year and were down a seasonal 29.6% over last month.  Year-over-year new listings have declined for six of the past seven months.
  • New condo listings were down 8.9% to 215, while new townhome listings were down 6.4% to 1,055 and new single-family detached listings were down 2.1% to 1,171.
  • New listings are below the 5-year average of 2,576 but are above the 10-year average of 2,395.
  • The number of new December listings exceeded the 2012 market low of 1,818 by 34.3% and is 11.5% below the December 2015 high of 2,758.
  • New listing activity across the region was mostly down, with the smallest percentage decrease in new listings in Anne Arundel County (-3.6% to 529) and the largest in Baltimore City (-11.2% to 735).  Harford and Howard Counties both gained new listings (+9.9% and +4.0%), respectively.
  • For all of 2019, new listings were virtually flat at 57,493.


  • Active inventories dipped 15.2% to 7,413, the lowest monthly level of the past decade and were down 17.9% from last month.
  • Compared to last year, inventories of single-family homes were down 15.5% to 4,036, townhome inventories were down 14.6% to 2,751 and active inventories of condos were down 14.4% to 626.
  • Inventories are well below both the 5-yr average of 9,153 and the 10-yr average of 10,691.
  • December inventories are less than half the peak level of 16,346 seen in 2010.  December 2017’s 8,406 had been the lowest December inventory level until this month.
  • Inventory levels are down everywhere across the region.  Baltimore City had the smallest percentage decline in inventory levels (-8.2% to 2,551) while Howard County (-24.6% to 526) had the largest.


  • The average sales price to original listing price ratio (SP to OLP ratio) for December was 94.5%, up significantly from last year’s 92.2% and also up from last month’s 92.5%. This was easily the highest December level of the past 10 years.
  • Single-family detached homes have a SP to OLP ratio of 94.7%, townhomes have a SP to OLP ratio of 94.5%, and condos have a SP to OLP ratio of 93.0%.
  • This December’s SP to OLP ratio remains well above both the 5-year average of 92.6% and the 10-year average of 89.5%.
  • Over the last ten years, the lowest December average sales price to original listing price ratio was in 2010 when it was 80.2%. 
  • Howard County had the highest SP to OLP ratio at 97.4%, up from last year’s 96.5%.
  • The lowest SP to OLP ratio was in Baltimore City, where it was 94.5%, up from 92.2% last year.
  • All jurisdictions saw some level of increase in SP to OLP ratios in December.
  • For the year 2019, the regional SP to OLP ratio was 96.5%, down from 97.5% for 2018. 


  • The median days-on-market (DOM) in December was 33 days, down four days from last December but up three days from last month.
  • Condos have a median DOM of 24, while townhomes have a median DOM of 30, and single-family detached homes have a median DOM of 36.
  • December’s median DOM was eight days below the 5-year average of 41 days and 19 days below the 10-year average of 52 days.
  • This month’s median DOM of 33 is the lowest December level in a decade (the next lowest was 37 days last year).  The highest December median DOM of the last 10 years was 81 days in 2011.
  • Howard County had the lowest median DOM of 28 days, down from 36 days last year.
  • The highest median DOM in the region in December was in Carroll County where it was 37 days, down one day from last December.
  • For 2019, the overall regional median DOM for the year was 26 days, the same as in 2018.


About the Baltimore Metro Housing Market Update

The Baltimore Metro Area Housing Market Update provides unique insights into the state of the current housing market by measuring the number of new pending sales, trends by home characteristics, and key indicators through the most recent month compiled directly from Multiple Listing Service (MLS) data in ShowingTime’s proprietary database. The Baltimore Metro Area housing market includes the City of Baltimore, Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County and Howard County in Maryland. Data provided by MarketStats by ShowingTime, based on listing activity from Bright MLS.

About Bright MLS

The Bright MLS real estate service area spans 40,000 square miles throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, including Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, D.C. and West Virginia. As a leading Multiple Listing Service (MLS), Bright serves approximately 95,000 real estate professionals who in turn serve over 20 million consumers. For more information, please visit

About Elliot Eisenberg

Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D. is the Chief Economist of GraphsandLaughs, LLC, a firm specializing in economic consulting and data analysis.  He is a frequent speaker on topics including: economic forecasts, economic impact of industries such as homebuilding and tourism, consequences of government regulation, economic development and other current economic issues. Dr. Eisenberg earned a B.A. in economics with first class honors from McGill University in Montreal, as well as a Masters and Ph.D. in public administration from Syracuse University. Eisenberg was formerly a Senior Economist with the National Association of Home Builders in Washington, D.C.   He is a regularly featured guest on cable news programs, talk and public radio, writes a syndicated column and authors a daily 70 word commentary on the economy that is available at



baltimore metro, market analysis, press release
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