Baltimore area home sales continued outpacing 2014 levels in August

Posted on September 10, 2015 by Corey Hart



Closed sales and new pending sales up 17% and 13% respectively; Prices up slightly, led by townhomes

Rockville, MD – (September 10, 2015) – The following analysis of the Baltimore Metro Area housing market has been prepared by Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D. of RealEstate Business Intelligence (RBI) and is based on August 2015 MRIS housing data.


The Baltimore Metro housing market enjoyed strong sales in August, with double-digit increases in sales and pending contracts and slight growth in inventory levels and new listings.  Although single-family detached and condo median sales prices fell slightly, the increase in townhomes more than compensated, leading to an overall 2% increase in median sales prices in the region.

Closed sales of 3,318 increased by 17.0% from August 2014, although down 8.4% from last month.  New contracts increased 12.9% to 3,552 and are at their highest August level in a decade. The median August sales price of $250,000 was up $5,000 from last year. The median sales price for single-family detached declined 0.9% to $315,000, while townhome prices rose 2.9% to $185,200 and condos decreased 0.1% to $189,750.  Total sold dollar volume across the Baltimore Metro region in August was nearly $960 million, up 17.2% percent from last year, although down 10.7% from last month.  Inventories increased by 1.1% to 14,093 total active listings.

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The data suggest that there are lingering effects in the City of Baltimore from the April civil unrest.  Prior to May, Baltimore City had shown year-over-year gains comparable to, and often exceeding, those of the Metro region, but in May, Baltimore City pending contracts plunged relative to the Metro region.  In June and July the gap narrowed slightly, but in August, Baltimore City was the only jurisdiction to show a decline (down 1.7%) in the number of new pending contracts.

Additionally, while Baltimore City homes sold faster than the region in the six months leading into May, averaging eight fewer days over those months, Baltimore City’s median DOM was higher than the region in May, June and July, by three, five and three days, respectively, while in August it was four days higher.  The August year-over-year increase in sold listings in Baltimore City was 9.9%, compared to 17% for the entire Metro region.


Year-over-year sales remain robust, single-family detached leads the way, all home types and jurisdictions enjoy strong growth.  With 3,318 closed sales, August 2015 marked the highest August sales level since 2006 and was the ninth consecutive month with a double-digit increase in closed sales.  Overall sales increased 17% or 482 sales compared to last year. All home segments saw growth in the number of closed sales for the seventh consecutive month, with the strongest being single-family detached which increased by 22.1% to 1,897 sales.  Townhomes increased by 11.9% to 1,070 sales and condos increased by 7.7% to 351 sales.  August sales exceeded the 5-year average of 2,682 and the 10-year average of 2,633.  There have been nearly 4,300 more homes sold year-to-date, rising 21.8% to 23,973 versus 19,675 sales over the same eight months last year.


Best level of August pending sales in a decade, single-family detached shows double-digit growth for 12 straight months.  The 3,552 new contracts during August 2015 are the highest August level in at least a decade.  The number of new contracts increased 12.9% compared to August of 2014; not surprisingly, new contracts are down by 10.3% compared to last month.  New contracts have now risen year-over-year for 15 consecutive months, and except for the number of new condo contracts, which were down 2.9%, all property segments have had more pending contracts than the prior year for the last 11 months.  New pending contracts exceeded the 5-year average by 20.2% and the 10-year average by 35.7%.

The number of new contracts for single-family detached homes increased 20.7% to 1,949 while townhomes rose by 7.3% to 1,229.  However for the first time in nearly a year, the number of condo sales compared to last year declined, by a scant 2.9% to 374.  Compared to last month, condos decreased by 13.2%, single-family detached declined by 12.0%, and townhomes declined 6.5%.  Across the region year-to-date, all jurisdictions show strong double-digit increases in the number of new contracts, and the Baltimore Metro new contracts total of 30,613 is up 19.2% compared to 2014.


Overall median sales prices inch up slightly year-over-year led by townhome price increases.  Median sales prices rose 2.0% to $250,000 compared to August 2014, though only townhomes showed an increase in median sales price compared to last year, increasing 2.9% to $185,200.  Declines for both condos and single-family detached were small, condos declining by 0.1% to $189,750, while single-family detached dipped 0.9% to $315,000.  Compared to last month, single-family detached homes were down 3.1%, while townhome prices decreased by 2.5% and condos dropped 8.4%.  Median prices slightly exceed the 5-year average of $244,380 and are slightly below the 10-year average of $254,111.

While sales activity was up across the region, price changes were mixed.  The median sales price in Howard County increased 2.0% to $407,925 on 401 sales, which was a 22.3% increase compared to August 2014.  The median sales price in Anne Arundel County decreased by 1.7% to $315,000 on 745 transactions, a 12.2% increase.  Carroll County saw a 3.5% increase in median sales price to $295,000, on 229 sales, a 25.8% increase.  The median sales price in Harford County dropped 3.6% to $255,505 on 333 closed sales, which was an increase of 37%.  Baltimore County saw a negligible 0.5% increase in median sales price to $215,000 on a 16.3% increase in the number of sales to 930.  Baltimore City median sales price declined 9.7% to $116,500 on 680 sales, which was a 9.9% increase over last year. 


Active listings inch up to highest August level since 2011, new listings at highest August level since 2007, townhomes are fastest sellers. There were 14,093 properties on the market at the end of August, an increase of 1.1% compared to last year.  This marks the 23rd consecutive month that active listings have increased year-over-year, although the level of growth has been declining for the past 11 months.  The number of condo listings increased by 6.9% to 1,249, townhome listings rose 6.6% to 4,575, while single-family detached listings declined by 2.5% to 8,269, making this the third consecutive month of declines in single-family inventory growth.  Compared to last month, active inventory is nearly unchanged, with an overall decrease of 0.5%, with single-family detached down 0.7%, townhomes down 0.3%, and condos up 0.2%.  Active inventory exceeds the 5-year average by 4.4% but is still 11.5% below the 10-year average.  Active listings at the end of August are down slightly in Anne Arundel (-0.7%), Harford (-1.6%) and Carroll Counties (-1.1%), but are up in Baltimore County (+2.7%), Baltimore City (+2.7%), and Howard County (+2.1%). 

The number of new listings rose by 6.6% to 4,728, which is the highest August level since 2007.  New listings for condos rose by the largest percentage of 11.6% to 473, followed by townhomes which increased by 8.7% to 1,646 and single-family detached increased by 4.5% to 2,609.  There have now been year-over-year increases in the number of new listings for 29 consecutive months, and the number of new listings exceeds both the 5-year average of 4,023 and the 10-year average of 4,451.  As would be expected at this time of the selling season, new listings were down 8.9% compared to last month.  The number of new listings for the period January-August is up by 3,240 or 8.9% compared to last year. 

At 39 days, the median days-on-market (DOM) increased by one day compared to last year and seven days from last month.  Median days-on-market remains comfortably lower than the 5-year August average of 44 days and well below the 10-year average of 51 days.  Townhomes move most quickly, with a median DOM of 37 days, while single-family detached have a median DOM of 40 and condos have a median DOM of 42.  Properties in Howard and Baltimore Counties have the lowest median DOM of 34, while those in Harford County are the highest at 44 days.



About the RBI 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 RBI’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.

About RealEstate Business Intelligence, LLC

RealEstate Business Intelligence, LLC (RBI) is a primary source of real estate data, analytics and business intelligence for real estate professionals in the Mid-Atlantic Region. Monthly reports for all jurisdictions in the MRIS region, along with interactive charts and graphics, can be found at RBI is the only company in the Mid-Atlantic region that provides timely, online access to statistical information directly from the MRIS MLS.

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

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