Baltimore area home sales dip for 4th consecutive month in December

Posted on January 10, 2019 by Corey Hart



Baltimore Metro median sales price of $255,000 at new December record; Inventories increase for third month in a row

Rockville, MD – (January 10, 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 2018 Bright MLS housing data.

Click here to view PDF version of this report


  • The Baltimore Metro area median sales price of $255,000 was up 2.0% from December, and at the highest December price level of the decade.  For the year, prices were up 2.7% to $266,000.
  • Sales volume of more than $711 million was down 19.4% from last year.
  • Closed sales of 2,401 were down 21.6% compared to last year, the fourth consecutive month of declining sales and the largest year-over-year decline since November of 2010.  For the year, sales declined by 3.4% compared to 2017.
  • New pending sales compared to last December were down 5.7% to 2,486.
  • New listings of 2,559 were up 3.6% compared to last December.  For all of 2018, new listings rose just 0.9% compared to 2017.
  • There were 8,738 active listings at the end of December, up 3.9% from last year and the third month in a row that inventory levels have increased.
  • The average percentage of original list price received at sale in December was 94.8%, down slightly from last December’s 94.9%.


  • December’s overall regional median sales price of $255,000 is up 2.0% or $5,000 from last year but is down 3.7% or $9,700 from last month. This was the highest December price of the decade.
  • Townhome prices were up 7.6% to $199,000 and single-family detached home prices were up 1.6% to $319,900. Condo prices were down 6.9% to $201,000.
  • Prices remain well above the 5-year average of $243,000 and the 10-year average of $236,198.
  • Prices are 16.0% above the December 2011 low of $219,900.
  • Howard County continues to have the highest prices in the region, with a December median sales price of $375,000, although prices dipped by a sharp 8.5% compared to last year.
  • Baltimore City remains the most affordable area, with a December price of $138,000, up a pleasant 22.1% from last year. 
  • December prices were also up in Carroll County (+7.0% to $297,450), in Anne Arundel County (+2.1% to $338,000), and in Baltimore County (+2.1% to $240,000).  Prices in Howard County declined by 17.4% to $219,000.
  • For the year, regional median sales prices were up 2.7% to $266,000 and all jurisdictions saw gains in 2018 prices compared to 2017.  Baltimore City saw the largest 2018 gain, with prices increasing by 8.6% to $144,500 for the year.  Harford County saw the smallest at 1.0% to $250,000. 


  • December’s closed sales of 2,401 were down 21.6% compared to last year and were down 4.0% from last month.  This was the fourth and largest consecutive month of declining year-over-year closed sales.
  • Sales of all property types were down compared to last year, with single-family detached sales down 21.2% to 1,240, townhome sales down 22.1% to 929, and condo sales down 22.0% to 231.
  • December sales are below the 5-year average of 2,889 but are above the 10-year average of 2,389.
  • December sales were 39.1% more than the trough of 1,726 seen in December 2011 but are 24.9% below the peak December 2016 level of 3,196.
  • All areas in the region saw decreases in December closed sales, with the smallest percentage decline in Howard County (-13.7% to 239), and the largest in Baltimore City (-28.8% to 573).  
  • Across the region, closed sales in 2018 were down 3.4% to 39,300.  Harford County showed a slight 0.6% gain in 2018 sales, but all other jurisdictions had declines, with the largest yearly decline in Howard County (-6.2% to 4,309) and the smallest in Anne Arundel (-2% to 9,113).


  • There were 2,486 new pending sales in December, down 5.7% compared to last year and down a seasonal 15.6% compared to last month. 
  • Pending sales of single-family detached homes were down 1.5% to 1,219, townhome pending sales were down 7.2% to 1,035 and condo pending sales declined 18.9% to 231.
  • Pendings are below the 5-year average of 2,565 but are above the 10-year average of 2,125.
  • The number of new pending contracts in December was 88.3% more than the 10-year market low of 1,320 seen in December 2009 and was 9.0% below the December 2015 peak of 2,732.
  • Pending contract activity was mixed, with Harford County (+5.7% to 241) and Baltimore County (+2.4% to 713) showing increases. Anne Arundel was flat at 535.  Carroll County (-6.8% to 124), Baltimore City (-14.4% to 665) and Howard County (-22.4% to 208) showed declines. 


  • There were 2,559 new listings in December, up 3.6% compared to last year but down a seasonal 29.7% compared to last month.  
  • New condo listings were up 26.2% to 236, while new townhome listings rose 4.9% to 1,127.  New single-family detached listings decreased 1.1% to 1,196.
  • New listings are below the 5-year average of 2,620 but are above the 10-year average of 2,388.
  • The number of new December listings exceeded the 2012 market low of 1,818 by 40.8% and was 7.2% below the December 2015 high of 2,758.     
  • For the year, new listings across the region were up 0.9% to 57,282.  Anne Arundel (+3.1 to 13,007), Baltimore City (+2.9% to 14,696) and Carroll County (+0.5% to 3,370) saw increases in new listings, while Baltimore County (-0.1% to 14,816), Howard County (-1.9% to 6,163) and in Harford County (-3.4% to 5,230) saw declines.


  • There were 8,738 active listings at the end of December, up 3.9% from last year but down 12.9% from last month.  This is the third consecutive month of rising inventories.
  • Compared to last year, single-family detached inventories were up 5.3% to 4,779 while townhome inventories were up 2.7% to 3,220.  Condo inventories were down 0.4% to 731.
  • Inventories remain well below both the 5-yr average of 10,055 and the 10-yr average of 11,467.
  • December inventories are 46.5% below the peak level of 16,346 seen in 2010.  Last year’s 8,406 is the lowest December inventory level of the decade.
  • Inventory levels rose everywhere except in Harford County, where they declined by 11.5% to 699.  In Baltimore County (+6.9% to 2,054), Anne Arundel County (+6.7% to 2,022), Howard County (+5.9% to 698), Baltimore City (+4.6% to 2,779) and in Carroll County (+0.6% to 486), active inventories increased.


  • The average sales price to original listing price ratio (SP to OLP ratio) for December was 94.8%, down from last year’s 94.9%, and also down from last month’s 95.8%. 
  • Single-family detached homes have a SP to OLP ratio of 94.6%, townhomes have a SP to OLP ratio of 94.7%, and condos have a SP to OLP ratio of 96.3%.
  • This December’s SP to OLP ratio remains well above both the 5-year average of 93.8% and the 10-year average of 92.0%.
  • Over the last decade, the lowest December average sales price to original listing price ratio was in 2010 when it was 87.9%, and the high was last December’s 94.9%.
  • The highest SP to OLP ratio was in Howard County, where it was 96.5% (down from 96.7% last year). 
  • The lowest ratio was in Baltimore City, where it was 92.2% (down from 93.3% last year). 
  • For the year, the regional SP to OLP ratio of 97.5% was up from last year’s 96.2%.  All jurisdictions saw increases in SP to OLP ratios, with the largest yearly increase in Baltimore City, where it rose from 95.4% in 2017 to 99.2% 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 85,000 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


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