Baltimore area sees double-digit gains in January home sales and contracts

Posted on February 10, 2015 by Corey Hart



Foreclosure sales continue rising; Prices for non-distressed home sales jump 8.4 percent year-over-year

Rockville, MD – (February 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 January 2015 MRIS housing data.


The Baltimore Metro housing market began the year well, with large increases in sales, prices, new contracts and inventories compared to January 2014.  Closed sales of 1,786 increased by 18.4% from January 2014.  Single-family detached median prices rose 7.6% to $285,250, condos rose 0.7% to $186,250, and townhomes experienced a substantial 26.9% increase in sales but a 15.9% decline in median price to $134,450. 

Inventories of 11,533 are up 15.9% compared to January 2014, with all categories experiencing year-over-year double-digit growth.  Inventories remain 2.1% below the five-year trend for this time of year, and 12.9% below the ten-year trend of 13,238.  Relatedly, median days on market are up to 65, increasing by 15 days compared to January 2014, but remain below the five-year January trend of 67 days and the ten-year trend of 70 days.  The number of new contracts increased 20.5% to 2,880 from January 2014, to their highest January level since 2006, which suggests improving closed sales leading into the prime spring buying season.

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Year-over-year sales continue to increase, best January since 2007.  Continuing a trend that began in early 2012, closed sales once again increased in January, with a year-over-year rise of 18.4% or 278 sales.  There were a total of 1,786 sales, the highest January since 2007.  While condo sales declined by 5.6%, townhome sales jumped by 26.9% and single-family detached rose by 17.8%.  Looked at by volume, January’s 894 single-family sales and 722 townhome sales were the best since January 2007.   While the year-over-year rise in January 2015 was less than that of December 2014, it’s otherwise the best since July 2013.

Not surprisingly, when compared to December 2014, the number of total sales decreased, as January is almost always a slow sales month.  Total sales declined by 34.9% month-over-month, slightly more than the historic average December-to-January drop of 26.3%. 

Bank-owned (REO) sales have continued to impact the Baltimore Metro area.  The 449 REO sales in January represented a profound 94.4% increase compared to last year.  The share of January sales that were REO was 25.1%, up from 15.3% a year earlier, and representing the highest proportion since March 2011.


New contracts rise for eighth straight month, highest January in nine years.  The number of new contracts increased 20.5% from January of 2014, for a total of 2,880.  New contracts have now risen year-over-year for eight consecutive months and January contracts are at the highest level since January 2006.  All property segments had more contracts signed this January than last, with single-family detached leading the way with a 23.1% increase, or 277 units.  The number of new contracts for townhomes grew by 20%, or 182 units compared to January 2014.  Contracts for condo properties increased 11.1% or 31 units.  The month-over-month increase in new contracts was 23.1%, very much in line with the 10-year average of 24.5%.


Overall January sales prices at highest level since 2010, but townhome prices struggle.  The median sale price in January in the Baltimore Metro area was $210,000, unchanged from a year earlier, though it should be noted that the $260,000 median for “non-distressed” sales (those not involving a short sale or foreclosures) was up 8.4%. This was the highest year-over-year percent increase for non-distressed sales since October 2010. Single-family detached sales led with a 7.6% increase ($20,250) over January 2014 and are now at $285,250.  Condo prices rose by 0.7% or $1,250 to a median price of $186,250, while townhomes declined by 15.9% or $25,500 to $134,450.  Single-family detached homes and condos are at the highest January level since 2010.   Townhomes are at the lowest January price level since 2011, although based on historic patterns are likely to rebound.

Both Baltimore County and Baltimore City had declines in the median sold price with increased volume.  Baltimore City saw a large 31% drop in median sale price from $100,000 to $69,000 and Baltimore County saw a 3.7% drop in median sales price from $195,000 to $187,750.  The substantial price decrease in Baltimore City was influenced heavily by the continuing increases in foreclosure activity – the 195 REO sales in January were up 105.3% and accounted for 38% of homes sold in the city (compared to only 23% of January 2014 sales). The median sales price for REO sales in Baltimore City was only $36,100, compared to $69,000 for non-distressed sales.

The highest increase in median sales price was in Howard County, which experienced a 13.6% increase to $375,000 at a nearly flat level of sales.  Anne Arundel County saw a 16.4% growth in the number of sales compared to January 2014 and had a 1.2% increase in median sales price to $297,500.  Carroll County had a 37% jump in the number of sales, but experienced a slight 0.2% decline in median sales price to $272,000.


Active listings, new listings, inventories and days-on-market all increase.  Active listings continue to rise and have now increased from the prior year for 16 consecutive months.  There were 11,533 active listings at the end of January, which is a 15.9% increase from last January.  Continuing a trend started in October 2013, all property segments have experienced year-over-year inventory growth.   For the third month in a row, condos had the highest percentage increase in the number of listings at 21.1% or 195 units.  Townhomes increased by 19.5%, or 634 listings, and single-family detached listings grew by 13% or 752 listings. 

There were also more new listings in January 2015 compared to January 2014, with an overall increase of 426 new listings, or 13.7%.  New listings for townhomes jumped by the largest percentage, at 17.2% or 198 units, followed by single-family detached which increased by 12.1% or 199 units, while condo listings grew by 8.2% or 28 units.  This is the 22nd consecutive month of year-over-year increases in new listings.

At 65 days, the median days-on-market (DOM) increased by 15 days over January 2014, but remains slightly below both the 5-year average of 67 and the 10-year average of 70 days.  The current median DOM is the highest overall since March 2012 when it was 88 days.  For single-family detached, DOM is the highest it has been since February 2013, while for townhomes, the previous highest median DOM was 70 in March 2012.  For condos, the previous highest DOM was in September 2012.

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 a nationally acclaimed economist and public speaker specializing in making the arcana and minutia of economics fun, relevant and educational. 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, formerly a Senior Economist with the National Association of Home Builders in Washington, D.C., is a frequent speaker on topics including: economic forecasts, economic impact of industries such as homebuilding and tourism, consequences of government regulation, strategic business development and other current economic issues. 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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