Baltimore area sees third consecutive month with double-digit sales declines in January

Posted on February 12, 2019 by Corey Hart



Baltimore Metro median sales price of $249,900 at new January record; Inventories rise but remain near record lows

Rockville, MD – (February 12, 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 January 2019 Bright MLS housing data.

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  • The Baltimore Metro area median sales price rose 4.6% to $249,900 compared to last year, the highest January price level of the decade and the largest year-over-year gain since last September.  The Baltimore Metro market has experienced nearly three years of continuing price appreciation.
  • Sales volume of more than $560 million was down 7.5% from last year.
  • This was the fifth consecutive month of declining year-over-year closed sales.  At 1,948, sales were down 11.9% compared to last year.
  • New pending sales compared to last year were nearly flat at 3,138.
  • New listings increased by 7.3% compared to last year to 3,683 and were at the highest January level of the decade.
  • The 8,089 active listings at the end of January were up 3.7% from last year, the fourth month in a row that inventory levels have increased and the second month in a row that inventory gains have been approaching 4%.  However, inventory levels remain well below the 5- and 10-year averages.
  • The average percentage of original list price received at sale in January was 94.4%, a slight dip from last year’s 94.6% and last month’s 94.8%.


  • January’s overall regional median sales price of $249,900 is up 4.6% or $10,900 from last year but was down 2.0% or $5,100 from last month. This was the highest January price of the decade.
  • Townhome prices were up 9.0% to $179,900. Condo prices were up 3.1% to $200,000 and single-family detached home prices were up 2.6% to $320,250.
  • Prices remain well above the 5-year average of $230,770 and the 10-year average of $220,847.
  • Prices are 19.9% above the January 2012 low of $208,370.
  • Howard County continues to have the highest prices in the region, with a January median sales price of $360,000, a 0.7% increase over last year’s $357,500.
  • Baltimore City remains the most affordable area, with a January median sales price of $114,000, although prices were up a significant 28.1% from last January’s $89,000.  This was, by far, the largest increase in the region, both by dollar and percentage. 
  • Carroll County was the only jurisdiction in the region where prices declined, down 1.4% to $315,000.  Elsewhere, Baltimore County (+6.7% to $239,990), Harford County (+6.0% to $240,000), and Anne Arundel County (+3.1% to $334,990) all had gains in prices.


  • January’s closed sales of 1,948 were down a significant 11.9% compared to last year and were down 18.9% from last month.  This was the fifth consecutive month of declining year-over-year closed sales and the third consecutive month of double-digit declines.
  • Sales of all property types were down compared to last year, with townhome sales down 8.6% to 803, single-family detached sales down 11.4% to 944, and condo sales down 24.7% to 201. 
  • January sales are below the 5-year average of 2,043 but remain above the 10-year average of 1,721.
  • January sales were 60.6% more than the trough of 1,213 seen in January 2010.
  • All areas in the region saw significant decreases in closed sales, with the smallest percentage decline in Harford County (-9.1% to 191), followed by Carroll County (-9.2% to 109), Baltimore City (-10.2% to 520), Anne Arundel (-10.6% to 396) and Baltimore County (-11.2% to 557).  Howard County (-24.6% to 175) had the largest percentage decline in sales compared to last year.


  • There were 3,138 new pending sales in January, down a slight 0.4% compared to last year but up a seasonal 26.2% compared to last month.  This is the seventh consecutive month of declining year-over-year pending sales.
  • Pending sales of single-family detached homes were up 1.9% to 1,586, but townhome pending sales were down 1.0% to 1,259 and condo pending sales declined 9.3% to 293.
  • Pending contracts are above the 5-year average of 3,031 and the 10-year average of 2,567.
  • The number of new pending contracts in January was almost double the 10-year market low of 1,632 seen in January 2010 and was 1.8% below the January 2017 peak of 3,197.
  • Baltimore County saw the largest gains in new pending sales (+8.6% to 924), followed by Harford County (+3.0% to 305) and Carroll County (+1.2% to 165).  Anne Arundel (-3.9% to 683), Baltimore City (-4.9% to 776) and Howard County (-9.2% to 285) all saw declines in new pending sales.


  • January’s new listings of 3,683 were up 7.3% compared to last year and were up a seasonal 43.9% compared to last month.  This was the highest level of January listings of the decade.
  • New single-family detached listings increased 8.6% to 1,813, new townhome listings were up 6.4% to 1,520, and new condo listings increased 3.6% to 348.
  • New listings exceed the 5-year average of 3,517 and the 10-year average of 3,333.
  • The number of new January listings exceeded the 2012 market low of 2,833 by 30.0%.
  • New listing activity across the region was mostly up, with the largest percentage gain in Carroll County (+39.5% to 219).  Also showing gains were Baltimore City (+10.7 to 1,074), Harford County (+7.5% to 343), Baltimore County (+4.3% to 946) and Anne Arundel County (+3.1% to 788).  Howard County saw a 1.0% decline to 313 new listings.


  • The 8,089 active listings at the end of January were up 3.7% from last year but were down 7.4% from last month.
  • Compared to last year, single-family detached inventories were up 6.5% to 4,409 while condo inventories were up a slight 1.0% to 698.  Townhome inventories were nearly flat at 2,971.
  • Inventories remain well below both the 5-yr average of 9,502 and the 10-yr average of 10,996.
  • January inventories are 49.0% below the peak level of 15,852 seen in 2011.  Last year’s 7,804 is the lowest January inventory level of the decade.
  • Inventory levels rose everywhere except in Harford County, where they declined by 12.0% to 624.  Carroll County saw the largest percentage gain in active inventories (+11.5% to 465), followed by Anne Arundel (+9.3% to 1,903), Howard County (+5.5% to 619), Baltimore City (+4.3% to 2,666), and Baltimore County (+1.1% to 1,812).


  • The average sales price to original listing price ratio (SP to OLP ratio) for January was 94.4%, down from both last year’s 94.6%, and last month’s 94.8%. 
  • Condos have a SP to OLP ratio of 95.2%, while single-family detached homes have a SP to OLP ratio of 94.4% and townhomes have a SP to OLP ratio of 94.2%.
  • This January’s SP to OLP ratio remains well above both the 5-year average of 93.3% and the 10-year average of 91.6%.
  • Over the last decade, the lowest January average sales price to original listing price ratio was in 2011 when it was 87.6%, and the high was last January’s 94.6%.
  • Harford and Anne Arundel counties both had SP to OLP ratios of 95.5%.  Harford saw an increase from 94.6% from last year while Anne Arundel was unchanged.
  • The lowest SP to OLP ratio was in Baltimore City, where it was 91.4%, down just slightly from last year’s 91.9%. 


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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