Baltimore Metro Area - Seasonal Increase in Signed Contracts in May

Posted on June 10, 2011 by Corey Hart



May Pending Sales Show Seasonal 0.7% Rise From April; 53.7% Year-Over-Year Surge Reflects Last Year’s Lull After Tax Credit Deadline. Median Sales Price Rises Higher At Second Slowest Rate Year-To-Date In Decade

Rockville, MD (June 10, 2011) – The following analysis of the Baltimore Metro Area housing market has been prepared by housing market expert Jonathan Miller of Miller Samuel, based on the May 2011 RBI Pending Home Sales Index™ released today:


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Buyers and sellers signed 2,731 contracts in the month of May, 0.7% more than in April and 53.7% more than during the same month last year.  The month-over-month increase in newly signed contracts was consistent with seasonal trends but the year-over-year spike was an anomaly as a result of last year’s 48.7% April to May drop in pending sales after the April 30 federal homebuyers tax credit-related contract signing deadline expired.  While the median sales price increased 3.2% to $221,950 in May 2011 from the prior month, it remained 5.1% below the median sales price of $234,000 in the same month last year.  Median sales has edged 5.7% higher since January, the second lowest rate of increase in a decade.




  • There were more new contracts than the previous month, the 4th highest total in nearly 4 years. New pending sales totaled 2,731 in May 2011, up 0.7% from 2,712 in April 2011 and surged 53.7% above the May 2010 total of 1,777.  The year-over-year spike in activity overstates the gains in the market since pending sales fell 48.7% from April to May 2010 after the April contract signing deadline for the federal homebuyer tax credit expired.
  • Median sales price edged higher but at second slowest year-to-date rate in a decade.  The Baltimore metro median sales price for May 2011 was $221,950, 3.2% higher than $215,000 in April 2011 and the second consecutive monthly increase in 2011.  Median sales price was 5.1% below $234,000 in the same month last year.  While prices edged 5.7% from January to May, consistent with seasonal trends, the year-to-date rate of increase was the second lowest of the decade over the same period.
  • Active inventory edged higher but new inventory entering the market slipped.   There were 17,104 active listings in May 2011, 3.2% more than the 16,732 total in April 2011 but 3.4% less than the 17,706 total in the same month last year.  The May total in 2010 was elevated as additional sellers entered the market to take advantage of surge in sales as a result of the federal homebuyer tax credit.  New inventory added to active inventory fell 1.2% to 4,534 from 4,587 in April but was 8.1% above 4,193 in the same month last year.  The ratio of new to active listings has fallen for the past two months settling at 26.5% in May, less than half the 56.1% ratio for May over the last decade.  Although active inventory remains about 39% above the 12,289 ten year average, new inventory entering the market in May remained relatively stable over the past two years.
  • The number of days to sell a property was two weeks faster in May than April.  The average number of days from original list date to contract date for properties that closed in May 2011 was 119 days, two weeks faster than the 133 day average in April 2011 but 14 days slower than the same month last year.  The near term reduction in this metric reflects the rising trend in contract activity since the beginning of the year.  This pattern was consistent with the decline in listing discount to 9.1% from the prior month result of 11.1%.  The listing discount is the difference between the original list price and the contract price of a sale that closed in May.
  • The modest changes in pending sales and active inventory kept the absorption rate stable. The monthly absorption rate is the number of months to sell all active inventory at the current pace of new pending sales.  The monthly absorption rate for May 2011 was 6.3 months, nominally above the 6.2 rate in April 2011 but sharply below the 10 month rate in the same month last year.  However, the year-over-year rate was skewed higher due to the sharp drop in the number of pending sales related to last year’s federal homebuyers tax credit.  The current rate remains well above the 4.4 month average rate of the prior decade.




The RBI Pending Home Sales Index™ is a two-year moving window on the housing market using new pending sales and median sales price. It provides unique insight into the state of the current housing market by measuring the number of new pending sales for each month through the most recent month.The results include new pending sales through and including May 2011.  The market area includes: Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, and Howard County.


Miller is President and CEO of Miller Samuel Inc., a nationally known real estate appraisal and consulting firm. A well-regarded real estate commentator, who frequently appears in national media outlets including the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Bloomberg News and others covering national and regional housing issues.  He has been named “Best Online Real Estate Expert" by Money Magazine and his stringent focus on neutrality has contributed to his recognition by Inman News as one of the most influential real estate bloggers in the U.S.  More information on Mr. Miller and Miller Samuel can be found at or follow him on Twitter @jonathanmiller.


RealEstate Business Intelligence, LLC (RBI)is a wholly owned subsidiary of MRIS. RBI is a primary source of real estate data, analytics and business intelligence for real estate professionals with business interests in the Mid-Atlantic region.  The full monthly data report for all jurisdictions in the MRIS region, along with 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 Multiple Listing Service (MLS).  Visit or follow @coreyrbi on Twitter to learn more.  

Baltimore Metro Area, press release
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