Baltimore Metro Pending Home Sales Surge in January - Revised 2-22-11

Posted on February 10, 2011 by Corey Hart



Rockville, MD (February 22, 2011) – Revised data released by RealEstate Business Intelligence (RBI), an MRIS company, the Baltimore metro area housing market began 2011 with a significant increase in the number of pending sales. To track the local housing market and provide a relevant look at the start of the year, the RBI Pending Home Sales Index™ [Baltimore Metro Area] offers a two-year moving window on the housing market using pending sales and median sales price.  The results include pending sales through and including January 2011.  The market area includes: Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, and Howard County.


“The RBI Pending Home Sales Index™ provides unique insight into the state of the current housing market by measuring the number of signed contracts through the most recent month, the only metric currently available that does this,” says noted real estate expert and RBI/MRIS analyst Jonathan Miller.  “The median sales price, which has an advantage over average sales price because it removes outliers, is provided to show the relationship between signed contract activity and prices.”

Based on the figures released by RBI, Miller breaks down five indicators in the Baltimore metro area. 

According to Miller there are three areas of concern in the metrics:

  • While active inventory increased over the past year, new inventory declined.  There were 15,883 active listings on the market at the end of January 2011, 5.4% more than the same month last year. Meanwhile, new inventory added to the market fell 11.4% to 3,193 over the same period.  Active inventory is 6.4% below the 16,965 monthly average of the past five years. 
  • It took longer to sell a home in January 2011 than in January 2010.  The average days on market for a home that sold in January 2011 was 122 days, nearly two weeks longer than the same period last year, and consistent with the rise in active inventory.  As a result of longer marketing times, the listing discount—the difference between list price and sold price—edged higher to 4.1% from 3.5% over the same period as sellers became more negotiable from increased competition.
  • Median sales price slipped below the same period last year.  The median sales price of a Baltimore metro area home was $211,000, down 2.8% from the same period last year.  Based on closed sales, the median sales price indicator peak in 2010 occurred in June and July at $250,000, as a result of an influx of pending sales activity in April 2010, just before the expiration of the federal homebuyer tax credit.

In contrast, Miller points out two favorable trends for buyers and sellers:

  • Pending sales increased as the tax credit expiration influence exits the current market.  The number of signed contracts increased 17% from December 2010 to 1,993 in January 2011, the largest monthly total since April 2010 when the federal homebuyers tax credit expired.  Compared to the same month in 2010, there was a 22.1% increase in January 2011 pending sales, the largest increase in a decade.
  • The surge in pending sales outweighed the increase in active inventory.  The monthly absorption rate – how long it takes the inventory of homes on the market to sell – dropped to 8 months in January 2011 from 9.2 months in January 2010, and from 12.7 months in January 2009.

“The Baltimore metro area housing market continues to face challenges of tight credit and elevated unemployment, yet pending home sales increased in January 2011 to their highest level since the expiration of the federal homebuyers tax credit in April 2010,” said Miller.  “However, we continued to see rising inventory levels and longer marketing times place slight downward pressure on housing prices at the start of 2011.”

The full monthly data report for all jurisdictions in the MRIS region, 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).


Miller is available for comment on this month’s RBI data as well the RBI Pending Home Sales Index™.  Interview requests can be sent to Anne Hague at 301-838-7100 or

Baltimore Metro Area, market analysis, press release
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