Baltimore Metro Prices Continue to Gain over Last Year’s Lows in March

Posted on April 10, 2012 by Corey Hart
10

Apr

2012

Year-over-Year Gains in Closed Sales and New Contracts

The following analysis of the Baltimore Metro Area housing market has been prepared by RealEstate Business Intelligence (RBI), and is based on the March 2012 RBI Pending Home Sales Index™ released today.

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OVERVIEW

The Baltimore Metro Area housing market continued to show signs of improvement in March, with a second consecutive month of year-over-year gains in median sale price and the level of new foreclosures listed less than half the level of one year ago. Townhome properties saw the largest year-over-year increase in pricing, while detached properties and condo/co-ops experienced more modest increases in median sale price. The $210,000 median sale price for the first quarter was 2.4% higher than Q1 2011. There is solid balance between supply and demand to end the month, with 6.6 months supply of inventory.

KEY TRENDS

Pricing

After bottoming out last March at $200,000, the median sale price in the Baltimore Metro Area increased 7.5% year-over-year to $215,000, the second consecutive month with an annual gain. With a median sale price of $160,000, townhome properties had the largest year-over-year increase at 15.7%. The median sale price for detached properties was up 1.5% to $272,400 while the median price for condo/co-op properties was down 2.8% to $170,000. The median sale price for foreclosures was $110,000, up 26.1% year-over-year; while the $235,000 level for traditional sales (those not involving a foreclosure or short sale) represented a 6.0% decline versus March 2011. The City of Baltimore saw a huge annual jump in median sales price, up 75.0% to $91,000 compared to $52,000 last March (the lowest monthly level since the 1990’s). Carroll County had the second largest year-over-year increase, up 15.2% to $255,000.

Closed Sales and New Contracts

There were 1,894 homes sold in the Baltimore Metro Area in March, 1.4% higher than the five-year March average and representing a 1.7% increase over March 2011. Half of the homes sold were on the market less than 88 days, a marked improvement compared to the 103 median days on market level for homes sold in March 2011.

The 1,019 detached properties sold in March were 11.7% higher than last March’s level, while the 875 attached properties sold represent a 7.9% year-over-year decline. Like February, this relative shift in the home type composition of the sold market may partially explain the year-over-year increase in median sale price, but the fact that both attached and detached property segments saw pricing gains indicate there is more to the story. Another positive pricing factor is the continuing decline in the share of sold properties that are foreclosures, the 264 foreclosure sales represent a 53.9% decrease compared to March 2011. The 1,434 traditional sales represent a 25.5% year-over-year increase, the highest annual improvement in this segment since May 2010. Foreclosed properties accounted for 13.9% of sold inventory, down significantly from the 30.8% level in March 2011.

The 3,098 new contracts signed in March represent an 8.4% increase over March 2011. New contracts for detached properties were up 17.7% year-over-year while new contracts on attached properties were actually down 1.6%. Carroll County and Anne Arundel County both experienced double digit increases, up 17.7% and 13.1% respectively. Harford County was the only jurisdiction in the region with a significant annual decline in contract activity, down 15.0% compared to March 2011.

Inventory

The 4,276 new listings added in March were 9.5% less than the March 2011 level. There is a relatively healthy balance between supply and demand, with 12,189 active listings representing 6.6 months of supply. The inventory level is down 24.3% year-over-year and is the lowest level for March since 2006.

The number of new foreclosures listed was 42.6% lower than the same period last year, while the number of new short sales listed was 7.3% lower than last year. The 406 active foreclosures to close the month represent a 63.9% decrease from March 2011 and account for only 3.3% of active inventory. In March 2011, foreclosures made up 7.0% of the active market. Should the number of new foreclosures continue to decline and sales activity continue on its current pace, it can be expected that the median sales price will continue to appreciate in the second quarter.

 

The RBI Pending Home Sales Index™ is a two-year moving window on the housing market using new pending sales (signed contracts) and median sales price (closed sales). 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 March 2012. The market area includes The City of Baltimore, Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County and Howard County in Maryland.

Baltimore Metro Area, market analysis, press release
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