Baltimore Metro Sales and Prices Flatten in February

Posted on March 11, 2013 by Corey Hart
11

Mar

2013

After several months of growth - sales, new contracts, and median prices flatten; Low inventory continues, active listings down 2,500 from last year

OVERVIEW

After several months of strong year-over-year growth, sales and new contracts in the Baltimore Metro Region have slowed, and are essentially unchanged from a year ago. While this could indicate softening demand, it is still too early to distinguish a pattern. At a more granular level, single-family homes brought down the growth rate for the market as a whole because they make up more than half of the region’s sales and new contract in any given month. Sales and new contracts on single-family homes dropped from this time last year, while condos and townhomes experienced growth or remained steady. Despite the slowed sales, the median sale price remained stable, which is likely a result of the low inventory of homes for sale. Active listings are down about 2,500 from a year ago. New listings had been trending upward but have now slowed. It is likely that economic uncertainty and looming job uncertainty continue to dampen the housing market in the region despite the pent up demand that has been building.

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CLOSED SALES

Sales flat from this time last year and decline for single-family homes, first time in over a year. There were 1,451 sales in February in the region, virtually unchanged from a year ago (down 3 sales, or 0.2 percent). This is the first time year-over-year growth in sales has not occurred since January 2012. Furthermore, sales declined 5.7 percent from last month, well below the 10-year average January-to-February change of +6.4 percent. The stagnation of net sales is being driven by single-family detached properties, which fell 4.4 percent from last year and account for over half of the region’s total sales. Condos and townhomes had year-over-year sales growth, up 6.6 and 4.1 percent respectively. While the sluggish sales could signal weakening demand, it is still too early to distinguish a pattern, as the region is coming off four consecutive months of double-digit year-over-year sales growth.

PRICES

Median sales price flat for the metro region as a whole, though only 1 of 6 jurisdictions saw decrease. At $211,000, the median sales price in the Baltimore Metro Region is essentially unchanged from February 2012, rising only 0.5 percent, a gain of $1,000. This is the second straight month of flat prices for the region relative to last year. The low inventory of homes for sale is likely keeping prices stable even as sales slow down in many areas. Condos led all property segments in year-over-year price growth, up 5.7 percent from February 2012, a gain of $10,000. The median sales price for townhomes rose 4.5 percent from this time last year, a gain of nearly $7,000. Single-family home prices rose 2.9 percent, a gain of about $7,500. With the exception of Baltimore City, median sales prices increased in all jurisdictions relative to last year. Harford County led in price growth, up 13.3 percent from last February, a gain of $27,000. The median sale price in Baltimore City declined 21.3 percent to $88,500, a drop of $25,000 from February 2012.

NEW CONTRACTS

Mirror image of sales activity, new contracts are flat from last year, decline for single-family homes.  As with sales, new pending contracts are virtually unchanged from this time last year in the Baltimore Metro Region. There were 2,482 new contracts signed in February, down 7 contracts (0.3 percent) from last year. This is the first time year-over-year growth in new contracts has not occurred since January 2012. New contracts on single-family homes fell 3.0 percent from this time last year, the only property segment to decline. New contracts on townhomes remained flat, rising by just 1 contract from last February. Condos led all property segments up 13.3 percent from this time last year, but only account for 11 percent of all new contracts in the region.

INVENTORY

Active listings remain at multi-year lows; recent growth in new listings tapers off relative to last year.  There were 9,411 active listings at the end of February in the Baltimore Metro Region, a drop of over 2,500 listings from the previous year. The inventory shortage continues to impact all property segments, with active listings down around 20 percent across the board relative to last year. There were 3,136 new listings entered in February, down 3.3 percent from last February. This is the sharpest year-over-year decline in seven months. However, there was an increase of over 100 new listings from last month, a 4.2 percent increase, which is above the 10-year average change of -2.9 percent. The overall inventory remains very low, and continues to drive down the median days on market relative to last year, which at 63 days is 25 days lower than February 2012. The average sale-to-list price ratio continues to climb and is now 91.7 percent, up from 88.1 percent a year ago.

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 bulk of this report’s content is readily available, down to the ZIP code level of granularity, via interactive charts and reports offered via rbiEXPERT, a premium subscription service offered to real estate professionals interested in growing their business with the help of industry-leading and user-friendly analytics. 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.

Baltimore Metro Area, market analysis, press release
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