Home sales and contracts up more than 20 percent in the Baltimore region

Posted on March 10, 2015 by Corey Hart



21% gains in closed sales, 25% jump in February contract activity compared to 2014; Prices remain flat

Rockville, MD – (March 10, 2015) – The following analysis of the Baltimore Metro Area housing market has been prepared by Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D. of RealEstate Business Intelligence (RBI) and is based on February 2015 MRIS housing data.


The Baltimore Metro housing market saw large increases in sales, new contracts and inventories compared to February 2014, but a slight decline in prices.  Closed sales of 1,861 increased by 21.1% from February 2014.  Single-family detached median prices dipped -0.9% to $275,000 and townhomes experienced a 14.3% decline in median price to $150,000, while condos rose 0.1% to $185,000.  However, the median price for a non-bank-mediated home increased $5,000 to $260,000.

Click here to view PDF version of this report

Inventories of 11,198 are up 10.8% compared to February 2014, with townhomes and condos experiencing year-over-year double-digit growth.  Inventories remain below the five-year trend for this time of year.  New listings are up 11.2% to 3,566.  Median days on market have inched up to 67, increasing by 6 days compared to February 2014, but remain below historical averages.  The number of new contracts increased 24.6% to 3,038 from February 2014, to their highest February level since 2006.

Regarding bank mediated activity, short sales continue to consistently decline by all measures, while REO remains an outsized and generally growing percentage of activity.  In the Baltimore Metro area, one in four new contracts are for REO and nearly that same percentage of closed sales, propping up Baltimore's big sales spikes and adversely impacting overall prices.


Year-over-year sales continue to increase, best February since 2007.  Continuing a trend that began in early 2012, closed sales once again increased in February, with a year-over-year rise of 21.1% or 324 sales.  There were a total of 1,861 sales, the highest February since 2007.  As was the case in the last quarter of 2014, all categories had sales increases, led by single-family detached which increased by 23.3% or 183 units.  Townhomes increased by 20.1% or 115 units, and condos grew by 14.4% or 26 units.  The double-digit jump in monthly sales is on par with a level last seen in February 2006-2008. 

The 443 REO sales in February represent an 85.4% increase compared to last year and are approaching levels last seen in early 2011.  The number of short sales continues to decline and has fallen to double-digits for first time in almost 6 years.


New contracts rise for ninth straight month, highest February in nine years.  The number of new contracts increased 24.6% from February of 2014, for a total of 3,038.  New contracts have now risen year-over-year for nine consecutive months and February contracts are at the highest level since February 2006.  For the fifth month in row, all property segments had more contracts than the prior year, with single-family detached leading the way with a 27.6% increase, or 347 units.  The number of new contracts for townhomes grew by 26.2%, or 234 units compared to February 2014.  Contracts for condo properties increased 6.2% or 18 units.  The month-over-month increase in new contracts was 5.5%, slightly below the 5-year average of 7.4%.


Overall February sales prices mildly down compared to 2014, but townhome prices continue to struggle.  The median sales price in February in the Baltimore Metro area was $225,000, down slightly ($2,000) from a year earlier, though it should be noted that the $260,000 median for “non-distressed” sales (those not involving a short sale or foreclosures) was unchanged from the prior month. In year-over-year pricing, condo sales led with a .1% increase to $185,000.  Single-family detached sales price declined slightly by 2.1% to $275,000 and townhomes declined by a significant 14.3% or $25,000 to $150,000.

Baltimore County saw a 2.3% increase in median sales price from $195,000 to $199,500 with a 28% increase in volume to 539 units, while Baltimore City saw a significant 20.9% decline in the median sold price from $104,000 to $82,250 with a 24.5% increase in volume to 462 sales.  The Baltimore City market continues to be heavily influenced by foreclosure activity – the 155 REO sales in February were up were up 64.9% compared to February 2014, and accounted for one-third of all homes sold in the city.  The median sales price for REO sales in Baltimore City was only $44,000, compared to $160,000 for non-distressed sales.

Howard County continues to have the highest median price at $350,000, which is up 3% from February 2014 and also saw an 18.9% increase in the number of sales to 195.  The largest increase in median sales price was in Harford County, which experienced a 4.2% increase to $226,000, coupled with a 24.2% increase in volume over the prior February.  Anne Arundel County saw an 8.9% increase in the number of sales compared to February 2014, but saw a 3.5% decrease in median sale price to $287,800.  Carroll County had a 24.7% jump in the number of sales, but experienced a 4.7% decline in median sales price to $264,000. 


Active listings, new listings and days-on-market all increase.  Active listings continue to rise and have now increased from the prior year for 17 consecutive months.  There were 11,198 active listings at the end of February, which is a 10.8% increase from last February.  Continuing a trend started in March 2014, all property segments have again experienced year-over-year inventory growth.   For the fourth month in a row, condos had the highest percentage increase in the number of listings at 15.3% or 149 units.  Townhomes increased by 12.8%, or 424 listings, and single-family detached listings grew by 8.9% or 519 listings. 

There were also more new listings in February 2015 compared to February 2014, with an overall increase of 358 new listings, or 11.2%.  New listings for single-family detached jumped by the largest percentage, at 13.6% or 226 units, followed by townhomes which increased by 9.6% or 113 units, while condo listings grew by 5.5% or 20 units.  This is the 23rd consecutive month of year-over-year increases in new listings.

At 67 days, the median days-on-market (DOM) increased by 6 days over February 2014, but remains below both the 5-year average of 75 and the 10-year average of 78 days.  The current median DOM is the highest overall since March 2012 when it was 88 days.  For single-family detached, DOM is the highest it has been since February 2013, while for townhomes and condos, the previous highest median DOM was in March 2012. 




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 Baltimore Metro Area housing market includes the City of Baltimore, Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County and Howard County in Maryland.

About RealEstate Business Intelligence, LLC

RealEstate Business Intelligence, LLC (RBI) is a primary source of real estate data, analytics and business intelligence for real estate professionals in the Mid-Atlantic Region. Monthly reports for all jurisdictions in the MRIS region, along with interactive charts and graphics, can be found at http://www.getsmartcharts.com/statistics. RBI is the only company in the Mid-Atlantic region that provides timely, online access to statistical information directly from the MRIS MLS.

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 www.econ70.com.

baltimore metro, market analysis, press release
Comments: 0  |  Back to rbiBLOG

RBI Sign In

Forgot password? Click here...