Low inventories, higher prices to close 2017 in Baltimore area housing market

Posted on January 10, 2018 by Corey Hart



Baltimore Metro ends 2017 with a new December record median sales price of $250,000; Inventories are at lowest level since August 2005.

Rockville, MD – (January 10, 2018) – The following analysis of the Baltimore Metro Area housing market has been prepared by Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D. of MarketStats by ShowingTime and is based on December 2017 Bright MLS housing data.

Click here to view PDF version of this report


  • The Baltimore Metro area median sales price of $250,000 was up 2.0 % or $5,000 from last year but down 1.6% or $4,000 compared to last month. For the calendar year ending December 2017, the overall median sales price was up 3.6% to $259,000.
  • Closed sales of 3,062 were down 4.2% compared to last year but were up 2.0% from last month.
  • New contract activity of 2,637 was up 0.3% from last year but down 18.4% from last month.
  • There were 2,470 new listings, down 6.8% from last year and down 31.2% from last month.
  • Active listings declined by 12.4% to 8,406, the 28th consecutive month of declining year-over-year inventory levels and the lowest overall monthly level in more than a decade.  The last time inventory levels were lower was in August 2005.
  • The average percentage of original list price received at sale in December was 94.9%, up from last year’s 94.8%.  This is the highest December level of the last ten years.
  • The median days-on-market was 36 days, down six days compared to last year and up four from last month.


  • The December overall regional median sales price of $250,000 is up 2.0% or $5,000 from last year, but is down 1.6% or $4,000 from last month.  This is the highest December price of the decade.
  • Compared to last year, condo prices were up 6.9% to $216,000 and single-family detached prices were up 5.0% to $315,000.  Townhome prices were flat at $185,000.  
  • Prices are above the 5-year average of $238,815 and the 10-year average of $235,198.
  • December prices are 13.7% above the 2011 low of $219,900.
  • Howard County continues to be the most expensive area in the region, with a December median sales price of $410,000, a 3.1% increase compared to last year.
  • Baltimore City remains the most affordable area in the region, with a December median sales price of $113,000, down 9.6% from last year.  Baltimore City and Carroll County (-7.3% to $278,000) are the only jurisdictions in the region to show a December decline.
  • Harford County saw the largest December percentage increase in prices, up 15.3% to $265,000.
  • For the entire year, the overall regional median sales price has increased 3.6% to $259,000 and all jurisdictions saw positive price growth over the prior year.


  • There were 3,062 closed sales in December, down 4.2% compared to last year but up 2.0% compared to last month.  
  • Compared to last year, townhome sales were up 6.2% to 1,193.  Condo sales were down 8.4% to 296 and single-family detached sales were down 10.1% to 1,573. 
  • December sales were well above the 5-year average of 2,841 and the 10-year average of 2,303.
  • December sales were nearly double the 2008 low of 1,544.
  • Only Baltimore City (+11.0% to 805) and Harford County (+1.7% to 305) saw increases in closed sales compared to last year.  Howard County saw the largest percentage decrease in closed sales (-27.3% to 277).
  • For all of 2017, closed sales across the region were up 2.8% to 40,672.


  • There were 2,637 new pending sales in December, up a slight 0.3% compared to last year but down 18.4% compared to last month. 
  • The number of new pending townhome sales increased 11.3% to 1,115 and pending condo sales rose 5.6% to 285.  New pending sales of single-family detached saw the second consecutive month of declines, dropping 8.9% to 1,237.
  • Pending contracts are above the 5-year average of 2,435 and the 10-year average of 1,992.
  • The number of new pending contracts in December was 129.1% more than the 10-year market low seen in December 2008 of 1,151, but it was 3.5% below the December 2015 high of 2,732.
  • Baltimore City saw the largest increase in new pending sales, up 8.7% to 777 and Howard County saw the largest decrease, down 8.8% to 268.


  • There were 2,470 new listings added in December, down 6.8% from last year.  New listings were down a seasonal 31.2% compared to last month.  
  • While new townhome listings rose 3.7% to 1,074, new single-family detached listings decreased 10.2% to 1,209 and new condo listings plummeted 30.2% to 187.
  • New listings are just below the 5-year average of 2,523 but above the 10-year average of 2,368.
  • The number of new listings in December was up 35.9% compared to the 2012 market low of 1,818, but was 10.4% below the December 2015 high of 2,758.
  • Across the region, the largest percentage increase in new listings was in Harford County, (+5.3% to 217).  Baltimore City also saw an increase (+3.9% to 765).  The largest percentage decrease in the number of new listings was in Howard County, where they declined 18.5% to 212.
  • Across the region, there were a total of 56,779 new listings in 2017, a 0.7% increase over 2016.


  • Inventories dropped by 12.4% compared to last year to 8,406, and were down 13.4% from last month.   Overall inventory levels have declined for 28 consecutive months (with 18 consecutive months of double-digit declines), and are at the lowest monthly level since August of 2005. 
  • Condo inventories were down 18.0% to 734, single-family detached inventories were down 14.2% to 4,538 and townhome inventories were down 8.2% to 3,134.
  • Inventories are well below both the 5-yr average of 10,397 and the 10-yr average of 12,345.
  • December inventories are less than half the 17,526 seen in 2008 and are 12.4% below last December’s previous low of 9,599.
  • All jurisdictions in the region showed declines in active listings during December, with the smallest percentage decline of 5.4% in Baltimore City to 2,657 active listings, and the largest percentage decline of 21.8% in Carroll County to 483 active listings.


  • The average sales price to original listing price ratio (SP to OLP ratio) for December was 94.9%, up from last year’s 94.8%, but down slightly from last month’s 95.0%.  This was the highest December level in a decade.
  • Townhomes have a SP to OLP ratio of 95.3%, condos have a SP to OLP ratio of 95.2%, and single-family detached homes have a SP to OLP ratio of 94.5%.
  • The December SP to OLP ratio is well above both the 5-year average of 93.4% and the 10-year average of 91.5%.
  • Over the last decade, the lowest December average sales price to original listing price ratio was in 2010, when it was 87.9%, and the previous high was last December when it was 94.8%.
  • Homes in Howard County sold at 96.7% of their original listing price in December, the highest in the region.  It was down just slightly from last year’s 96.9%.
  • The lowest SP to OLP ratio is in Baltimore City, where it was 93.3%, the same as last year.
  • For all of 2017, the regional SP to OLP ratio was 97.3%, up from 2016’s 96.8%.


  • The median days-on-market (DOM) in December in the Baltimore Metro region was 36 days, down six days from last year but up four days from last month. This is the lowest December DOM of the last decade.
  • Townhomes have a median DOM of 29, condos have a median DOM of 36, and single-family detached have a median DOM of 42.
  • December’s median DOM of 36 days is well below both the 5-year average of 46 days and the 10-year average of 60 days.
  • December’s median DOM of 36 days was about one-third of the peak DOM of 100 days in December 2008 and was six days less than the previous low of 42 days from last December.
  • Anne Arundel County had the highest median DOM of 45 days, up from 40 days last year.
  • Baltimore City had the lowest median DOM in the region of 29 days, down significantly from 46 days last year.
  • For all of 2017, the regional median DOM was 29 days, down from the 37 days seen in 2016.


About the Baltimore 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 ShowingTime’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. Data provided by MarketStats by ShowingTime, based on listing activity from Bright MLS.

About Bright MLS

The Bright MLS real estate service area spans 40,000 square miles throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, including Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, D.C. and West Virginia. As a leading Multiple Listing Service (MLS), Bright serves approximately 85,000 real estate professionals who in turn serve over 20 million consumers. For more information, please visit www.brightmls.com.

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
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