Over 15% growth in both sales and contract activity in the Baltimore area in October

Posted on November 10, 2015 by Corey Hart



Median sales prices fall slightly, inventories down for second straight month

Rockville, MD – (November 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 October 2015 MRIS housing data.


The Baltimore Metro housing market experienced strong increases in sales and pending contracts, with both at decade-high levels and both also showing double-digit increases year-over-year.  Median sales prices declined slightly.  Inventory growth has declined for the second consecutive month, although buoyed up somewhat by the continuing rise in new listings. 

There were 2,965 closed sales in October, a one-unit increase from last month, but up 15.7% from October 2014.  The number of new contracts increased 15.5% from the prior year to 3,595.  The overall median October sales price of $235,000 was unchanged from last month, but down $4,000 or 1.7% from last year.  Compared to last year, the median sales price for single-family detached rose 0.6% to $299,900, townhome prices also rose 0.6% to $169,000, while condo prices slipped 0.7% to $197,500. Total sold dollar volume across the Baltimore Metro region in October was up 16.3% from last year to slightly more than $823 million.

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Compared to last year, inventories declined 2.3% to 13,961 total active listings, with the number of condos decreasing by 7.2% to 1,198, single-family detached listings decreasing by 4.4% to 8,047, while townhome listings increased by 2.9% to 4,716.  New listings increased by 6.0% overall to 4,798, with all property types increasing about 6% compared to last year.  Median days-on-market (DOM) are at 47, which is three days less than last year and two days more than last month.

In October 2015, there were 551 REO (foreclosure) and 88 short sales across the Baltimore Metro Region for a total of 639 bank-mediated transactions or 21.6% of all closed sales.  Regionally, the median sales price for foreclosures is $105,000, the median sales price for short sales is $176,000, while the median sales price for non-bank mediated transactions is $268,000, showing the continuing impact of the bank-mediated market on the overall median sales price.  A promising sign is that while the number of foreclosures was virtually the same as last month, the number of short sales declined from 126 to 88 and is at the second lowest number since March 2009.    


Best October in at least a decade, single-family detached and townhomes see double-digit growth.  With 2,965 closed sales, this was the highest October sales level in at least a decade and the fifteenth consecutive month with an increase in year-over-year closed sales.  Overall sales were up 15.7% compared to last year.  Townhomes showed the highest level of growth of 22.7% to 1,053 sales, single-family detached sales increased by 14.9% to 1,623 sales, while condo sales declined by a slight 1.0% to 289 sales.  September sales comfortably exceed the 5-year average of 2,274 and the 10-year average of 2,206.  Compared to last month, overall sales were flat, with single-family detached up 2.6%, townhomes up 1.8% and condos down 17.0%.  Across the entire metro area, the 30,243 year-to-date sales are up 20.9%, or more than 5,000 sales, compared to last year’s tally of 25,012 through October.  Across the region, all jurisdictions show increases in the number of sales for the month compared to last year and double-digit growth in year-to-date sales.  Harford County leads the region in sales growth for October (+37.1%) and year-to-date levels (+29.2%).


Record-setting level of new October contracts, all property classes show strong double-digit growth in pending sales.  Contract activity reached the highest October level on record, with 3,595 new contracts during the month.  The number of new contracts increased 15.5% compared to last year and also rose 2.9% compared to last month.  New contracts have now risen year-over-year for 17 consecutive months, and except for August’s slight decline in new condo contracts, all property segments have had more pending contracts than the prior year for the last 13 months.  New pending contracts exceeded the 5-year average of 2,838 and the 10-year average of 2,471.

The number of new contracts for single-family detached properties increased 18.2% to 1,941, while condos rose 14.1% to 380, and townhomes rose 12.0% to 1,274.  Compared to last month, all property types also saw increases, with pending sales of condos increasing by 10.1%, single-family detached rising by 3.1%, and townhomes increasing by 0.5%. 


Median sales prices down slightly year-over-year, unchanged from last month.  The median sales prices was $235,000, which was a slight 1.7% or $4,000 decline from last year, but unchanged from last month.  Compared to last year, single-family detached increased 0.6% to $299,900 and townhomes also rose 0.6% to $169,000, but condos dipped 0.7% to $197,500.  Compared to last month, single-family detached homes median sales prices were up 3.4%, while condo prices decreased by 3.7% and townhomes declined 3.4%.  Overall median sales prices are just slightly above the 5-year average of $232,230 but below the 10-year average of $241,555.  The regional year-to-date median sales price of $240,000 is 1.2% below last year’s comparable price.

Sales activity was universally up across the region but prices were mixed.  The median sales price in Howard County slipped 3.3% to $387,000 on 319 sales, a 13.1% increase compared to last month.  The median sales price in Anne Arundel County increased by 2.3% to $301,900 on 661 transactions, which was a 15.4% increase over the number of sales last year.  Carroll County saw a 0.9% increase in median sales price to $287,500 coupled with a 21.5% increase in the number of sales to 181.  The median sales price in Harford County rose 2.7% to $231,100 on 344 closed sales, which was an increase of 37.1%.  In Baltimore County, median sales price rose 1.4% to $214,900 with a 16.2% increase in the number of sales to 847.  Baltimore City’s median sales price rose a healthy 5.2% to $105,000 on 613 sales, which was a 6.1% increase over last year.  Baltimore City’s year-to-date median price of $110,000 is down 8.3% compared to the same stretch last year, the largest percent decline in the region.


Year-over-year active inventories decline for two months in a row, new listings rise to highest October level since 2007.  There were 13,961 properties on the market at the end of October, a decline of 2.3% compared to last year.  Inventory growth has declined for the past two months, seeming to indicate the end of a two-year growth cycle that began in October 2013 and reached a high point in September 2014 when inventories were up 24.6% year-over-year.  Compared to last year, the number of townhome listings increased by 2.9% to 4,716, but the number of single-family detached listings dropped 4.4% to 8,047 and the number of condo listings declined 7.2% to 1,198.  Compared to last month, active inventory is down by 2.7%, with single-family detached down 3.8%, condos down 3.5%, and townhomes down 0.5%.  Active inventory exceeds the 5-year average of 13,392 but is still well below the 10-year average of 15,758.  Active listings at the end of October are generally down slightly across the region except in Baltimore City, where active listings are up 1.5%. 

The number of new listings rose to 4,798, a 6.0% increase over last year, and the highest October level since 2007.  There have now been year-over-year increases in the number of new listings for 31 consecutive months, and the number of new listings easily exceeds both the 5-year average of 3,965 and the 10-year average of 4,200.  New listings for townhomes rose by 6.4% to 1,792, followed by condos which increased by 5.9% to 466 and single-family detached which increased 5.7% to 2,540.  The overall number of new listings is down by 3.1% compared to last month, with condos up 4.5%, townhomes down 2.9% and single-family detached down 4.4%.  The 49,540 new listings for the period January-October are up 8.3% compared to the same period last year. 

At 47 days, the median days-on-market (DOM) improved by three days compared to last year but is up two days from last month.  Median days-on-market remains comfortably lower than the 5-year October average of 52 days and well below the 10-year average of 60 days.  Townhomes move most quickly, with a median DOM of 42 days, while condos have a median DOM of 49 and single-family detached have a median DOM of 51.  Properties in Baltimore County have the lowest median DOM of 36 (down from 43 days last year), while those in Carroll County are the highest at 60 days (down from 64 last year).



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
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