RBI Pending Home Sales Index Baltimore Metro Area Reports 25.1 Percent Rise in Contracts Year-Over-Year as Prices Fall

Posted on March 10, 2011 by Corey Hart



Rockville, MD (March 10, 2011) – According to data released today by RealEstate Business Intelligence (RBI), an MRIS company, the Baltimore metro area housing market showed gains in pending home sales in the first two months of 2011, reaching its highest level since April 2010 when the federal homebuyer’s tax credit expired.  However, housing prices have declined to levels last seen in 2004.


“Pending home sales increased 25.1 percent year-over-year in a manner consistent with seasonal expectations year to date in 2011,” says noted housing market expert and RBI analyst Jonathan Miller.  However, median sales price in February fell 9.5 percent from the same month last year.  The economic challenges of tight credit and above average unemployment levels continue to press housing prices lower.”


To track the local housing market, the RBI Pending Home Sales IndexTM [Baltimore Metro Area]offers a two-year moving window on the housing market using pending sales and median sold price.  The results include new pending sales for each month through and including February 2011.  The market area includes: Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, and Howard County.

“The RBI Pending Home Sales IndexTM provides unique insight into the state of the current housing market by measuring the number of signed contracts through the most recent month, the only metric currently available that does this,” says Miller.  “The median sales price, which has an advantage over average sales price because it removes outliers, is provided to show the relationship between signed contract activity and prices.”

Based on the figures released by RBI, Miller describes the interaction between the market indicators in the Baltimore metro area for February:

  • Pending sales rise, consistent with seasonal expectations for February.  Buyers and sellers reached a “meeting of the minds” (signed a contract) 2,146 times in February, 4.9 percent more than January and 25.1 percent more than the same period last year.  The number of signed contracts is at its highest level since last April but activity is not improving beyond what would be expected at this time of the year.
  • Median sales price fell to their lowest level since 2004.  The median sales price of home in the region fell 9.5 percent to $205,350 in February from $227,000 in the same period last year as economic challenges remain in the region.  The last time median sales price reached a level lower than the February result was in April 2004 with a $193,000 median sales price.  Prices are 17.9 percent below the most recent peak of $250,000 last July but price levels last summer were skewed higher by the additional demand fueled by the federal homebuyer’s tax credit.
  • Buyers had more properties to choose from as active inventory expanded modestly over the year.  There were 15,689 active listings in February, 4.8 percent more than the same period last year.  The pace of new listings being added to the market picked up, rising 8.2 percent year-over-year to 3,150.  However the rise in pending sales activity increased faster than the growth in active inventory.  The monthly absorption rate—the number of months to sell all active listings at the pace of new pending sales—has declined since continuously since September 2010.
  • With the rise in inventory, properties are taking longer to sell and listing discounts are rising.  Days on market averaged 132 days in February expanding by nearly 2 weeks from the same period last year and reaching its highest level in nearly two years.  Listing discount—the percentage difference between the original list price and sales price—expanded to 11.5 percent from 10.4 percent year-over-year.

The full monthly data report for all jurisdictions in the MRIS region, along with charts and graphics, can be found at www.rbintel.com/statistics.  RBI is the only company in the Mid-Atlantic region that provides timely, online access to statistical information directly from the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

Jonathan Miller is available for comment on this month’s RBI data as well the RBI Pending Home Sales Index™.  Interview requests can be sent to Tina McCormack at 301-585-5034 or tina@cfoxcommunications.com.

Baltimore Metro Area, market analysis, press release
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