September Sales and Contract Activity Outpace Previous Year's Levels in Baltimore Metro

Posted on October 10, 2012 by Corey Hart



Both measures below the 10-year September averages; Prices relatively stable, low inventory playing a role


Sales activity has slowed in the Baltimore Metro Area housing market as we end September. All property segments posted lower than average sales for the month, which could be an early sign that demand has weakened. New contract activity is also down relative to the 10-year September average. Despite the slower growth, sales activity, new contracts, and median sales price are all above their September 2011 levels, and in many cases are at multi-year September highs, which indicates a...

stronger market overall relative to the past few years. The inventory of active listings continues to shrink, which will likely keep prices stable, even as demand slows. Persistent declines in the number of homes for sale despite a strengthening housing market underscore the significance of continued economic uncertainty. Tepid job growth and slow improvement of the unemployment picture are likely deterring many would be sellers from entering the market. Townhomes continue to lead all property segments in terms of year-over-year median sales price gains, while condos have led in year-over-year sales growth. New contracts in the single-family detached market have picked up, posting the highest September total in seven years.

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Sales rise from last year, but growth is slowing.  Sales in all property segments are below the 10-year September average.  There were 2,055 sales in September in the Baltimore Metro Area, a level that is 9.7 percent higher than September 2011.  Sales dropped from August in line with seasonal patterns; however sales numbers remain well below the 10-year September average of 2,603 for the region.  A similar pattern can be observed across property segments, with condos leading the year-over-year sales growth at 19.7 percent, followed by townhomes at 11.5 percent, and single-family detached properties at 7.1 percent growth.  Sales in all property segments are well below their 10-year September average, which could be an early indication of tempered demand.


The median sale price remains stable despite slower than average sales.  Baltimore City continues to see the largest gains.  At $235,000, the median sale price in the Baltimore Metro Area is up 3.7 percent from this time last year, the eighth consecutive year-over-year gain for the region. Townhomes led all property segments in median price growth, up 8.3 percent from September 2011. Median prices for single-family detached and condo properties rose 5.3 and 4.6 percent, respectively, from this time last year. Baltimore City continues to lead all jurisdictions in median price growth at 51.3 percent, up $39,000 from last September to its current level of $115,000. Despite the slower than average September sales, median prices have remained stable in September, declining just 2.0 percent from August, less than the 10-year August to September average drop of 4.3 percent. This price stabilization is likely a result of the low supply of homes on the market.


New contracts are up across all property segments compared to last year.  There were 2,421 new contracts signed in September in the Baltimore Metro Area, up 20.9 percent from this time last year and the highest September level since 2006. Condos led all property segments in terms of new contract growth, up 30.3 percent from last year, but still only account for 11.7 percent of all new contracts in the region. New contracts on townhomes and detached properties rose 23.5 and 17.4 percent, respectively.  While market activity has slowed from the summer selling season, new contract levels for all property segments are at their highest September level in recent years.    


Active inventory continues to decline even through it typical grows from August to September.  There were 11,921 active listings at the end of September in the Baltimore Metro Area, 25.6 percent below September 2011, and the lowest September-level since 2005. The number of active listings is now more than 2,400 below the 10-year September average.  New listings in the region are virtually unchanged from this time last year, the second consecutive month without a year-over-year decrease, the longest streak in nearly two years. The low inventory of homes for sale is pushing down the median days-on-market which has dropped 25 days since last year to its current level of 49 days. The average sales-to-list price ratio has also been impacted by the low supply, increasing to 92.5 percent from 89.1 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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