A positive report on the residential market from The Baltimore Business Journal, “Baltimore-area homes sales, prices jump in February, one report shows”

Posted on 3/13/2018 by in News

The median sales price of a home in the Baltimore metro area jumped 6.5 percent in February over last year's prices in the same month, a new report said Monday.

The average sales price recorded for a home last month was $245,000, according to research by the real estate group MarketStats by ShowingTime. The survey was based on data from the Bright MLS multiple listing service.

The $245,000 figure was notable because it was $15,000 higher than the median price recorded in February 2017, reflecting another month of a healthy housing market in the city and its suburban counterparts: Howard, Anne Arundel, Carroll, Baltimore and Harford counties.

Closings were up nearly 2 percent over last February's figures for a total of 2,252 in February. And the study showed residential listings were moving faster: The average home stayed on the market for less time — 27 percent — this February over last year's benchmark during the same month.

Overall, there were 3,991 new listings on the market, a 16.3 percent increase over February 2017.

The monthly snapshot of the metro area's housing sales and listings is used as a tool by real estate experts to gauge routine sales activity. In total, it showed that the region's housing market remained strong as a nearly 13 percent dip in active listings was posted in February — the 30th consecutive month of declining year-over-year inventory levels.

A separate report released Monday by Maryland Realtors showed slightly different results.

That report concluded that while the median housing sales prices continued to rise in February over the same month in 2017, the number of homes sold during the same period had dipped.

The Maryland Realtors data showed that average home prices increased 1.5 percent in February for the second consecutive as median prices increased by 6.6 percent compared to February 2017.

The Maryland Realtors study showed the average residential sales price in February was $305,241 — and in February 2017, it was $300,802. The group's president Boyd Campbell said interest rates continue to function as a gage of the market's strength.

"The active inventory across the state continues to be below what is considered a normal level," Campbell said, in a statement. "Steady increases of mortgage interest rates could potentially impact market activity, but it is currently a wait-and-see situation."

In February 2017, the MarketStats by Showing Time report showed that average sales price of a home in the Baltimore metro area was $230,000 with a total of 2,211 homes sold. That figure jumped slightly last month when there were 2,252 home sales recorded in the metro area.

Howard County's residential sales prices remained the strongest in the metro area, posting a 1.3 percent increase over February 2017 closing prices for a median sales price of $382,500.

In Baltimore City, the median sales price last month was listed at $108,575, a nearly 11 percent increase over last February's prices — the largest increase in the area. The city was listed in the study as "still the most affordable in the region."

Prices last month for the entire region showed that the increase in the housing market pace and sales was continuing since the Great Recession and housing crisis that began in 2008. The report showed that median sales prices jumped nearly 20 above the low mark registered in February 2011 when the benchmark was recorded at $205,350.

Housing prices in Anne Arundel County were recorded at the second highest level in the metro area last month compared to 2017 levels. The study showed the average housing price was $325,000, compared to $305,000 in February 2017.

Baltimore County median housing prices also jumped on average in February 2018 to $226,000, higher than the average for the same time last year when it was recorded at $210,000.

Elliot Eisenberg, chief economist of the economic consulting firm, GraphsandLaughs LLC, was author of the report.

Melody Simmons
Baltimore Business Journal