Baltimore-area home sales, prices continue to rise

Prices and sales rise as inventory constricts in the Baltimore area.

Baltimore-area home sales and prices continued to rise in March in an increasingly tight housing market.

Just under 3,290 home sales closed in March, up 16.8 percent from the same month last year. The median sales price for the Baltimore-area rose 3.2 percent, to $245,000, according to a new report by ShowingTime. Home sales and median sale prices were the highest they have been in a decade, according to the monthly report, which is based on listing activity from MRIS, a division of the multiple listing service Bright MLS.

"It was an amazing month and very much in line with what we've been seeing for the year so far," said Annie Milli, a spokeswoman for Live Baltimore.

A total of 752 home sales closed in Baltimore City in March, up 17.5 percent from the same month last year, according to the ShowingTime report.

The number of standard sales, which exclude bank-owned homes and distressed properties, were also up by almost 32 percent compared to March 2015, according to an analysis of the MRIS data by Live Baltimore.

baltimorearea-home-sales-prices-continue-to-rise photo 1

Dream Home takes readers into the houses of Baltimore area residents who have found their ideal home, whether it be a mansion, rowhouse or two-room cabin. Have you found your dream home? Tell us about it at homes@baltsun.com.

Milli said the growth in standard sales is a positive sign for the city's housing market because those homes are more likely to be purchased by people who plan to live there, as opposed to investors or rehabbers.

"It shows we're seeing a real demand from homebuyers, not just investors," Milli said.

Within the area, Baltimore City saw the sharpest increase in median sale price, $129,250. That's up 20.3 percent from a median sales price of $107,450 in March 2015, according to the report.

The median sales price rose in all the city's surrounding counties except for Carroll County, where the median sales price dipped 1.9 percent, to $287,065 in March.

baltimorearea-home-sales-prices-continue-to-rise photo 2 CAPTION

A look at Baltimore’s Coldstream Homestead Montebello neighborhood, which boosts Lake Montebello, the Clifton Park Golf Course and City College.

A look at Baltimore’s Coldstream Homestead Montebello neighborhood, which boosts Lake Montebello, the Clifton Park Golf Course and City College.

baltimorearea-home-sales-prices-continue-to-rise photo 3 CAPTION

Google's new head of diversity has rejected an internal commentary from an employee who suggested women don't get ahead in tech jobs because of biological differences. (August 7, 2017) (Sign up for our free video newsletter here http://bit.ly/2n6VKPR)

Google's new head of diversity has rejected an internal commentary from an employee who suggested women don't get ahead in tech jobs because of biological differences. (August 7, 2017) (Sign up for our free video newsletter here http://bit.ly/2n6VKPR)

The number of sales also rose in Baltimore City and the five-county area tracked in the report.

Howard County saw the greatest growth in home sales, with closed home sales up 29.2 percent, to 363 sales.

Prices and sales rose as housing inventory constricted.

The number of active listings declined 15.8 percent, to 9,453, hitting a 10-year low.

There were 5,953 new listings across the Baltimore-area in March, a 1.3 decline from March 2016.

"It would have been great if that was a positive 1.3 percent. Otherwise, with the low inventory we'll still continue our rollercoaster ride of continuing appreciation, continuing lack of options for buyers," said Jonathan Hill, a spokesman for MRIS. "The buyers are in a squeeze."

Low inventory means homes that are priced right and staged well are receiving multiple offers and selling fast, said Alyssia Essig, the president-elect of the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors.

Homebuyers paid 95.1 percent of the list price, on average, the highest level in a decade, according to the ShowingTime report.

Homes spent a median of 42 days on the market, down from 63 days last year.

"It's still a great time to buy," thanks to low interest rates, said, Essig. "It's not a great time to get a deal."

sarah.gantz@baltsun.com

twitter.com/sarahgantz

Share on
Article Baltimore-area home sales, prices continue to rise compiled by www.baltimoresun.com