Region's home prices, sales stronger
$275K median price tag is June's highest since 2007
as distressed deals drop
Home sales and prices continued to increase in the Baltimore region last month, as homes flew off the market at their most rapid pace in a decade, according to a report released Wednesday.
There were 4,303 sales in June, an 11 percent increase from 2015. It was the 23rd month in a row of year-over-year increases in activity, the monthly report from ShowingTime RBI showed.
The median sales price in the region also increased 5.8 percent year-over-year, hitting $275,000. That was the highest for June since 2007, when the median was $290,000, according to the report, which is based on listing activity from the MRIS multiple list service.
Higher prices for distressed properties, such as foreclosures and short sales, coupled with a drop in those transactions to help drive the gain. But nondistressed properties also appreciated, climbing 3.8 percent from June 2015 — the largest annual increase in more than a year.
Harford County reported the highest rate of growth in both categories, with sales up 15 percent and the median price climbing 8.3 percent year-over-year to $259,900.
“We've been hopping,” said RoseAnn Spalt, president of the Harford County Association of Realtors and a real estate agent for Coldwell Banker Residential in Bel Air. “They just seem to be selling like hotcakes.”
Industry members said a stronger labor market, low interest rates and tapering distressed sales have helped put pressure on prices after several years when the region has lagged behind other parts of the country.
Supply also has fallen as buyers gobble up homes during the typically busy spring and summer season. The number of active listings last month shrank by more than 1,000 from May and was nearly 10 percent lower than June a year ago.
Homes in Baltimore and its five surrounding counties sat on the market for an average of just 22 days, according to the report.
“The bottom line for June is inventory is down because sales are up and that's driving prices up,” said Andrew Strauch, vice president of product innovation and marketing for MRIS. “There's a healthy amount of real estate that's changing hands right now.”
Strauch said he expects to see the growth in sales continue, even if prices appear to cool as distressed sales weigh less on the market.
“The market continues to be very solid,” he said.
Howard County was the most expensive jurisdiction in the region, with a median sales price of $419,800, basically unchanged since last year.
Baltimore City, where the median sales price was $154,950 — the least expensive in the region — reported the second-highest rate of appreciation after Harford, with a 6.9 percent spike from June 2015.
The median price in Anne Arundel County increased 4.7 percent year-over-year, to $337,000, while Baltimore County's climbed 4 percent to $235,000.
Carroll County held steady with a median price of $299,000, $1,000 less than last year.
Showhomes, a Nashville-based firm that helps sellers stage homes, among other services, said it hopes to launch five franchises in the region in the next three years, drawn by the possibilities of the high-end suburban market, as well as turnover from the Washington job market.
The firm, which has franchises in 18 states, has experienced record growth amid the national real estate rebound, said chief operating officer Matt Kelton. Revenue is tracking about a third higher than last year, when the firm reported $7.5 million.
“You do have such transient people coming in and out of the region,” he said. “This would be a gold mine for someone to take advantage of.”