These homes are selling
Nearly 20 percent more properties priced from $120,000 to $249,999 sold in the first three months of the year than in the same period in 2007, according to a report released yesterday by Metropolitan Regional Information Systems. That comes as sales in all pricier categories, particularly $500,000 and over, continued to fall sharply.
The report, prepared for the multiple listing service by real estate research firm Delta Associates, is a potent reminder that price matters. Homes affordable to first-time buyers are getting contracts faster because those buyers don't have property of their own to sell first. The $120,000 to $249,999 category, which accounted for one-fifth of sales in the early part of last year, swelled to more than a third of the market in the first quarter.
Other interesting statistics from the MRIS/Delta report that I couldn't fit in the story:
--Vacancy among Baltimore metro area Class A apartments is rising (6.1 percent in the first quarter, up from 4.4 percent a year earlier). Rental prices are essentially flat, at $1,296.
--Vacancy is also rising in the Baltimore metro area office market -- it's 12 percent, up from 10.9 percent a year ago. While homebuilders have been assiduously cutting back to get inventory under control, office development is still growing. Delta reports that there are 4 million square feet under construction, compared with 2.5 million square feet a year ago.