Q: What new homes are selling?
A: Cheaper ones.
The median base price of new homes sold in the Baltimore metro area was about $350,000 in May, down 20 percent from a year earlier when it was about $440,000, according to Hanley Wood Market Intelligence. (The average was down a much smaller 6 percent, to just under $450,000. I assume there are some very pricey homes pulling up the average.)
Net sales of new homes -- which accounts for cancellations -- added up to 220 in May, down 42 percent from a year earlier, Hanley Wood says. Go back two years, and new home sales topped 500.
We normally define the Baltimore metro area as the city, Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County and Howard County, but Hanley Wood goes with the federal definition that includes Queen Anne's County too.
What about the inventory of unsold homes? It's just under 400, though that number rises to more than 750 when you add in the homes under construction.
The upside -- for builders -- is the improving cancellation rate. It skyrocketed after the credit crunch hit last summer and got as high as almost 45 percent. Now it's down to 14 percent, about where it was pre-crunch.