Maryland home sales in '08
Final home sale figures for the year are out, and it's official: 2008 was the first time average prices fell since MRIS began tracking the Baltimore metro housing market a decade earlier. (The drop: 3.5 percent.) It was also the year with the lowest recorded number of home sales -- 22,700, compared with 28,800 in 1998.
Carroll County had the largest drop in average price locally, down nearly 11 percent to $325,000. The rest: Anne Arundel, down 5.5 percent; Baltimore County, down 5.3 percent; Howard, down 3.8 percent; Harford, down 3.2 percent; and Baltimore City, down three-tenths of a percent.
Sales dropped the most in the city (33 percent) and the least in Howard (23 percent), within the metro area. But there were bigger and smaller decreases elsewhere in the state, as stats from the Maryland Association of Realtors show.
Sales dropped 44 percent in Somerset County -- just 83 homes changed hands there last year -- and 8 percent in Wicomico County. They're neighbors on the Eastern Shore; Salisbury, the largest Eastern Shore city, is in Wicomico.
Where were the biggest decreases in price? Well, it depends on whether you rely on average or median. The metro area showed similar drops with both measurements, but a few counties -- smaller ones -- had wildly different stats. Consider Kent, up 9 percent on average price and down 9 percent on median price. Or Dorchester, up 28 percent on average and down 2 percent on median.
Lest you think median is always to the negative, there's Wicomico, where average price dropped 7 percent but median price rose about half a percent.