Baltimore-area home sales, April '09 edition
Average home prices really took a beating in the Baltimore metro area last month, or at least that's what new figures from Metropolitan Regional Information Systems suggest. Prices fell more than 13 percent, which as Lorraine Mirabella points out in this story is the biggest year-over-year drop since MRIS began tracking the region in March 1999.
Here's the change in average price and in sales by jurisdiction vs. a year earlier, with figures rounded to spare your eyes:
Anne Arundel Co., down 12 percent in price and down 16 percent in sales
Baltimore City, down 22 percent in price and down 13 percent in sales
Baltimore Co., down 14 percent in price and down 20 percent in sales
Carroll Co., down 16 percent in price and up (yes -- up) 19 percent in sales
Harford Co., down 10 percent in price and down 30 percent in sales
Howard Co., down 9 percent in price and down 13 percent in sales
The city's 22 percent plunge puts the average there at $143,000. That's back to April 2005 levels. (By contrast, Baltimore's average was $183,000 in April of last year.) The drop in city sales is a bit better than in March and a lot better than in February.
Carroll's 16 percent decline in price brings its average down to just under $271,000. That's on par with April 2004 -- five years ago. Its month-of-April price peaked in 2005 at $352,000.
The sizable jump in the percentage of homes sold in Carroll actually works out to just 18 more properties changing hands, which gives you an idea of how far sales have fallen in that county. But a sales increase is a sales increase.
Do last month's statistics suggest a break in the stalemate between sellers who want their asking price and buyers unwilling to pay it? I'm curious to hear whether these changes in average price reflect what you're seeing in your neighborhood or the neighborhoods to which you're paying attention.
The inventory of unsold homes across the metro area is still high -- 18,700, or about 11 places with "For Sale" signs in the yard for every one that changed hands last month. Nearly 4,600 homes hit the market last month while 2,600 deals were pending.
But people trying to sell can take heart that at least we're closer to equilibrium than a year earlier, when the same number of contracts were signed but 1,000 additional homes hit the market.