How Baltimore stacks up
If you like to know how we compare with the rest of the nation, the Brookings Institution's Metropolitan Policy Program has just the report for you: It ranks the 100 largest metro areas on economic and housing-market measures of health.
I wrote a story for today's paper about the economic stats -- we're 18th best, for instance, as measured by the recent change in employment. (As in, it's not as bad here as it is in 82 other places. Woohoo!) The Baltimore metro area was in or near the top quarter of metro areas on most of the economic measurements.
But what about the housing stats? Those are a different story.
Our 5.8 percent drop in home prices in the spring, compared with a year earlier, ranked us 73rd out of 100. (With 100 being worst, at least from a homeowner point of view.)
The metro area was 61st out of 100 for its share of bank-owned homes -- 2.84 for every 1,000 mortgageable properties. (The average for all metro areas was higher, but only because some big regions are so hard hit.) These homes, which were foreclosed on and taken back by lenders, are typically called "REOs" for "real estate owned."
Baltimore's worst ranking on the report: Measured by the change in bank-owned properties from the first quarter of the year to the second quarter, it was 83rd out of 100.
Alan Berube, senior fellow and research director at the Metropolitan Policy Program, said those rankings signal fallout from housing-bubble speculation.
"Stabilizing housing prices and getting through the foreclosure inventory is going to take some time," he said.
Richard P. Clinch, director of economic research at the University of Baltimore's Jacob France Institute, wasn't surprised that the Baltimore area ranked poorly for recent changes in prices and REOs. The housing downturn started later here, he said.
"The city probably has the biggest problem, because there are a lot more investor-owned properties here," he said. "But it started in Cleveland like two years ago. The fact is, we've got a ways to work through on this particular problem in the metro area. So this is going to probably get a little bit worse before it gets better."