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November 10, 2009

Baltimore-area home sales up 36%

You could see it coming as the number of new contracts mounted this summer, but I still said "woah!" when I saw the number of home sales that went to settlement in the Baltimore metro area last month: 2,219, up 36 percent from a year ago.

To put that into perspective, the year-over-year increase in September was just under 10 percent.

It was only last week that the $8,000 credit for first-time home buyers was extended (and expanded), so there were clearly a lot of people who arranged to close on homes last month in order to get the money before it was set to expire Nov. 30.

And buyers were still active last month. Pending deals -- new contracts signed -- jumped 65 percent from a year ago, according to Metropolitan Regional Information Systems.

Average sale prices continued to decline, down 8 percent from a year ago.

Just to put the buying spree into perspective: The number of homes sold last month is still less than sales in the month of October from 1998 through 2006. And far less compared with the bubble years.

Did you buy or sell last month?

Posted by Jamie Smith Hopkins at 10:52 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Housing stats


Interesting sales statistics. A close look at the variances between the 6 markets mentioned reveals that Baltimore City was up only 21% while surrounding counties doubled or tripled that figure.
One reason and one reason only.
City Real Estate taxes. I hope the Mayor and city council see that article. They are missing out on recordation and transfer fees in a big way.

George, that subject came up in my reporting yesterday. I didn't have space to fit it into the print edition of the story, but I'll be blogging about it soon.

Might be interesting if Jamie followed the "Rate of Settlement" on October's transactions. As a veteran Realtor, I will guarantee a significant amount of fall-out in Baltimore City/County as Appraisers follow the new FanMae/FreddieMac Guidelines. Basically, the appraiser is restricted to last 3-6 months settled history. With a significant drop in sales over the last 24-30 months, the absence of Real Comps has created huge opportunity for differences of opinion regarding True Value

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About Jamie Smith Hopkins
Jamie Smith Hopkins, a Baltimore Sun reporter since 1999, writes about the regional economy. Her reporting on the housing market has won national and local awards. Hopkins is a Columbia native and has lived in Maryland all her life, save for 10 months spent covering schools in Ames, Iowa.
She trained to become a wonk by spending large chunks of time as a geek and an insufferable know-it-all.
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