Home prices plummet in Western Maryland
You'd expect to see Orlando and Las Vegas on a list of metro areas with the biggest price decreases in the last year. But Cumberland and Hagerstown?
Both Western Maryland metros had double-digit decreases in the median sale price of single-family homes during the first three months of the year, compared with a year earlier.
Here's how they rank among the 10 metro areas with the biggest drops, according to newly released data by the National Association of Realtors:
1. Orlando, Fla. (-15 percent)
2. Ocala, Fla. (-14.5 percent)
3. Cumberland, Md. (-14.4 percent)
4. Boise City, Idaho (-13.9 percent)
5. Reno, Nev. (-13.5 percent)
6. Hagerstown, Md. (-13 percent)
7. Las Vegas (-11.8 percent)
8. Glens Falls, N.Y. (-11.5 percent)
9. Salt Lake City, Utah (-11.4 percent)
10. Palm Bay, Fla. (-11 percent)
The Baltimore metro area showed a 4.4 percent decrease in median price, not nearly low enough to flirt with the bottom 10 but not average, either. Sixty percent of metro areas tracked by the Realtors showed price increases.
Cumberland, as you might recall, had some of the nation's biggest price increases through a good bit of the downturn. Whether the drop now is giveback, new foreclosures pulling down values or statistical skewing in a small market, I can't say. Any thoughts, guys?
The National Association of Realtors did note that there's more than meets the eye to big price increases in some Midwestern metro areas during the first quarter -- for instance, up 100 percent in Saginaw, Mich. The regions had "high levels of distressed homes sold at deep discounts a year ago" but "now have a more normal mix of home sales," the trade group said.
The NAR also released data showing that Maryland's home sales in the first quarter increased more than all but nine other states, compared with a year ago. The number of homes changing hands jumped 26 percent. (Maryland's been up there for a while after spending time at the other extreme.)