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June 21, 2010

The homebuyer pullback in May

Only time will tell whether the drop-off in buyers signing contracts for home purchases in May -- the month after the contract-signing deadline expired for the home buyer tax credit -- is merely temporary. But here's a currently available fact: That pullback is pretty widespread hereabouts.

All but four counties in Maryland saw the number of newly pending contracts decline in May, compared with a year earlier. Year-over-year contract figures were significantly up for much of the tax-credit period.

Biggest drop: 54 percent in Caroline County on the Eastern Shore. That's according to data collected by the Maryland Association of Realtors from Metropolitan Regional Information Systems and the Coastal Association of Realtors.

Baltimore County had the largest decrease in the Baltimore area -- 39 percent. Next were Anne Arundel and Howard, both down 30 percent; Baltimore City, down 29 percent; and Carroll County, down 28 percent. Harford County, down 23 percent, had the smallest drop.

So which parts of Maryland actually saw more contract-signing activity in May than a year earlier? See if you can guess, then read on for the answer.

Calvert, up 1 percent

Worcester, up 11 percent

Talbot, up 14 percent

Dorchester, up 20 percent

Calvert is in Southern Maryland on the Chesapeake Bay. The rest are on the Eastern Shore; Worcester is home to Ocean City. Are second-home buyers driving that increasing-activity trend? Do speak up if you're following any of those markets.

As buying ebbed in much of the state last month, attempted selling increased. For-sale inventory rose in 15 out of Maryland's 24 jurisdictions, including all of the Baltimore area except Anne Arundel, which was down 2 percent.

The number of homes for sale increased 1 percent in Howard, 3 percent in Harford and Carroll, 5 percent in Baltimore City and 6 percent in Baltimore County. That means more for buyers to choose from -- good for buyers, not so hot for sellers.

Prince George's County, meanwhile, saw a big drop in homes for sale -- down 13 percent. That's bigger even than the county's 6 percent decrease in contract-signing.

What are you seeing in your neck of the woods?

Posted by Jamie Smith Hopkins at 7:00 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Housing stats


I see that currently there is no need for buying as many houses as it used to be.

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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.
Baltimore Sun articles by Jamie

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