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June 14, 2010

The housing market above and below the jumbo line

The cheaper something is, the wider the potential buying pool -- there's a blindingly obvious statement to start off your Monday. This is by way of introducing a statistical glimpse of the Baltimore-area housing market above and below the jumbo-loan mark of $560,000.

So yeah, of course it's easier to sell below that line than above it, not even getting into issues of financing. Of course it would take more months to find buyers for the pricier range, at the current pace of sales, than the less-pricey one.

But here's how much easier, according to an analysis of Metropolitan Regional Information Systems data by the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors:

Below that line, nine months.

Above? Twenty-three months.

Six months of supply, in case you're wondering, is usually considered the magical "balanced market" figure where neither buyers nor sellers have the upper hand.

Joseph T. "Jody" Landers III, executive vice president of the Realtors board, looked at all listings as of June 2. He calculated the months of supply by dividing homes for sale by the average pace of sales in the first five months of the year.

Which Baltimore-area jurisdiction do you think is the toughest sell above $560,000? Below?

See if your guess is right:

Howard County:

Below -- 5 months

Above -- 15 months


Baltimore County:

Below -- 8 months

Above -- 24 months


Anne Arundel County:

Below -- 8 months

Above -- 26 months


Harford County:

Below -- 9 months

Above -- 36 months


Carroll County:

Below -- 10 months

Above -- 37 months


Baltimore City:

Below -- 12 months

Above -- 24 months


Howard County has the smallest months of supply for both categories, though it's still a lot lower for the below-$560 homes than the ones above. (With five months of supply, the county probably doesn't feel like a buyer's market in the below-$560,000 range.)

Baltimore City has the largest months-supply figure for the lower-price category, but its above-$560 situation is a heck of a lot better than Carroll or Harford's. In those two counties, the queue of homes in the pricier category would last three years -- years -- at the current pace of sales.

"Other than Howard County, all of the Baltimore metro subdivisions appear to have a severe glut of houses priced over $560K," Landers noted.

Posted by Jamie Smith Hopkins at 7:00 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Housing stats


The fix for this problem is so simple - houses priced above the jumbo line just need to move the price below it!!

I would like to know how these numbers look if you use a different dollar amt, say 400k or even 350k. Based on what i am seeing. Almost nohting sells above 350k. That will skew the numbers even worse as it should. When we were growing up, the people that had 300k homes were the rich people. Guess what? They still are.

Elwood, I've done that analysis before and I can do it again. I'll put it on my to-do list. Thanks for the suggestion.

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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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