Drop in pending home sales: Baltimore vs. U.S.
File this under "d" for "duh" -- buyers across the country reacted to the lack of $8,000 federal tax credits for home sales in May by signing fewer contracts. Not exactly a stunning development. But the new figures do allow us to compare and contrast: us vs. U.S.
Nationally, pending sales fell about 16 percent vs. a year earlier, when the first-time home buyer tax credit was in effect. In the Baltimore metro area, the drop was 32 percent -- twice as steep.
It's a similar story comparing May to April, when buyers were rushing to beat the contract-signing deadline. The national decrease was 33 percent. Ours: 53 percent. (For the wonks out there: These numbers are not seasonally adjusted. Also, no statistics were harmed in the calculation of these figures.)
The question that only time will answer, but about which housing-market watchers are happy to put in their two cents now, is whether the contract slump is temporary. If people bought homes in April rather than May or June, then you'd expect to see more activity in July. But if people bought homes in April rather than the rest of the year and 2011 besides ...
Add the uncertain economy, mix in foreclosures, and you have a hard-to-predict brew.
So here's my question to you (OK, questions): What are you seeing out there? Is it easier to negotiate down asking prices? What competition are you buyers seeing, if any? Are you sellers getting showings?
What does the market feel like compared with April?