Baltimore-area home prices vs. the nation
Nearly two-thirds of the metro areas the National Association of Realtors tracks had rising median home prices in the second quarter. The Baltimore metro area? Not among them. But the price drop was minimal -- about half a percent compared with a year earlier, based on sales of single-family homes.
Sellers in Cumberland, tucked in the mountains of Western Maryland, were not so fortunate. The median price dropped 15 percent there, the largest decline in the country.
Hagerstown also recorded one of the largest drops in the nation, down about 9 percent.
Here are the metro areas that gained and lost the most on median price:
1. Akron, Ohio: 36 percent
2. San Jose, Calif.: 26 percent
3. San Francisco, Calif.: 25 percent
4. Riverside, Calif.: 17.8 percent
5. Elmira, N.Y.: 16.7 percent
1. Cumberland, Md.: -15.4 percent
2. Tucson, Ariz.: -13.7 percent
3. Ocala, Fla.: -13.0 percent
4. Beaumont, Texas: -12.9 percent
5. Boise City, Idaho: -12.7 percent
(Hagerstown is sixth.)
Lawrence Yun, the National Association of Realtors' chief economist, suggested that everyone take the price changes -- especially increases -- with a grain of salt:
"The recorded home prices in many markets were significantly depressed last year because of a large percentage of distressed homes sold at discount," he said in a statement. "Now as more normal, non-distressed home sales are occurring, the median price in many areas is showing higher values."
The Realtors group also measured sales levels by state. Maryland home sales rose about 30 percent compared with a year ago, ranking it 15th. (The top three were North Dakota, up 52 percent; Hawaii, up 39 percent; and D.C., up 37 percent.)
Three states -- Michigan, California and Nevada -- saw dropping sales numbers.
The second quarter, of course, was a "past performance does not guarantee future returns" sort of period. Buyers were rushing to meet the deadline for the first-time home buyer tax credit.
Tax-credit sales can close as late as the end of September, but everyone who could settle by June 30 did. That was the previous deadline, and Congress didn't extend it until late that day.