Home sales fall, but contracts rise in Baltimore area
Home sales in the Baltimore metro area continued to plummet in November, but the number of newly signed contracts rose for the first time in months — a hopeful sign.
About 1,530 homes changed hands in November, according to figures released Friday by Metropolitan Regional Information Systems, the Rockville company that runs the area’s multiple-listing service. That was a 32 percent drop from a year earlier, when buyers were rushing to beat a deadline for a federal tax credit for first-time purchasers.
The $8,000 credit was ultimately extended so buyers could sign contracts as late as April 30. Contract-signing swooned afterward — until November broke the streak. Buyers and sellers agreed to 100 more contracts last month than they did a year earlier, a 6 percent increase.
That means sales could stop falling soon. Contracts often turn into settled deals in a month or two.
The average sale price in November was essentially unchanged from a year earlier, at just over $260,000, Metropolitan Regional Information Systems said.
Sales numbers are solid, but prices should be taken with a grain of salt. Averages can be skewed up or down if the homes that sell one month aren’t comparable to those sold the previous year.