A decade of Baltimore-area home sales
Source: Metropolitan Regional Information Systems
Above: The craziest decade for the housing market, at a glance.
Preliminary numbers from Metropolitan Regional Information Systems show buyers in the Baltimore metro area -- the city and surrounding counties -- closing deals on about 21,500 homes last year, down 3 percent from the year before.
That's about the same number of homes that sold in 2008.
MRIS releases official year-end figures in February, often higher as a result of last-minute additions by real estate agents, so I'm using preliminary numbers only to allow for fairer comparisons. It'll be interesting, once we have the full results, to see if the effect of the federal home buyer tax credit was a wash. (Preliminary figures show a sales gain of 3 percent in 2009, counterbalanced by the 3 percent drop last year.)
Check out colleague Lorraine Mirabella's story about the newest market trends, including the sales increase in December after five months of losses. (I, alas, am home sick.)
Do you think the increase in December means the number of home sales is stabilizing? (In case you're wondering, December 2009 sales weren't nearly as high as November 2009, originally the deadline for the home buyer tax credit, but they did post a 10 percent gain over the previous December.)
One other nugget of information to chew on: The number of pending deals, which will turn into sales if all goes as planned, rose 10 percent last month vs. a year earlier.
Prices are another matter. The average fell about 7 percent in December.