April home sales drop 17 percent in Baltimore area
Above: The month of April in the Baltimore metro area, measured by home sales and newly signed contracts.
Sales last month were the second-lowest on record, while contracts were third-lowest (the recessionary years of 2008 and 2009 were worse). Year-over-year drop in the number of sales, which compares now vs. the homebuyer-tax-credit days of April 2010: 17 percent.
The average home sale price in the metro area was about $255,000, down nearly 4 percent.
You can find data by jurisdiction at Metropolitan Regional Information Systems' stats arm, RealEstate Business Intelligence.
A truly perfect way to compare home prices so as to avoid skewing doesn't seem to exist -- every measure has its downsides. But I like to see repeat-sale indexes that compare the same homes over time. Here's how Clear Capital's repeat-sale index looks for the Baltimore metro area (the city plus the surrounding suburbs) in the last five years:
Source: Clear Capital
The measurement here is an index, not the dollar value, just in case it's hard to see. What should be easier to make out is the long downward trend, interrupted by two upward bumps at various points of the homebuyer tax credit period. The price decline has continued after that.
Some of you have asked about the much-discussed "shadow inventory" of foreclosures, so I chatted with John Burns Real Estate Consulting for its most up-to-date estimate. (The company takes into account all the homes whose owners are behind on payments and predicts how many will end up as distress sales, accounting for the fact that someone who's 30 days behind is more likely to catch up than someone who's 90 days or more in the hole.)
Its calculation: 14 months' supply of shadow inventory in the Baltimore metro area. Inventory measured by MRIS -- the stuff that's actually listed for sale -- is just over eight months' supply, meaning it would take eight months to find buyers for everything at the current pace of sales.