July home sales in the Baltimore area
Baltimore-area home sales rose in July compared with a year earlier, while home prices continued to sag.
It's the first time in five months that sales increased, but that's not surprising. The comparison point — July 2010 — is when settlements slumped as the effect of the federal first-time homebuyer tax credit waned. (Most buyers trying to get the incentive of up to $8,000 closed by June 30 last year, which if you recall had been the deadline until Congress extended it at the last minute through the rest of that summer.)
More heartening for would-be home sellers than the 12 percent increase in July home sales: The number of new contracts in the Baltimore region has now risen for eight of the last nine months, according to Metropolitan Regional Information Systems, which runs the multiple-listing service used to buy and sell homes in the area. (MRIS's stats arm has more statistics here.)
Buyers and sellers signed 24 percent more contracts in July than they did a year earlier — deals that will turn into sales within a few months if all goes smoothly. The approximately 2,400 new contracts represent the largest number signed in the month of July since 2007, before the full effects of the credit crunch and financial crisis set in.
This possible sales stabilization did not translate into price support, however. The average sale price in the Baltimore metro area slid 5 percent to just under $279,000.