Md. home sale activity among the slowest nationwide
Maryland's pickup in home sales compared with last year is among the smallest in the country.
That's according to new figures from the National Association of Realtors, which said the number of homes sold in Maryland over the summer was up 10 percent from a year earlier, lower than all but six other states.
No. 1 and No. 2 for smallest sales increases? Virginia and D.C., respectively. Gotta wonder if federal budget problems -- and the resulting pullbacks by government contractors -- have something to do with that.
The Realtors trade group looked at sales from July through September. Last year at that time, the federal homebuyer tax credit had basically expired -- the deadline to close deals was changed from June 30 to Sept. 30 to help people with short sales and other complex transactions, but everyone who could close before July did.
So you'd expect to see an increase in sales this summer, what with the dive that housing activity took after the credit was no more.
But to make this more complicated, because nothing housing-related is allowed to be simple nowadays: The National Association of Realtors data does not match up with sales figures from the state association, which shows an even more tepid increase in Maryland -- 2.6 percent. That would put the state at the bottom of the pack, assuming of course that all the other states' sales figures are accurate.
Why the difference? Possibly because the National Association of Realtors figures are calculated as a "seasonally adjusted annual rate" and the Maryland Association of Realtors figures are not. But you'd hope that seasonal adjustment doesn't affect the year-over-year comparison since it's -- you know -- all about making comparisons to different seasons possible.
Whatever the true increase, a slow pickup from depressed activity last summer isn't good news for home sellers. They need more demand from buyers for falling prices to finally hit bottom.
Median prices for single-family homes fell 7 percent in the Baltimore region compared with just under 5 percent nationwide, according to the National Association of Realtors. (The NAR tracks sales by state but prices by metro area, and the metro stats are not seasonally adjusted.)
Median prices for condos in the region fell 12 percent, much more than the nationwide drop of about 2 percent, the NAR said.
We're due to get local housing-market figures for October this morning. Metropolitan Regional Information Systems' stats arm, RealEstate Business Intelligence, will release them on its website.