The Baltimore-area housing market experienced a sluggish January, with closed sales down 2 percent and flat growth in the region's median home price year-over-year, according to a monthly report released Monday.
The Baltimore-area housing market experienced a sluggish January, with closings down 2 percent and no growth in the region's median home price year-over-year, according to a monthly report released Monday.
The dip in home sales, which slipped from 1,538 in January 2013 to 1,508 last month, is the first since February 2012, according to data compiled by RealEstate Business Intelligence, a subsidiary of the MRIS listing service.
The decline in sales in Baltimore City and its five surrounding counties likely was due to January's cold and snowy weather, as well as other factors, said RBI product manager Corey Hart, who predicted that sales would pick up again in the spring when demand is usually higher.
"The January numbers are always a little bit boring," he said. "One month does not a trend make."
The median home price in the metro region last month was $210,000, ranging from $100,000 in Baltimore City to $335,000 in Howard County. Anne Arundel County and Baltimore City saw the highest rates of growth, with year-over-year median values up 11 percent and 23 percent respectively.
In Baltimore City, part of the increase was driven by condominium sales, which almost doubled, from 16 in January 2013 to 28 last month, Hart said. Condos are typically more expensive properties: last month, five sold in the city for $400,000 or more.
New listings in the region rose 4 percent, from about 3,000 in January 2013 to to 3,120 last month, according to the RBI report. Active listings in the metro region also rose year-over-year, from 9,386 in January 2013 to 9,952 last month, an increase of more than 600, or about 6 percent.
Despite the gains, which follow several months of increases, supply sits at about half of its 2008 peak.
In some places it is clearly a sellers' market, said Ross Mackesey, sales manager with Long & Foster Greenspring in Lutherville. In Baltimore County, for example, it would take four months or less to absorb the available inventory of condominiums or homes under $300,000, he said.
"It is very local, and as we get into the spring market, when you get young families moving those markets in good school zones … they get very active, but you don't really see that in January," he said.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun