www.baltimoresun.com/business/real-estate/wonk/bal-topsyturvy-housing-market-20120302,0,3536666.story

baltimoresun.com

Topsy-turvy housing market

Jamie Smith Hopkins

6:02 AM EST, March 5, 2012

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In what sort of housing market do sellers and buyers complain that it's rough out there? This one, apparently.

The number of homes officially for sale has fallen substantially, both foreclosures and regular listings, leaving would-be buyers with fewer choices. And yet many homeowners are in the wish-I-could-sell group, unhappily off the market, because they can't afford to move at today's prices.

Read all about it.

But wait! There's more. This is the latest of our twice-annual analysis of the housing market down to ZIP codes in the region and neighborhoods in the city, so the story comes with a lot of extras.

Searchable database: Enter a ZIP, see how many homes sold last year vs. 2010, and for how much on average.

Interactive maps: Four in total, showing the change in average sale prices and change in sales in both the city and region.

Priciest suburban communities and city neighborhoods: Photo gallery of the top 10 for each. Guess first, then click. (No. 1 in the 'burbs -- by far the priciest in the region as a whole -- made the list for the first time since we began doing these top 10s a few years ago. It kept falling short simply because there weren't enough sales to make the cut.)

2011 extremes: Photo gallery of city neighborhoods and regional ZIP codes that are the most in some way. Biggest gains in sales, biggest drops in prices, etc.

Three cheers to Patrick Maynard for all his hard work on the searchable database and maps, and to Liz Pillow for all the time she spent bringing the photo galleries to life.

Back to the issue of for-sale choices: In a Redfin survey of people out looking and hoping to buy, 63 percent said their major concern with purchasing this year is "low inventory" -- far and away the most popular answer. "Prices may fall," the runner-up, got 29 percent of the vote.

Other common answers to the "check all that apply" question were distress sales being hard to buy (27 percent), distress sales being in bad shape (21 percent) and "general economic weakness" (20 percent).

"When we asked a free-form question about what surprised our customers the most this year, more than 30% commented on low inventory," Redfin notes on its corporate blog.

How's the inventory looking to you? Do you expect to see a lot more foreclosures on the market later this year?