Median prices fell more than 12 percent in Baltimore, about 4 percent in Anne Arundel and Howard and 5 percent in Harford. Carroll saw a nearly 18 percent median price gain, and Baltimore County’s grew over 7 percent.

Hill thinks January’s prices reflect increased interest in less expensive units, not decreasing demand. For the first time in three years, for instance, the rate at which townhouses sold exceeded detached homes and condos, RBI said.

Since townhouses are the least expensive form of housing in metro Baltimore, typically more than $100,000 less than a detached home and $25,000 less than a condo, an increase in their sales will drive the overall median sales price down, Hill said.

A lot of first-time homebuyers are looking for homes now, said Taylor Connolly, who manages sales agents in the Baltimore-area market for real estate brokerage Redfin.

“The average sales prices of what people are actually buying is going down a little bit,” Connolly said.

But, he added, overall prices are solid. Homebuyers are no longer finding the steals that were common not long ago, and many are experiencing “sticker shock,” he said. Multiple offers are becoming commonplace in desirable areas, he said.

Agents now scour the listings every morning so they can jump on potentially hot properties, he said, and more buyers seem to be opting to build homes because there’s nothing suitable on the market.

“As long as nothing crazy happens, demand is only going to get higher,” Connolly said. “The biggest concern is where the homes are going to come from to buy.” 

JurisdictionMedian sales price, Jan. 2013Percent change, Jan. 2012 compared to Jan. 2013
Metro Baltimore $209,250 0.4%
Anne Arundel $265,000 -3.6%
Baltimore city $81,580 -12.4%
Baltimore $190,000 7.3%
Carroll $260,500 17.6%
Harford $213,495 -5.1%
Howard $335,000 -3.9%

 

JurisdictionPercent change in number of units sold, Jan. 2012 compared to Jan. 2013
Metro Baltimore 15.3%
Anne Arundel 13.4%
Baltimore city 29.7%
Baltimore 6.3%
Carroll 12.8%
Harford 22.3%
Howard 11.0%

Have a real estate news tip or experience to share? Email me at steve.kilar@baltsun.com.