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Housing inventory increases in Baltimore metro area for the first time in since 2019

Home prices continue to rise in the Baltimore metro area, but for the first time in about three years, the inventory of homes for sale also increased.

The number of homes for sale is up slightly compared to a year ago — 2.5% — the first year-over-year increase since June 2019, according to data from Bright MLS, the region’s multiple listing service. The inventory bump comes not from a surge of newly built homes, but rather because people are dropping out of the housing market and buying fewer homes as mortgage interest rates rise.

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“I think we’ll start to see buyer pullback in places like Baltimore,” said Lisa Sturtevant, a consulting economist for Bright MLS.

First-time homebuyers are especially sensitive to interest rate hikes, she said. People have been saving money for homes, but even a slight increase in the interest rate can price someone out of the market.

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“The numbers just don’t work anymore,” Sturtevant said.

New pending sales in the Baltimore metro area decreased by 1.4% from April to May. There also were about 90,000 showings in May, which is down 11.5% from April but still more than before the pandemic.

Even with fewer homes being sold, the median sales price of homes in the Baltimore area increased, hitting $375,000 in May, a 10% increase over last year. Median is the midpoint, meaning half of homes sold for more and half for less.

Sturtevant pointed out that home sales can be a lagging indicator — sometimes running a month behind the current market — and she expects home prices will keep rising but not as fast as they had been during the pandemic, which coincided with a period of historically low mortgage interest rates.

Even if fewer people are buying, the Baltimore area is still under tremendous pressure for more housing. There is less than a month’s worth of housing inventory for sale, and the median home spends just six days on the market before selling. Prior to the pandemic, a median home in the area was staying on the market for 40 days.


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