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Baltimore-area home sales plummet in May to steepest drop in decade amid pandemic

Home sales in the Baltimore area plummeted in May, the steepest drop in a decade amid the pandemic, but record-low mortgage rates are luring buyers back into the housing market.

The number of homes sold fell more than than 24% to 2,872, compared with 3,787 closings in May 2019, according data released Thursday from Bright MLS, the region’s multiple listing service. May’s closings also were down 5% compared with April, according to the report compiled by MarketStats by ShowingTime.

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“The area continued to contend with COVID-19 related concerns last month,” the report said. “As well, signs of a weakening economy emerged as the preliminary April Baltimore metro unemployment rate rose to 10.4%.”

The inventory of homes available for sale also plunged 38% to 6,296 as new listings dropped more than 31% to 4,440 properties, compared with May 2019, the report showed.

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But buyers have rushed in to take advantage of record-low interest rates, which averaged 3.15% on 30-year loans at the end of May. In an indication of an improving market, new pending home sales jumped nearly 43 percent from April to May, the most significant month-to-month gain in a decade.

Homes stayed on the market for the second-fewest number of days in the past decade, a median of just 15 days.

And May’s new listings, while down compared with May 2019, were up more than 22 percent compared with April.

Home prices remained stable compared with the year-ago period, with the median sales price up less than a percentage point to $295,500, according to the report.

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