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Baltimore-area home sales hit record high in July as inventory slides to 10-year low

Baltimore-area home sales hit a record high in July as interest rates remained low and buyers moved quickly to choose from a low supply of available properties.

The number of homes sold in the region jumped 16% to 4,536, compared with 3,911 sales last July, according to The Baltimore Metro Area Housing Market Update released Tuesday.

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Both the number of homes sold and the median price — at $320,000 — reached a 10-year peak. Each jurisdiction, including Baltimore City and five surrounding counties, reported the most homes sold either in any single month or in any July in the past decade.

The median sales price rose 6.7% year-over-year as buyers vied for a limited supply of homes on the market, the data showed. The report’s data, provided by Market Stats by Showing Time, is based on listings from Bright MLS, the region’s multiple listing service.

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While the traditionally busy spring housing market came to a near standstill amid coronavirus-related shutdowns, the market began to turn around in June and has remained strong into the summer, said Chris Finnegan, a spokesman for Bright MLS. Some sellers who held properties back as the pandemic hit have begun to offer them for sale.

“It is a really hot market right now,” Finnegan said. “The houses that are out there are going really quickly and going for great prices.”

The total volume of 5,144 new listings in July was comparable to the previous July. But the inventory of homes for sale slid to a 10-year low of just over 1½ months’ worth of supply. Inventory already had been low and was further affected when the anticipated spring supply didn’t materialize as expected.

Pending sales, an indicator of future market strength, were up 12.7%, with 4,957 contracts signed in the region in July, the most for any July in the past decade.

Homes stayed on the market an average of only 11 days, the fewest days on record. That’s three days fewer than June, when homes were on the market for an average of 14 days, and half the time of July 2019, when it was 22 days. Homes stayed on the market an average of just six days in both Carroll and Harford counties.

Sellers on average got 99% of their listing price, a percentage that has steadily increased over the past five years.

“The Baltimore Metro marketplace maintained its momentum, as interest rates ended the month at 2.99% and unemployment ... held below the national average,” the report said.

The area’s unemployment rate was 8% in June.

Single-family homes in the region saw the best sales-price gain ever of any July. Homes in that category sold for a median price of $399,900, a 7.1% year-over-year increase.

Detached home prices saw especially strong gains in both Harford and Howard counties. Howard’s median sales price for single-family homes rose 11.6% to $578,100, while Harford’s median price in that category was up 10.8% to $385,500, a 10-year high.

Anne Arundel reported record-setting sale prices in all home categories. Home prices jumped as well in Baltimore City, increasing 17% to $205,000 and reversing a 2.1% year-over-year decline in July.

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