Fueled by historically low interest rates and dwindling inventory, Maryland homebuyers continue to snap up residential real estate throughout the Baltimore Metro area, with median sales prices at 10-year highs and median days on the market dropping to the lowest point in recorded history.
A shortage of home sales means most sellers are getting close to their asking price, if not more. The ratio of median sales price to original list price reached 100%, also the highest it’s been in 10 years, according to the MarketStats by Showing Time report from Bright MLS, the region’s multiple listing service.
September saw buyers express a particular interest in townhomes and attached units, with new pending sales up more than 30% overall in that housing-type category from the previous year, the report shows. Townhomes in Baltimore and Howard counties sold for decade-high median prices of $236,000 and $351,000, respectively, and Anne Arundel County hit an all-time high for closed sales in a month with 418 townhomes in September.
Overall, more than 2,000 townhomes sold last month in the Baltimore metro area — including the city and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Howard counties ― resulting in attached homes' greatest year-over-year gain in seven years, data shows. Meanwhile, homes spent a median time of just nine days on the market.
The housing market’s momentum has remained steady since this summer, as evidenced by the high prices and single-digit days on the market, said Chris Finnegan, chief marketing and communications officer at Bright MLS.
Last year, homes spent a median of 27 days on the market in the Baltimore area. The nine-day median is down from 10 days in August.
Certain cities and towns are experiencing even faster sales. Abington reported a four-day median, while Joppa and Laurel reported the median home was on the market for six days..
The trends reflect what real estate marketing professionals refer to as a seller’s market, a condition in which demand outweighs supply and the resulting shortage creates favorable terms for people looking to sell property. While the coronavirus pandemic has created economic havoc for hundreds of thousands of individuals in the state, those who remained in their jobs or with savings have capitalized on the 3% or lower mortgage interest rates, buying up both attached and detached single-family homes.
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The desire for some buyers to have more personal space amid the coronavirus pandemic also has accelerated the pace of the market, with total home sales and median prices both at their highest points for September in a decade.
A total of 4,194 homes sold for a median price of $320,000 across the region in September, the report shows. A median is the midpoint, meaning half the homes sold for more and half for less.
But the median sales price, total number of closed sales and new pending sales did decrease since August, which could be explained partially by the shortage of homes for sale.
Inventory fell by more than half since last September to 4,813 homes last month. That’s a little more than a month’s supply of homes for sale at the current pace.
In addition to pushing up sales prices, the lack of inventory could be driving the boom in townhome sales, which typically sell for less than detached units. Single-family homes sold for a median price of $405,000 in September, another high for the decade.
Though consumers have spread out into the suburbs, Baltimore City also saw a record number of townhouse sales for any September recorded, at 671. Year-over-year sales of townhouses in the southeast Baltimore neighborhood of Canton, in particular, more than doubled.
Anne Arundel County led the pack in the number of total home sales closed at 1,079, though Baltimore County followed close behind with 1,050. It had its highest year-over-year jump in townhouse sales in five years, with 348.