Baltimore-area home sales and prices continued to climb in June as inventory dwindled.
Just more than 4,500 home sales closed in June, at a median price of $279,400, up 1.6 percent from the median sale price for the same month last year, according to a new report by ShowingTime.
Meanwhile, June marked the 21st consecutive month of declining inventory. Despite 5,851 new listings during the month, total active inventory was down 12.6 percent from June of last year, according to the monthly report, which is based on listing activity from MRIS, a division of the multiple listing service Bright MLS.
Tight inventory has benefited Baltimore's lesser-known neighborhoods, as prospective home buyers are forced to expand their search, said Annie Milli, executive director of Live Baltimore, a nonprofit that promotes the benefits of living in Baltimore City.
"The neighborhoods seeing the most increase in activity are not the usual suspects," Milli said. "When these neighborhoods do well, we see it as an indicator that buyers are comfortable expanding their search areas."
When buyers can't find what they're looking for in the city's more popular neighborhoods, they branch out to the adjacent areas.
For example, Better Waverly in Northeast Baltimore has seen an uptick in sales as buyers fail to find a home in nearby Ednor Gardens, which has long been an in-demand neighborhood, Milli said.
Fourteen homes sold in Better Waverly in the first half of the year, compared to four sales in the same period last year, according to an analysis by Live Baltimore.
Across the city, 985 home sales closed, up 7.8 percent from June of last year. The median list price rose 5.8 percent from last year, to $154,950.
Carroll County saw the greatest increase in home sales and median sale price.
There, home sales were up 8.2 percent from the year before. The median sale price, $299,000, rose 7 percent from June of last year.
The steady march in home sales and prices shows continued buyer demand, despite declining inventory, said Jonathan Hill, a spokesman for MRIS.
"It shows the market is stable," Hill said. "The market shows continued growth. There are still drivers in the market, buyer demand is still making appreciation of prices possible."
Homes spent less time on the market and sold closer to their list prices, as buyers continued to scoop up new listings.
Homes spent a median of 19 days on the market in June, down from 22 days in the year-ago period.
Closing prices were, on average, 96.6 percent of the list price, up from 96.1 percent of list price last year, according to the report.