Amid signs of a national slowdown in the housing market, home sales in the Baltimore region dropped off in December, often a slow period anyway due to the holidays.
The number of homes sold last month fell 21.6 percent to 2,401 compared with December 2017, according to data released Thursday by MarketStats by ShowingTime based on listing activity from Bright MLS.
December marked the fourth consecutive month of declining sales and the largest year-over-year decline since November 2010 at the height of the housing crisis. The national slowdown reflects mortgage interest rates rising to seven-year highs, concerns about an economic slowdown, and increases in home prices outstripping wages.
Despite softening sales, the median housing price for the Baltimore region was $255,000 last month, up from the previous December price of $250,000, but below the November median of $264,700.
The median price for the year was also up about 2.7 percent to $266,000.
Home prices had been rising because of persistently tight inventory, peaking in June at $285,000 and then sliding amid the slowdown in the fall.
New listings in December were up 3.6 percent compared to a year ago, and active listings were up 3.9 percent from a year ago and the third month in a row of increases.
Homeowners were getting about 94.8 percent of their original list prices, dipping slightly from a year ago.
The median sale price was highest in December in Howard County at $375,000, though it was down by 8.5 percent from a year earlier. Baltimore City had the lowest price at $138,000, but it was up 22.1 percent from December 2017.
Prices also rose 7 percent from the previous December in Carroll County to $297,450 and they were up 2.1 percent in Anne Arundel County to $338,000 and 2.1 percent in Baltimore County to $240,000.
They declined in Harford County by 17.4 percent to $219,000 in December.
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From 2017 to 2018, median sales prices rose in every county, from 1 percent in Harford County to 8.6 percent in Baltimore City.