Return of the rich: Luxury home market rebounds

Deep-pocketed buyers in the Baltimore region are coming back.

The luxury market in Baltimore City and the five surrounding counties slowed significantly when prices plummeted during the real estate crisis.


Just 200 properties in the region sold more for more than $1 million in 2009 — and just 14 properties for more than $2.5 million, according to data collected by MRIS, the multiple listing service.

But there are signs that those buyers have returned. Last year, nearly 400 homes sold for more than $1 million, up 22 percent from 2015.

"The market has definitely picked up," said Andrew Strauch, vice president of innovation and marketing at MRIS. "I'd be a heck of a lot more comfortable selling a house that's over $1 million this year as compared to two years ago."

The homes on this year's top 10 list — with an average sold price of more than $4.2 million — represent a rarified subset of the luxury world. Just 24 deals in the metro area crossed the $2.5 million threshold in 2016, according to MRIS.

Top-of-the-market buyers often opt to buy the right site at a lower price then spend millions to create their dream home, said Georgie Berkinshaw, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Annapolis, who listed 2016's top-selling home.

But those kinds of homes rarely go up for sale, limiting the number of deals that can be done, she said.

"I think the buyers are out there," said Berkinshaw, who is a regular on the top 10 list. "I really think it depends on the properties."

This year's top selling home, which was listed at nearly $7 million in October 2015, "had all the components that you need" — a recent renovation, pool, boathouse, lots of space and other perks. The $6.125 million deal closed in July, after two videos, magazine spreads, some furious bouts of networking and a lot of negotiation. The deal took months to come together, she said.

"It's one day at a time with these deals," Berkinshaw said.

MRIS, the primary multiple listing service for the Mid-Atlantic region, provided the ranking informatio n and images for this list. It only includes properties that were listed in the multiple listing service. Information about the properties also came from online listings.