Sometimes a seller's competition is an exact duplicate house, but sometimes it's simply the variety of homes in the same price range. How can you tell if you've picked a good price range to compete in - or, if you're a buyer, to look in?
It doesn't hurt to find out how many homes are listed and compare it to sales. A little tally for the metro area in December shows some interesting results.
Overall, the Baltimore metro region had about 1,800 home sales last month and about 18,000 homes that were listed for sale, according to Metropolitan Regional Information Systems. At that pace, it would take 10 months to get all the 18,000 homes from "for sale" to sold. The longer the time, the easier it is for buyers to make a deal if the owners really need to sell.
Three price ranges did better than the metro average: $100,000 to $149,999 (eight months), $150,000 to $199,999 (seven months) and $200,000 to $249,999 (also seven months).
Three price ranges were spot on the 10-month average: $250,000 to $299,999, $300,000 to $349,999 and $800,000 to $899,999. Yes, you read that last one right.
Just as the $800,000 range is an odd one out in the midst of the cheaper prices, the under-$100,000 range is an interesting one: 11 months. Perhaps people looking for an under-$100,000 house are having a harder time qualifying for a loan or don't like what's available.
Here's how the other price ranges turned out:
$350,000 to $399,999: 13 months
$400,000 to $449,999: 11 months
$450,000 to $499,999: 15 months
$500,000-$599,999: 14 months
$600,000 to $699,999: 17 months
$700,000 to $799,999: 16 months
$900,000 to $999,999: 19 months
$1 million to $2,499,999: 21 months
$2.5 million to $4,999,999: 98 months (one home sold, 98 listed)
$5 million and over: infinity. (Well - probably not. But zero sold and 11 were listed.)
Curious to know what the months' supply looks like in your jurisdiction or ZIP code? You can do your own calculation with the data at www.mris.com/reports/stats.
Find Jamie's blog at baltimoresun.com/ realestatewonk