Home sales, prices up 8% in Sept.

Bal­ti­more area sees 3,200 houses sold at av­er­age price of $253,670

Baltimore Sun - - ELECTION 2016 - By Natalie Sher­man nsh­er­man@balt­sun.com

Home prices and sales surged in Septem­ber as the Bal­ti­more re­gion’s real es­tate mar­ket came closer to full re­cov­ery from the hous­ing cri­sis.

More than 3,200 houses were sold in Bal­ti­more and its five sur­round­ing coun­ties in Septem­ber, up 8 per­cent from a year ago, ac­cord­ing to a monthly re­port re­leased Tues­day by Show­ingTime RBI. It was the high­est level of ac­tiv­ity for the month in a decade.

The me­dian sales price jumped about 8 per­cent from last year, climb­ing to $253,670 — the big­gest year-over-year gain for any month since 2012. The me­dian was about 4 per­cent less than the Septem­ber record set in 2007, ac­cord­ing to the re­port, which is based on data from the MRIS re­gional list­ing ser­vice.

Septem­ber’s ap­pre­ci­a­tion fol­lows gains that started ear­lier this year, as in­ven­tory tight­ened and the re­gion’s high num­ber of dis­tressed sales be­gan to sub­side slowly. Not in­clud­ing fore­clo­sures or short sales, the me­dian price in­creased about 3 per­cent last month from Septem­ber 2015.

With in­ter­est rates re­main­ing low and fam­ily in­comes start­ing to in­crease, more buy­ers are com­ing to the ta­ble, said Jonathan Hill, a mar­ket­ing of­fi­cer for MRIS.

“It looks like peo­ple are try­ing to take ad­van­tage of prices be­fore they in­crease fur­ther,” Hill said. “There seems to be a lot of de­mand.”

Though the num­ber of ac­tive list­ings has tight­ened, sell­ers are tak­ing note of the price gains too.

In Anne Arun­del County, 81-year-old Perry Weed put his three-bed­room Anne Arun­del County town­house on the mar­ket last month. The re­tired at­tor­ney, who fol­lows the econ­omy closely, said he and his wife plan to move to Ten­nessee to be closer to fam­ily, but price gains also played a role in shap­ing their tim­ing.

“I think we’re at the top and if I’m go­ing to re­al­ize the max­i­mum value in my home, now’s the time to do it,” Weed said.

All six ju­ris­dic­tions in the Bal­ti­more metropoli­tan area saw growth in sales and prices. Bal­ti­more County had the big­gest an­nual ap­pre­ci­a­tion, with the me­dian price climb­ing 14 per­cent to $227,750. Sales vol­ume in­creased about 5 per­cent.

Car­roll County fol­lowed. There, the me­dian price jumped 11 per­cent year-overyear, reach­ing $294,000. Sales in­creased 11 per­cent.

In Bal­ti­more City the me­dian price was $123,000, up 10 per­cent from Septem­ber 2015, while sales also rose about 11 per­cent.

In Anne Arun­del County, the me­dian price was $315,900, up 9 per­cent from Septem­ber 2015. Sales climbed 7 per­cent.

The me­dian price in Har­ford County rose 6.6 per­cent year-over-year, to $239,750. Sales jumped more than 22 per­cent.

Howard County re­mained the most ex­pen­sive ju­ris­dic­tion in the re­gion. There was lit­tle change in sales, while the me­dian price rose 4 per­cent from last year, reach­ing $385,000.

Homes in the re­gion typ­i­cally sat on the mar­ket about 36 days, with the pace vary­ing from 28 days in Howard County to more than 40 in Car­roll and Har­ford coun­ties.

“The mar­ket’s con­tin­u­ing to go up but it’s still some­what se­lec­tive,” said Joseph “Jody” T. Lan­ders III, a Bal­ti­more real es­tate agent. “I think what’s helped is in­ter­est rates have stayed low and peo­ple seem to be a lit­tle more op­ti­mistic.”

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