Baltimore Sun

Baltimore-area housing market shows signs of cooling

- By Hallie Miller

After more than a year of dizzying demand, the Baltimore-area real estate market is showing signs of cooling down.

Fueled by the coronaviru­s pandemic, housing prices skyrockete­d in Maryland and elsewhere as supply dipped to record lows. National worker shortages, constructi­on pauses and the high cost of materials all contribute­d to the phenomenon.

The market faced uncertaint­y starting in mid-March 2020, when the pandemic stopped the economy in its tracks and forced people to stay home. But the real estate market rebounded quickly by early summer, with prices increasing and properties selling within days and often out of bidding wars.

But in September, demand for homes decreased, according to Bright MLS, the region’s multiple listing service. The company uses a tool called the T3 Home Demand Index to measure demand and found that the number of people seeking out homes fell more than 6% in a month and 12% since last year.

That drop could reflect changing consumer attitudes toward the market, said Lisa Sturtevant, a consulting economist to Bright MLS.

“We’re getting to a point now where affordabil­ity is hitting buyers,” Sturtevant said. “We’re seeing those price points are getting to a point where they’re putting housing out of reach for some buyers.”

Here are additional insights extracted from September’s Bright MLS housing market update:

Median sales prices

The median sales price for Baltimore-area homes reached $340,200 in September, up more than 6% from a year ago but down slightly from August, according to data provided by MarketStat­s by ShowingTim­e based on listing activity from Bright MLS. Median means half the homes sold for more than $340,200 and half sold for less.

Some counties saw higher median sales prices than the overall median, including Howard ($450,000), Carroll ($405,000) and Anne Arundel ($415,000) counties, yet only Howard County’s median decreased from September 2020, but only by about 2%.

Median price growth was highest in Baltimore County at 15.1% to $305,000 over a year ago, and Baltimore City, up 10.5% to $210,000 since last year.

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