The following analysis of the Baltimore, MD and Washington, D.C. Metro Area housing markets have been prepared by RealEstate Business Intelligence (RBI), and is based on October 2012 MRIS housing data. Click here to view the full releases.
DC Housing Market Demand Picks Up; Sales, Pending Contracts, Median Price Gains Indicate Active Buyers
Demand has picked back up in the Washington DC metro housing market in October following a typical September slow down. Sales, new pending contracts, and median price gains are all above their 10-year average change from last month, an indication that buyers are still active in the market. All market indicators are above last years levels, and many are at multi-year October highs. The mild temperatures experienced in October could be playing a role as evidenced by a 7-year high for new pending contracts. Buyers appear to be drawn towards townhomes and condo units, as the proportion of new contracts on single-family homes is the lowest it has been in 2 years. This could be due to the lower price points of these properties as well as location preferences of the active buyer market. Median prices are up in the region, posting the highest year-over-year price gain in nearly 7 years.
The inventory of homes for sale continues to fall, which is playing a role in the price gains. Active listings are nearly half of their level 2 years ago, and new listings for October are at their lowest point in over a decade. Townhomes continue to gain traction in the market, posting the highest median price growth and new contract growth of all property segments. Despite the rising prices, it is unlikely that the region will see an influx of active listings as we close out the year. Many would-be sellers are still facing equity losses, and economic uncertainty remains a concern.
October Sales Numbers Down for Single-Family Homes; Condo Sales Rise, Gain Traction
The Baltimore Metro housing market remains stronger than last year, but a seasonal slow-down is taking place throughout the region. Sales numbers declined from last month, with the sharpest drop occurring in the single-family home segment. Condo sales, on the other hand, rose, which could be due to their lower price points. Proportionally, condo sales continue to grain traction within the market, which could suggest a change in location preferences in the active buyer market. It also could be a result of loosened FHA regulations regarding the required percentage of owner-occupied units for condo financing. Sales prices have flattened in many areas of the region, which is likely a result of cooler demand. New contract activity is a bright spot this month, with numbers exceeding the average month-to-month growth rate from September.
The mild temperatures in October could be playing a role in both the increase in new contracts as well as the slowed decline of new listings. New listings for townhomes are up compared to last year, and are at the same level for condos, which could signal a changing inventory pattern. The low inventory continues to have an impact on the market, and active listings are still shrinking relative to last year. Despite the new listings, it is unlikely that the region will see an influx of active listings as we close out the year. Many would-be sellers are still facing equity losses, and economic uncertainty remains a concern.