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Baltimore’s residential real estate market mixed

The residential real estate market in Baltimore continues to send mixed signals at year’s end.

Revenues from property taxes are greater than what the city anticipated, and that’s projected to continue. Participation in housing incentives aimed at promoting home ownership and attracting residents to the city are the highest they’ve been in years, and more residents are expected to take advantage of those programs in the current fiscal year.

But despite the positive figures released by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s administration in recent weeks, the Baltimore metro area still has among the highest foreclosure rates in the nation. That activity has increased sharply from last year.

On Friday, the administration released numbers touting the increase in residents who were able to take advantage of incentives aimed at helping residents become homeowners. In the last fiscal year, 724 residents were able to take advantage of those incentives compared to 277 in fiscal year 2011. City officials anticipate that number will increase to 834 residents in the current year based on a projection from the first four months.

During calendar year 2014, 13 police officers used incentives to purchase homes compared to between five and eight officers during the previous 12-month period. The Live Near Your Work Program will also help 192 home buyers, a 50 percent increase from prior years.

Property taxes generated $26.2 million in revenue during fiscal year 2014, and the city anticipates a $17.7 million net revenue surplus in the current fiscal year, which is due in large part to growth in property tax revenue. Increases in property tax revenues are an indicator of rising property values because taxes are based on an assessment of a property’s value.

But not all news regarding the local housing market is good.

According to a report from real estate data firm RealtyTrac, Baltimore had the third-,highest foreclosure rate among the 20 largest metro markets with a foreclosure filing on one out of every 576 housing units in November. Miami and Tampa had the highest foreclosure rates — one in 394 units with a filing and one in every 432 units with a filing, respectively.

Overall foreclosure activity in the Baltimore metro area jumped 22 percent year over year, one of the largest increases among the nation’s large metro areas. That figure is modest compared to the 71 percent increase in the New York City, 70 percent in Houston and 43 percent in Philadelphia metro markets.

A good portion of the increased foreclosure activity can be attributed to a mediation process require by state law. The law, which was passed following the 2008 economic collapse, has slowed the foreclosure process in Maryland, resulting in a backlog of foreclosures from the recession just now working their way through the pipeline.


Miami: 1 in every 394 housing units with a foreclosure filing

Tampa: 1 in every 432 housing units

Baltimore: 1 in every 576 housing units

Philadelphia: 1 in every 625 housing units

Chicago: 1 in every 716 housing units

Source: RealtyTrac

About Adam Bednar

Adam Bednar covers real estate and development for The Daily Record.