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Baltimore metro home sales up, prices down

Last month was the best September in a decade for the Baltimore metro area in terms of closed property sales.

Despite double-digit growth in the amount of sales of every housing sector year-over-year, however, median prices for homes still dropped in September because of the amount of distressed sales, according to RealEstate Business Intelligence, an MRIS subsidiary. The firm defines the Baltimore metro area as Howard County; Anne Arundel County; Carroll County; Harford County; Baltimore County; and Baltimore.

Mario Valone, an agent with Berkshire Hathaway Homesale Realty who specializes in Baltimore and Baltimore County, said the housing market still varies submarket-to-submarket and warned against drawing conclusions from overall market numbers.

“I think it really depends on what market you’re talking about,” Valone said.

RealEstate Business Insider’s analysis found there were 2,964 closed sales in the metro area last month. That’s an increase of 17.9 percent from September 2014 but a 10.7 percent dip from this past August.

The condo market performed the best in September, with a 22.5 percent growth in sales, followed by a 21.2 percent increase in townhome sales. Detached homes were up by nearly 15 percent.

The overall September sales exceeded the five-year average by 25.4 percent and beat the 10-year average 28.8 percent.

The median sales price did not see a boost with increased sales, however. The median sales price of $235,000 was down by $9,700 from the year before. The median sale price for single-family detached homes was down 4.1 percent, while townhome prices remained steady at $175,000 and median condo prices rose 2.5 percent. But the total sold dollar amount increased from 13.4 percent last year to around $805 million, according to the report.

T. Ross Mackesey, president of the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors, said the lower median sales price is still a result of Maryland trying to work through a backlog of distressed properties. He said he expects that process to start working itself out because the foreclosure process is speeding up now that issues such as the state’s Wells Fargo lawsuit have been resolved.

“An individual property in a stable community is not selling for less today than it was yesterday,” Mackesey said.

Maryland’s Washington, D.C., suburbs also performed well in September. Median sales prices in Prince George’s County increased by 6.7 percent while Montgomery County experienced a slight uptick from $390,000 to $395,000.

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About Adam Bednar

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