Existing home sales in Maryland continued to rebound in June with a 2 percent jump from a year ago, according to figures from Metropolitan Regional Information Systems and the Maryland Association of Realtors. Sales in the first six months were 1.3 percent higher than in the first half of 2011.
The median sales price also increased from a year earlier for the fifth consecutive month in June. The median price was about $269,000 in June, 8.5 percent higher than a year ago.
That’s the highest monthly figure in almost three years and the first time the state has seen five consecutive months of year-to-year median price increases since before the Great Recession hit in late 2007, according to state officials.
“Everyone I hear from continues to say they are busy,” said Carlton J. Boujai Jr., board president-elect of the Maryland Association of Realtors and an agent at Exit Realty Prosperity Group in Frederick. “That’s a good thing. We continue to plug along.”
July sales typically dip because people are on vacation, Boujai said.
“It’s been a little slower in our office this month than last month, but that’s to be expected,” he said.
Recent power outages also put a bit of a damper on sales activity, said Dennis Melby, vice president for Montgomery County with the Maryland Association of Realtors and an agent with Long and Foster’s Bethesda Gateway office.
“It’s a little slower in the summer than the spring, but June was still a good month for us,” he said.
Some properties in Montgomery are seeing multiple offers or buyers offering slightly more than asking price, Melby said.
Montgomery County posted the highest June median sales price in Maryland, $413,000, up 8 percent from a year earlier. Frederick had an 11 percent rise to $244,000, while Prince George’s County saw a 5 percent uptick to $177,000.
Baltimore city recorded the largest increase in median sales price to $143,000, while Garrett County in Western Maryland saw the biggest drop of 36 percent to $190,000.
The price increases relate to tighter inventory and fewer foreclosures and short sales, Lawrence Yun, chief economist with the National Association of Realtors, said in a report.
Continued low interest rates are getting more people out to buy, agents and brokers say. The average 30-year mortgage nationally dropped to a record-low 3.53 percent this week, down from 4.52 percent a year ago, according to a report by government-backed mortgage entity Freddie Mac.
Throughout suburban Maryland, houses are selling in two or three months, while inventory has tightened significantly. In Prince George’s, inventory was down 51 percent from a year ago, while inventory was down 30 percent and 25 percent in Frederick and Montgomery, respectively.
In Montgomery, the average days on market was 56 in June, down from 62 a year ago. That declined to 85 days from 99 in Prince George’s and to 81 days from 101 in Frederick.
Statewide, inventory was down 27 percent in June from a year ago, while pending sales rose 4 percent.
Last month, the state started a program to provide a 2.875 percent interest rate to homebuyers in Baltimore city, Garrett and some other counties. The state also has a new program to help veterans and military families purchase a home with lower interest rates and assistance on down payment and closing costs.