Housing-sales market continuing its growth trend in Montgomery, Frederick -- Gazette.Net


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The hot housing market in Montgomery and Frederick counties continued in March, with Montgomery posting a year-over-year jump in existing home sales for the eleventh month in the past year.

Frederick has seen increases in eight of the past 12 months, according to figures from the Maryland Association of Realtors. The median sales price reached $242,500 last month, a 7 percent increase from a year ago.

Median sales prices of homes in March hit $375,000 in Montgomery last month, up 9 percent from a year ago. That price was the highest for March since 2008, when the effects of the Great Recession were first being felt.

Montgomery’s rise in sales last month was 13 percent, greater than the 7 percent state increase. Frederick’s jump equaled the state rate.

The consecutive months of sales is good news, but the tighter supply bears watching, said Carlton J. Boujai Jr., an agent at Exit Realty Prosperity Group in Frederick and board president of the Maryland Association of Realtors.

The number of homes under contract was about the same in March as a year ago, while inventory statewide fell by almost 6,000 units. That includes about 1,000 fewer homes on the market in Montgomery than a year ago and some 150 fewer in Frederick.

“We are optimistic that we will see a healthy recovery of the real estate market in Maryland,” Boujai said.

The housing inventory level in Montgomery was down to a Maryland low of 2.0 months in March, meaning that it would take only two months to sell the 1,211 homes that were on the market at the current pace. A year earlier, the inventory stood at 3.6 months.

Frederick’s inventory dropped to 3.1 months in March, from 4.1 a year earlier. As a result, some homes are seeing multiple offers, Realtors say.

The low inventory of homes in Montgomery-Frederick and the Washington, D.C., region is a key factor in prices rising, but it could also be deterring many would-be sellers from listing their homes and moving, Corey Hart, senior product manager for RealEstate Business Intelligence, said in a report. “The low inventory continues to drive down the median days on market, which ... is the lowest of any month since September 2005,” he said.

Home remodeling companies, including those that buy homes to renovate and sell, are busier than ever.

“Remodelers nationwide are not only experiencing increased activity right now, but many have a backlog of projects well into the fall,” Tom O’Grady, chairman of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry’s planning and research committee, said in a statement. “This current condition is worlds away from March of last year and suggests that the recovery is beginning to gain speed.”

kshay@gazette.net