Montgomery, Frederick counties see best housing year since 2006 -- Gazette.Net


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Montgomery and Frederick counties saw their best years of existing-home sales since pre-recession 2006, according to figures released Monday.

The number of existing homes sold in Montgomery last year eclipsed the 11,000 mark for the first time since more than 13,000 homes were sold in 2006, according to figures from research firm RealEstate Business Intelligence. In Frederick, the number of homes sold almost reached 3,000, the best year since about 3,700 in 2006.

Continued low inventory and relatively low interest rates were among the factors for the improved local housing market last year, said Carlton J. Boujai Jr., an agent at Exit Realty Prosperity Group in Frederick and past board president of the Maryland Association of Realtors.

Interest rates have climbed a little in recent months, with the benchmark 30-year fixed mortgage rate at 4.46 percent Monday, according to Bankrate.com’s national survey. The average 30-year fixed mortgage was about 3.6 percent a year ago.

“Interest rates are not as low as they were a year ago, but that’s still a great rate,” Boujai said. “A year ago, they were actually artificially low.”

In Montgomery, home sales last year climbed 9.5 percent from 2012 to 11,051, while they jumped 12.5 percent to 2,997 in Frederick.

The median sales price rose again from a year ago in December in Montgomery, something that category did every month in 2013. The median sales price last month was $386,000, up 7 percent from a year earlier. The median price in Frederick declined 10 percent last month to $238,500, with December only the second month to see a decline in 2013.

The average number of days a home remained on the market in Montgomery continued to fall by 13 percent in December to 53 days. Inventory increased in December, as more people put their homes on the market.

In Frederick, new listings in December were up 26.5 percent from a year ago. The average number of days a home remained on the market in Frederick fell by 41 percent to 49 days, which was even lower than Montgomery.

“Even with this increase [in investory], supply remains tight,” analysts with RealEstate Business said in a report. “In the upcoming year, it’s possible that rising interest rates and inventory may flatten some of the price growth.”



kshay@gazette.net