Jody Landers knows the Baltimore market better than anyone. As Executive Vice President of the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors, he has the stats and the lowdown on what's happening in Central Maryland real estate.
We talked the other day when we both were guests of Terry Stafford on the radio show, All About Real Estate. The GBBR works with the National Association of Realtors® on surveys of buyers and sellers, and Baltimore stood out on several counts.
First, we learned that overall the Baltimore market is doing very well, and even though sales volume has gone down since last year, prices are holding up. In 2006, the average price of a home in Central Maryland was $316,000, and in 2007 it is $312,000 – a drop of only 1%. That's great news for sellers, even though houses are staying longer on the market.
For buyers, the affordability of houses is very good compared to our nearby neighbors in the Washington, DC metropolitan and Northern Virginia area. The average home in DC is selling at $528,000, and in Northern Virginia it's even higher at $549,000. Compare those to two properties I have listed right now that are in walking distance to the Light Rail, and are priced in the $200,000 range.
Jody had some interesting news about who is buying in our area. We learned that young, single people – especially young women – are seeing the benefits of living in Baltimore, and are buying homes at twice the national average. Last year, 40% of Baltimore homes were sold to single females and 16% to single males. Overall, we are seeing many people under 35 buying homes in Baltimore City where they can find an affordable price and the lifestyle they enjoy. In 2006, 55% of buyers in Baltimore City were single people of all ages.
City living can mean finding an older home that needs some work. Jody told us about Healthy Neighborhoods (http://www.healthyneighborhoods.org/) that focuses on older areas with special financing available for both buying and rehabbing homes in those neighborhoods. Some of these areas have marvelous large homes that need work, like the ones pictured here, but as he pointed out, that's how a buyer can build equity and long-term value.
What's ahead for the Baltimore market? We don't know yet the full effect of the BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure) changes, but clearly it will bring new jobs and new demand for housing to the Baltimore area, from Ft. Meade to Aberdeen. In the meantime, the sellers in Baltimore are seeing their prices hold up, and buyers have many options throughout the metro area.