Maryland – The Old Line State Forecasts a New Beginning
As recently as 2010, Maryland was the 10th-worst housing market in the country in terms of foreclosures. But in 2012, Maryland rebounded with eight consecutive months of steady improvement in median home prices. In fact, in December, 2012, statewide prices rose 9% from the year earlier. And for the entire year, sales increased by an impressive 5.5% over 2011. This was the largest increase in sales since 2009, when federal tax credits helped to generate sales.
Other indicators reflect this positive trend. In both November and December of 2012, home inventories fell below 6 months. This figure is important as experts generally establish the 6 month inventory component as a measurement of a healthy real estate market.
The Washington suburbs of Montgomery and Prince Georges counties fared even better than the state as a whole, with inventories at 2.1 and 2.7 in December 2012. Montgomery County led the state in median home price, up 7.5% since December, 2011.
Prince Georges County experienced 12% growth in median prices between 2011 and 2012. And while those prices remain below the statewide median levels, this is quite an accomplishment for a county that from 2006 to 2011 experienced a 47% drop in the average price of a home!
Baltimore and its surrounding counties experienced similar trends. For the first time since 2006, home inventories dropped below 10,000. And, between December 2011 and December 2012, home sales actually increased almost 13%. Condominium sales in Baltimore were even more impressive, rising 41.5% since December, 2011!
In Frederick County, foreclosures are beginning to decline. Combined with an increase in homes, market conditions in 2013 could lead to demand surpassing supply. And, with the rate of foreclosures dropping, builders are more confident to proceed with the construction of new homes.
Cleary a variety of factors contributed to Maryland's impressive housing market growth. The Old Line State clearly benefited from a rise in home prices, faster-paced sales, lower inventories, and, of course, historically-low mortgage rates.
Falling unemployment numbers are helping to drive Maryland's housing market. From a high of 8% in 2010, Maryland has seen a near steady drop in unemployment rates since then. As of December 2012, the rate rested at 6.6%, as opposed to the national average of 7.8%. Most notably, Bethesda, in Montgomery County experienced a 2.8% job growth rate in the first 12 months of 2012. Combined with low vacancy rates and a low foreclosure rate, Bethesda is ranked third of the nation's most healthy real estate markets.
And there's even more healthy news from Maryland! For the first time in recent years, the proposed state budget contains no drastic measures! In layman’s terms, that means no restrictive spending cuts and no tax increases. How is that for a reason to relocate to the Old Line State?!