For Immediate Release: April 11, 2017
The first quarter of 2017 statistics show strong home sales in the Southern Maryland region with a 9.4 increase, according to the Southern Maryland Association of REALTORS® (SMAR). The trend of modest price gains continued with a rise of 1.5 and 3.8 percent for average and median prices respectively. Homes under contract which have not reached settlement or pending units also grew by 3.5 percent as compared to the first quarter of 2016.
“Despite a slow start in January, we are very satisfied with the results in residential home sales for the first quarter,” said SMAR President Lisa Van Tassel. “While price appreciation continues to be modest, the rising number of sales attest to the fact that buyers are engaged.” Van Tassel went on to note. “We are hopeful that the trend of a stable market continues.”
Monthly housing statistics for Southern Maryland (Calvert, Charles & St. Mary's Counties) are compiled by data as reported by MRIS. For the purposes of this report, “units” are defined as the closed sales and “pending units” are properties under contract. Months of inventory are based on the current active inventory and monthly sales for the corresponding month.
The Southern Maryland Association of REALTORS®, is an affiliate of the Maryland and National Association of REALTORS®. We are proud to serve our members and our community and work to ensure professionalism in the industry. Our volunteers and staff work to offer services to real estate professionals and to provide avenues for our members to become more successful. We proudly work to promote and protect home ownership and private property rights.
2017 Southern Maryland 1st Quarter Statistics
The number of homes sold are those that have sold and gone through settlement---in effect the transfer of ownership has taken place. There has been a trend since the summer of 2015 of increased sales across the state and more specifically in the Southern Maryland region. In January, there was a modest rise in sales of 2.9 percent from the previous year with steady increases of 11.3 and 12.9 percent in February and March. By the end of the quarter, there was an average increase in homes sold of 9.4 percent from the first quarter of 2016. The growth in activity is a sign of a healthy market and reflects the fact that listed prices are in line with the market.
While the market has reached equilibrium with the number of units sold, the market in Southern Maryland continues to see adjustment in terms of average price. In January. there was a slight dip in average price of 1.8 percent followed by modest increases of 5.8 and 0.7 percent in February and March. Overall, there was a small rise in average price of 1.5 percent in the first quarter of 2017 as compared to the same quarter in 2016.
Because the median price is the number that is in the middle of all values, it is typically less than the average number. It can also be greatly impacted by wild fluctuations in prices overall especially in counties with small numbers of units sold. In the Southern Maryland area during the first quarter, the simple average for the first quarter increased overall by 3.8 percent between 2016 and 2017.
Pending units are defined as homes under contract but have not yet achieved settlement. In comparing the average for 2017 versus the same time in 2016, there has been an increase of 3.5 percent in this quarter. Without a doubt, there is a trend of more homes under contract. It certainly signals an increase in activity in the home sales market and a higher level of engagement from the year before.
Active inventory represents the number of homes that are currently on the market. The number of homes on the market for the first quarter of 2016 was 647, which has declined by 11 percent to 576 homes during the first quarter of 2017. For counties with a significant backlog of inventory, this decrease is a good sign. It means that buyers are clearly engaged in the market and this is further confirmed by the steadily growing number of homes sold in the first quarter of 2017.
Months of Inventory
Months of inventory is another way to measure the well-being of a local market and is closely tied to active inventory. Overall, six months of inventory is generally considered to be the gold standard for a healthy real estate market. During the first quarter of 2016 months of inventory in Southern Maryland was 6.2 months. By the first quarter 2017 months of inventory stood at 5 months---which is below the ideal but still an indicator of a robust market.