Real estate prices show good variety

THE REAL ESTATE WONK

June 20, 2008|By JAMIE SMITH HOPKINS

If you're thinking of buying, it's useful to know where you can find homes in your price range. After all, it's hard to start seriously looking until you have some idea what neighborhoods you can afford.

Chances are, there's a home in your range somewhere in the metropolitan area. Whether it's a place you'd like to live - that's another matter. But a quick look at average sales prices in the last six months of last year shows a fair bit of variety:

Here are the number of ZIP codes in the Baltimore area and average prices:

* under $100,000: 4

* in the $100,000s: 9

* in the $200,000s: 27

* in the $300,000s: 31

* in the $400,000s: 15

* in the $500,000s: 14

* in the $600,000s: 4

* at $700,000 and above: 5

This analysis of Metropolitan Regional Information Systems data leaves out ZIP codes with few sales, because it's hard to get a handle on price in those areas.

Of the 109 ZIPs I crunched, about 40 percent saw a gain in average price versus the last six months of 2006. Fifty-three percent lost ground, and the rest saw no price change.

Here's a for instance: There were 19 ZIP codes with average prices in the $400,000s in the second half of 2006; that dropped to 15. The $200,00 range and the $300,000 ranges grew.

The vast majority - about 90 percent - had fewer home sales in the second half of last year than they did in the second half of 2006. That probably won't come as a surprise, considering that local sales have been dropping almost continually since the end of 2005.

You can see which ZIPs are in which average price ranges by going to baltimoresun.com/realestatewonk and clicking on the "How-to Mondays" link under Categories. Or go to mris.com/reports/stats to see how many homes were listed for sale last month in the ZIP codes you're considering.

Happy data diving.

Find Jamie's blog at baltimoresun.com/realestatewonk.

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