Baltimore-area home sales continued rise in February

But prices dropped almost 4 percent from year earlier

March 10, 2010|By Jamie Smith Hopkins | jamie.smith.hopkins@baltsun.com

Home sales in the Baltimore metro area continued to rise last month -- and prices continued to drop.

The average sale price was about $271,200, a drop of almost 4 percent from a year earlier, Metropolitan Regional Information Systems said Wednesday. The number of homes changing hands rose almost 10 percent, to just under 1,200.

But pending deals -- contracts signed in February -- showed their smallest year-over-year increase in months, less than 7 percent. Pending deals had been rising at a double-digit clip as buyers reacted to the federal government's enticement, an $8,000 tax credit for first-time purchasers. February's flagging activity comes just before the usually brisk spring selling season.

Buyers hoping to qualify for the $8,000 have until April 30 to sign a contract and June 30 to close.

Sales rose in most of the region, and particularly strongly in Baltimore, which recorded a 25 percent jump over February 2009. The only drop came in Harford County, down about 3 percent.

Average prices fell about 2 percent in Anne Arundel County; 3 percent in Harford County; 6 percent in Howard County; and 11 percent in Baltimore. Prices rose 1 percent in Baltimore County and 2 percent in Carroll County.

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