Baltimore area home sales plummet in May amid pandemic

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Home sales in the Baltimore area plummeted in May, the steepest drop in a decade amid the pandemic, but record-low mortgage rates are pushing buyers into the housing market.

The number of homes sold fell more than than 24% to 2,872 compared with 3,787 closings in May 2019, according data released Thursday from Bright MLS, the region's multiple listing service. May's closings also were down 5% compared with April, according to the report compiled by MarketStats by ShowingTime.

"The area continued to contend with COVID-19 related concerns last month," the report said. "As well, signs of a weakening economy emerged as the preliminary April Baltimore metro unemployment rate rose to 10.4%."

The inventory of homes available for sale also plunged 38% to 6,296 as new listings dropped more than 31% to 4,440 properties, compared with May 2019, the report showed.

But buyers rushed in to take advantage of record-low interest rates, which averaged 3.15% on 30-year loans at the end of May. Homes stayed on the market for the second fewest number of days in the past decade, a median of 15 days.

In an indication of an improving market, new pending home sales jumped nearly 43% from April to May, the most significant month-to-month gain in a decade. And new listings were up more than 22% in May compared with April.

Home prices remained stable compared with the year-ago period, with the median sales price up less than a percentage point to $295,500, according to the report.

Tribune Content Agency
Purchase Housing market Mortgage rates Housing inventory Coronavirus Maryland