(Dec. 28, 2018) The economy is strong, but Maryland home sales in 2018 were suppressed due to higher prices, increasing mortgage rates and shrinking inventory.

According to data released by Maryland Realtors, home sales statewide were down 10.8 percent on a year over year basis.

Some counties fared better than others, and two local counties covered by the Coastal Association of Realtors experienced an increase in home sales on a September 2017 to September 2018 basis: Somerset (+38.5 percent) and Wicomico County (+5.7 percent).

Consistent with scarce housing inventory and a decent economy, average and median home sales prices have continued to trend higher.

In October (the most recently reported month by the Maryland Realtors), the average home sale price in Maryland stood at $325,715 representing a 0.9 percent increase from the same month one-year prior. Median home price was $279,000, a 0.5 percent increase on a year-ago basis.

Worcester County’s sales prices comparisons year over year did not show much movement.

For the month of October 2018, average sales price in Worcester County was $285,742 vs. an average of $285,579 in 2017.

The overall average sales price so far in 2018 in Worcester County (from the beginning of 2018 through October 2018) was $286,634.

The average months of inventory across Maryland was 3.8 months in October, and locally the breakdown for average months of inventory was: Worcester County—5.5 months; Wicomico—3.9 months; and Somerset—9.0 months.

Worcester represented a slight increase from 5.1 in 2017, but Wicomico and Somerset represented decreases, 6.2 and 10.8 respectively for 2017 average months of inventory.

The total number of units sold in Worcester County from January to October 2018 were 1,816.

By comparison, in 2017, there were 1,974 units sold representing an 8 percent decline for Worcester County in home sales or units sold.

The luxury market posted 22 sales over the $1 million mark. The majority of these homes were in the town limits of Ocean City and sales prices ranged from $1 million for an oceanfront 3 bedroom/3.5 bath condo in North Ocean City to $2 million for a bayside waterfront home in Sunset Island.

— Lauren Bunting is a licensed Associate Broker with Bunting Realty, Inc. in Berlin.

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