The trends of low inventory, high prices and quick-selling houses stayed strong through the end of 2020, according to a new report from Maryland Realtors.
The current months of inventory has fallen from 1.2 in November 2020 to 1.0 in December. Months of inventory indicates the number of months it would take for the current inventory to be completely depleted if no new listings were to be added based on the average rate of sales from the past 12 months.
That means that if Marylanders stopped listing homes on Dec. 31, 2020, there would be no homes left by the end of January. By comparison, the months of inventory in December 2019 was 2.6.
Homes continue to sell at record speeds. A house stayed on the market in Maryland for a median of nine days in 2020 compared to 26 days in 2019. That number is even shorter in Frederick County, where houses were only on the market for a median of six days in December.
“Most pretty much everything that’s coming on the market is going under contract within days if it’s priced appropriately and the condition is good,” said Jennifer Grove, owner of Bach Real Estate in Frederick.
Low mortgage rates are boosting the number of sales in Frederick County and beyond. In December 2020, 536 homes were sold in Frederick County, a 53.1 percent increase from December 2019’s 350 sales.
The low inventory has caused sales prices to skyrocket. Grove said sales prices increased by 9.14 percent between 2019 and 2020. December saw a 14 percent increase, according to data from Maryland Realtors.
As of Jan. 26, there were 315 homes on the market in Frederick County, of which about half were new construction. Comparatively, there were 867 homes on the market in January 2019, Grove said.
“It’s always been a good portion of our inventory, but half is crazy,” Grove said. “That’s incredibly challenging because the homes that are new construction right now that need to be to be built aren’t going to be ready until October or November.”
Dee Dee Miller, president of Maryland Realtors, echoed the sentiment in a press release.
“Every county needs additional homes on the market, and this inventory needs to come from sellers, as new home construction will not come soon enough to address this situation,” she said.
The winter is typically real estate’s slowest season, as sellers work to get their houses ready to list in the spring. That doesn’t seem to be the case this year, however, Grove said.
“If they’re thinking of selling they should be calling their realtor and listing their home now,” Grove said. “The spring market has already sprung.”
The current market conditions largely expected to last for the next year or two, Grove said.
Grove also said that buyers who are interested in purchasing right now should reach out to a realtor and be willing to see new listings on a moment’s notice. Realtors can also help give prospective buyers information about properties that are coming soon, but not officially listed yet.
“There’s no waiting until the weekend when they’re off work,” Grove said. “This needs to be a priority in their calendar as well.”