There’s so much happening right now as far as the real estate market is concerned in Baltimore that people are anticipating to read. Let’s check out what’s the latest news in Baltimore’s real estate and business sector that every local must know about. For more news updates on Baltimore, visit https://www.dependablehomebuyers.com/maryland/baltimore
First up is an article written by Meredith Cohn in The Baltimore Sun about the latest home sales in Baltimore for the month of December, showing signs of slowing down despite its prices going high. Read the rest of the news below.
Baltimore Home Sales Slow in December Amid National Slowdown, But Prices Still Up
Amid signs of a national slowdown in the housing market, home sales in the Baltimore region dropped off in December, often a slow period anyway due to the holidays.
The number of homes sold last month fell 21.6 percent to 2,401 compared with December 2017, according to data released Thursday by MarketStats by ShowingTime based on listing activity from Bright MLS.
December marked the fourth consecutive month of declining sales and the largest year-over-year decline since November 2010 at the height of the housing crisis. The national slowdown reflects mortgage interest rates rising to seven-year highs, concerns about an economic slowdown, and increases in home prices outstripping wages.
Despite softening sales, the median housing price for the Baltimore region was $255,000 last month, up from the previous December price of $250,000, but below the November median of $264,700.
The median price for the year was also up about 2.7 percent to $266,000.
Home prices had been rising because of persistently tight inventory, peaking in June at $285,000 and then sliding amid the slowdown in the fall.
New listings in December were up 3.6 percent compared to a year ago, and active listings were up 3.9 percent from a year ago and the third month in a row of increases.
Homeowners were getting about 94.8 percent of their original list prices, dipping slightly from a year ago. See full post here…
While the sales went down this December, new house listings were actually up by a significant number of 3.6%, which is good news for those who are planning to buy a house in Baltimore. But with tight competition, real estate agents must think of some gimmicks to lure in buyers, as in the case of our next news feature.
Michelle Evans featured in her article in Baltimore Magazine about a local realty team that uses some playful props when it comes to selling homes. It was an awesome strategy indeed to get the attention of potential buyers. Read more of this awesome news below.
Local Realty Team Uses Playful Props to Sell Homes
Check out these listings to see some familiar, albeit unusual, faces.
Shopping for a home can be a challenge, but selling one in this economic climate is just as daunting. With so many homes on the market, they all begin to look the same (if you’ve seen one master bath picture, you’ve seen them all). The Dudley Frank Home Team in Hampden enlisted the help of some fictional, and mythical, characters to spruce up their online listings.
When Christina Dudley and her partner Michael Frank came across a dinosaur in a listing for a house in the Midwest, their interest was piqued. Dudley says she found herself going through the images to see what the dinosaur was going to do next.
“We thought that it would fit in really well with Baltimore,” Dudley said. “I mean Baltimore is a quirky city, and within Baltimore City you have Hampden, which is even more quirky. It fits right in.”
A home in the “quirky” Hampden neighborhood at 3508 Elm Avenue was the guinea pig. Instead of a dinosaur, the team went with the magical lure of a blow-up pink and white unicorn. The unicorn, which is portrayed by one of their team members, can be found throughout the home trying out the shower in the master suite, walking dogs in front of the house, and playing a lonely game of Twister in the basement.
“It’s a lot more fun and enjoyable for everyone to look at photos like that than your standard listing photos,” Dudley quips. “But it’s totally based on the seller if we do this.”
After great success with the “unicorn house” listing—which sold in just one day—Dudley says her team received more listings due to this unique approach. So far, notorious Christmas sourpuss The Grinch can be found in another Hampden home relaxing on a bed and doing laundry in the basement. Plus, the team put our favorite spandexed superhero, Spider-Man, in a Canton home scaling the walls and cooking in the kitchen.
Another agent had the Canton home on the market for a few months, sans Spider-Man, but once Dudley and her team acquired the listing, they added the superhero and it only stayed on the market for a week.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” she said. “I mean, obviously no one is going to buy a house because The Grinch is in the house, but it definitely gets it a lot of exposure.” Click here to read the rest of this post…
Despite all these, the only people of Baltimore wants is an affordable home, whether from the private sector or from the government. What’s more important is an affordable housing trust fund, which is the topic of our next news feature. Fern Shen wrote an article about a law proposed by Baltimore city council to fund the affordable housing trust fund. This is actually a very good proposal, read more below.
High Hopes as City Council Proposes to Actually Fund the Affordable Housing Trust Fund
A transfer tax increase bill has support from Council President, but no word yet from Pugh
Eviction drove Terrel Askew’s family from their West Baltimore home when he was seven. Over the next few years, they moved 11 more times.
As Askew tells it, the landlord had a $5,000 water bill on their Fulton Avenue building and the tenants, even the ones like his family who did not have big bill problems, were thrown out.
“Growing up, I’ve seen people create a bed out of their belongings and sleep on the ground and be struggling in the cold because they don’t want to go to a shelter,” said Askew, 31, an organizer with United Workers. “My family had to move in with relatives.”
That hard history was on his mind as he and other community activists were at City Hall yesterday to celebrate a major milestone: The introduction of legislation to pump $20 million into the city’s created-but-never-funded Affordable Housing Trust Fund.
“There are vacants in my community that have been around longer than I’ve been alive,” said Destiny Watford, a Curtis Bay resident who is working with the Greater Baybrook Community Land Trust.
“This fund is going to allow us to build housing that is community-driven. That all community members can afford and have a stake in.”
Bill 18-0221, introduced by Councilman John T. Bullock, has unanimous support from the Council and the blessing of Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young.
It would increase the city’s 1.5% transfer tax to 2.1% and the recordation tax from 1% to 1.4%. The increases would apply only to sales of rental property, not property meant to be owner-occupied.
The coalition group, Housing for All: Baltimore, estimates that the $20 million could fund the rehabilitation of 400 vacant houses a year and employ 1,000 people to do the work.
“It’s a huge building block to really lay the foundation for more equitable development,” said Matt Hill, of the Public Justice Center. “With all the TIFs and tax credits that go to big developments, we think it’s fair to have this small stream of revenue that goes to neighborhood development.”
“We don’t really have the time to wait, given the vacant housing in Baltimore, the blighted neighborhoods and the unaffordability as it relates to housing,” Bullock said at a press event to promote the legislation.
Waiting for Pugh
Advocates say residents already have been waiting too long given the history of the Trust Fund. And uncertainty about Mayor Catherine Pugh’s support for the measure makes it unclear how much longer the wait will continue.
Pugh’s spokesman has not responded to a query about her position from The Brew.
Baltimore’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund, approved by voters in November 2016, amended the city charter to create a fund to develop and maintain housing that low-income residents can afford.
The charter amendment, however, never designated a funding mechanism for it. Councilman Bill Henry tackled the problem in December with a bill that also creates a mechanism to fund affordable housing, using transfer tax fees.)
Henry’s bill, 17-0173, included owner-occupied property sales, while Bullock’s gains broader support on the Council by exempting them. (To make up the difference, Bullock’s bill more than doubles the amount of the increase on non-owner-occupied property transactions. Learn more here…
This is really good news for those who are low-income families in Baltimore that they can avail of this affordable housing trust fund, an opportunity for them to own a house without paying that much. Baltimore is indeed, becoming a place to visit for its booming real estate market.
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