Reading through the monthly reports regarding Anne Arundel County’s real estate sales, it’s easy to understand Realtors’ optimism.
Each month in 2016 shows growth over the same period in 2015. Houses are on the market for fewer days. Starter homes and mansions are selling in greater volumes.
This is significant because it was just last year that the county saw its busiest selling period in a decade with 8,101 homes sold.
This fact did not elude Rick Rall, the president of the Anne Arundel County Association of Realtors.
“Inventory of homes for sale has decreased in almost every price range, and is at just over four months’ supply,” he said. “Six months is consider(ed) a ‘neutral’ market, so the market is starting to favor the sellers.”
So why is the market so strong?
Survey data from mid-Atlantic real estate professionals reveals 57 percent predicted this spring would be busier among homebuyers and sellers than spring 2015. Their optimism was largely based around first-time homebuyers, however.
“In line with national trends, 88 percent of MRIS real estate professionals predict that there will be as many or more first-time homebuyers entering the market this spring compared to last year,” the group said in a statement.
While that may be true for the greater region, Rall sees it differently for Anne Arundel.
“The numbers are strong across the board and there’s no fluff in that,” Rall said.
Take May’s sales numbers, for example.
With 862 homes sold, it was the second highest total in over 20 years, Rall said.
During that month, homes that sold between $1 million and $2.5 million rose by 167 percent over the same period last year, from six to 16.
That may not seem like a huge volume increase, but if it were true millennials buying their first homes are driving the majority of sales, that increase would be more concentrated around homes sold for $300,000 or less, Rall said.
Instead, MRIS’s numbers show increases in homes sold between $500,000 and $600,000 were proportionally larger than those between $200,000 and $300,000. That’s an indication those who are looking to upgrade are being just as aggressive in the market as those entering it for the first time.
Veronica Lawson, a Realtor with Keller Williams, said sellers are reaping the benefits of a tightened market.
“The properties that I’ve sold recently have had multiple offers on them,” she said.
She added there’s also been an influx of home buying loans helping to pay mortgages for active duty veterans, saying “my last three properties (sold) have been (to) active duty veterans.”
Rall said the across the board increases could be due to a number of factors.
A report by The Mortgage Reports said between January and March, “a greater number of mortgage lenders reduced their loan approval standards than those which increased them.” It was the eighth straight quarter this was the case, the website reported.
And neither Rall nor Lawson said their sold homes are concentrated in one area. A fertile market for purchasing seems to be motivating those looking for properties in urban areas like Annapolis and in rural settings in south county.
The two Realtors also said a fear of mortgage rates rising come fall could be spurring buyers as well.
Rates are at three-year lows and fears that action from the Federal Reserve could drive up those numbers in upcoming months could be causing more people to buy now.