Local housing sales inventory continues to decline

 

For the fifth month in a row, inventory numbers decreased on the Lower Eastern Shore, according to the latest figures from the Coastal Association of Realtors.

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August 2016 showed an overall five percent decrease in new inventory in Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester counties, compared to the same time last year. Individually, single family home listings were down by 1.9 percent in Worcester County, by 7.8 percent in Wicomico County, and by 3.2 percent in Somerset County. Wicomico County saw a 21.3 percent increase in new condominium listings, while Worcester County saw the same number of condominium listings as the year before. Somerset County’s condominium listings decreased by a whopping 91.7 percent.

New contracts, or pending sales, were up overall in the Tri-County area by 19.4 percent, compared to the same time last year. New single family home contracts were up by 18.1 percent in Worcester County, by 27.9 percent in Wicomico County, and by 31.3 percent in Somerset County.

New settlements were down slightly, by four percent. Average days on market decreased by 13.2 percent and listing and settlement prices increased by 26 percent and 25.9 percent, respectively.

“We don’t generally anticipate a lot of settlements in late summer because everyone is either on vacation or getting ready to go back to school,” said CAR President Linda Moran. “But as we draw closer and closer to increased mortgage interest rates, we believe we’ll see more deals hit the settlement table.”

Last month, the Maryland Association of Realtors also reported decreased inventory and settlement numbers, citing the general public’s focus on vacations.

“We will see more listing and sales in the fall, which will result in a lot more activity for both sellers and buyers,” said MAR President Bonnie Casper. “We expect a vibrant autumn market.”

The National Association of Realtors are also reporting similar trends.

“Amidst tight inventory conditions that have lingered the entire summer, contract activity last month was able to pick up at least modestly in a majority of areas,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “More home shoppers having success is good news for the housing market heading into the fall, but buyers still have few choices and little time before deciding to make an offer on a home available for sale. There’s little doubt there’d be more sales activity right now if there were more affordable listings on the market.”

CAR’s monthly local housing statistics are pulled from the association’s Multiple Listing Service, which represents the activity of over 1,000 local Realtors in Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester counties.

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