New home closings declined year-over-year in February in the Baltimore, MD market, but the market seemed to be hinting at improvement with a percentage decline less steep than in January 2016. Closings went from 221 in February 2015 to 220 in February 2016. This came after a 27.4% decline in January from the year earlier.

A total of 3,828 new homes were sold during the 12 months that ended in February, down from 3,829 for the year that ended in January.

Of the total number of closings, new home closings made up 7.8%. A year ago, 7.3% of total closings were new home closings. Closings of new and existing homes slid year-over-year in February after also falling in January year-over-year.

Pricing and Mortgage Trends

In February, there was a 2.7% bump year-over-year in the average price of newly sold homes, reaching $489,788 per unit. This rise is smaller than the 5.1% surge in January year-over-year.

There was a lift year-over-year in the average mortgage size on new homes along with new home prices. In February 2016, there was a 6.3% lift in the average mortgage size, reaching $426,571. In January 2016, average mortgage size on newly sold homes saw a 3.1% gain year-over-year from a year earlier.

Other Market Trends

As a share of new home closings, single-family home closings have climbed from last year while the share belonging to attached units has fallen. The share of new home closings belonging to single-family homes increased from 48.0% in February 2015 to 50.5% of closings in February 2016. Meanwhile, attached units as a percentage of all new home closings fell to 49.5% of closings from 52.0% of closings.

There was a 8.9% fall year-over-year in the average unit size of newly sold homes to 2,722 square feet in February 2016. For newly sold homes, an average size decline contrasting with an average price boost was also seen in January 2016 when the average size of newly sold homes sank 6.6% to 2,674 square feet. In January, the average size of new homes sold went from 2,863 square feet a year earlier to 2,674 square feet.

Foreclosures and real estate owned (REO) closings fell in February from a year earlier, but stayed a drag on the market. Out of all existing home closings, foreclosures combined with REO closings represented 31.9% of closings, below 44.9% a year earlier. The percentage of existing home closings involving foreclosures fell to 7.9% in February from 23.0% a year earlier while REO closings as a percentage of existing home closings gained to 24.0% from 21.9%.

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