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Low Rates, Quick Sales Spur Borrowers to Pre-Qualify

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Now is the best time to secure your home loan as homes are selling quicker and prices are rising in Southern Maryland, reflecting a growth in rural home buying in Maryland through the pandemic and now into the fall home buying season.

Barry Friedman of Primary Residential Mortgage Inc. in California, MD, attributes this to both low interest rates and the growing attraction of rural living demonstrated during the pandemic.

“The most notable, but unsurprising, feature of the current housing market is the sharp rise in activity in rural areas,” said Maryland REALTORS® President John A. Harrison. Seven of Maryland’s rural counties have seen over 20 percent increases in average prices over last year. With the rise in working from home, commute times are less of a factor. That and the relative affordability of rural areas make urban and some suburban communities less attractive. “The pandemic has prompted individuals and families to re-imagine their housing requirements, often desiring home office space and more expansive outdoor living areas.”

The rise in prices in Southern Maryland are closer to the state averages in the 10 percent range. According to Maryland REALTORS®, data from June through August 2020 show both an increase in average and median home prices, and a decline in months of available inventory, not just throughout the state, but also echoing nationwide trends. “The average sales price increased year-over-year from $361,823 to $402,452 and the median price increased from $310,000 to $340,000, growth of 11.2 percent and 9.7 percent, respectively,” said Mr. Harrison.

Although the rising prices in Southern Maryland are approaching state averages as fall arrives, the shift to rural purchases did not send prices above the average during the June through August 2020 sales. During that time the average price a house sold for in Calvert County was $410,018 — up from  2019 average over the same months of $377,770 — an 8.5 percent increase. However, in August, Calvert home sales averaged $452,770 nearly a 19 percent increase from the average of $381,028 in August 2019.

Similar leaps are occurring in Charles and St. Mary’s counties as well. During the June through August time range Charles County homes sold for an average of $360,153, a 10 percent increase from $327,417 in 2019. However, as with the other Southern Maryland counties, Charles County’s average home price in August 2020 was $365,158.

In St. Mary’s County the average home sales price was $340,537 in June through August 2020, a 9 percent hike from the same time in 2019 which averaged $313,242. In August 2020 the average home sales price in St. Mary’s was $344,300.

While the attraction of rural homes increases the competition, Charles and St. Mary’s counties remain below the state average in sales prices. In August 2020 the average sale price for a home was $344,300 in St. Mary’s County and $365,158 in Charles. However, as throughout the state, houses are staying on the market for shorter periods of time than in prior years in all three Southern Maryland.

Mr. Harrison also said, “Months of inventory dropped 60 percent to just 1.4 months, compared to 3.5 last year, which is a historic low for the state. Moreover, the median days on market fell from 22 to 9 which aligns with stories we’ve heard of bidding wars and homes selling within hours of hitting the market.”

“We’re seeing the same patterns in Southern Maryland,” Mr. Friedman said. “We are working hard in PRMI’s California, MD, office to assure that pre-approved buyers can be in a position to move quickly on the home of their dreams.

To learn more about pre-qualifying for a home loan for your dream house, contact Primary Residential Mortgage is located at 23131 Three Notch Road, Suite 201, California, MD  20619; 301-737-0001.

To learn more about Primary Residential Mortgage Inc. in California, MD, visit its Leader member page.

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