Baltimore sits on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, roughly 40 miles northeast of the nation's capital. It is Maryland's largest city, home to an estimated population of 623,000 as of 2014, up slightly from 621,000 according to the 2010 census. The median household income in Baltimore is roughly $41,800, and the owner-occupied housing rate stands at 47.2%. Although the city is mostly surrounded by Baltimore County, it operates separately as a politically independent city, the largest in the United States. In contrast to many large cities across the country, the Baltimore real estate market avoided a significant downturn in the wake of the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008. However, the event marked the start of a long period of relatively flat prices in the market that continues in 2016.

Market Insights

A short-lived 2009 dip in the Baltimore real estate market brought the median price for residential property in the city to a low near $150,000. Median prices snapped back in the second half of the year, however, going on to set a new all-time market high just below $200,000. The following year ushered in a softer market, and median prices declined to a level between $170,000 and $180,000, where they would remain for several years. Beginning in 2012, the market began to show clear seasonal fluctuations characterized by annual lows in prices and sales volumes in the winter and highs in August or September. In summer 2013, the market set a new high, recording a citywide median home price of $203,000. Prices turned down through the winter, however, reaching a low of $170,000. Seasonal fluctuations have continued within this range every year since. Sales volumes exceed 2,500 homes per month in the summer and drop to below 2,000 in the winter.

Property and Transfer Taxes

In Maryland, property taxes provide funding for state, county and municipal government entities and for certain local services provided by special taxing districts. For the 2015-16 tax year, Baltimore homeowners pay a combined standard property tax rate of roughly $2.25 per $100 of assessed property value. This figure includes all property tax obligations except those imposed by a handful of special taxing districts within the city. In Maryland, all real property is assessed at fair market value once every three years. When a property value rises, the increase in value is phased in over the following three years. Thus, an assessment that shows an increase in value of $30,000 is phased in at $10,000 per year for three years. The assessment process then repeats itself.

Baltimore imposes a transfer tax of 1.5% on the market value of a real estate transaction. The state of Maryland imposes an additional tax of 0.5%, for a combined standard rate of 2%.

Most Expensive Neighborhoods

The most expensive neighborhoods in Baltimore are found in the north of the city. In the 21212 ZIP code, which includes the areas north of Loyola University Maryland, the overall median home price was $278,000 as of March 2016. Immediately to the west, Roland Park, Wyndhurst and other neighborhoods north of Johns Hopkins University in the 21210 ZIP code combined to produce an overall median price of $249,000. In both areas, median prices have peaked above $300,000 during the summer season in recent years. Closer to the city center, the neighborhoods in the 21230 ZIP code, including Riverside, Federal Hill and Locust Point, recorded a combined median price of $248,000.

Top Real Estate Websites

Baltimore's leading daily newspaper, the Baltimore Sun, is a great source for regular news coverage and analysis of local and regional real estate markets. The newspaper maintains an online real estate portal providing access to its regular reporting, as well as local property listings. Its website is at BaltimoreSun.com. Although targeted mostly at professional real estate agents, the Maryland Association of Realtors offers free local real estate market data, including monthly reports covering market trends in Baltimore and cities across the state. The association's website is located at MDRealtor.org. Local property listings are also widely available through national websites, such as Redfin and Trulia, and from numerous websites maintained by local area real estate agents.

Charlotte Real Estate Market

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