The Howard County Housing Market ended 2021 strong according to the Howard County Association of REALTORS (HCAR). HCAR released its 2021 Housing Report and Economic Forecast on Friday, April 1.

According to HCAR, REALTORS in the Howard County metro area sold 5,363 homes worth a total of $2.8 billion throughout 2021 and remained steady with increases in almost every category. When compared to five years ago, the average sale price of a home rose 24 percent to $543,319. The sold dollar volume increased 43 percent, units sold increased 17 percent, the average sold price increased 24 percent, and the average days on market for units sold decreased 84 percent.

According to Freddie Mac, 2016 closed out with 4.32 percent mortgage interest rate on a 30-year loan. 2021 closed out with 3.11 percent on a 30-year loan.

“The pandemic triggered historically low mortgage rates, thus greatly increasing market activity, while also exacerbating inventory issues that we struggled with even before 2020,” said HCAR President Sarah Anderson. “Mortgage rates are slowly recovering and have exceeded four percent for the first time since May 2019. This is not expected to significantly impact demand and we expect 2022 market activity to remain stable.”

“We are past the point of incredibly low mortgage rates,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS (NAR) during HCAR’s recent 2022 State of the Market event. Yun added that for those who were unable to take advantage of the three percent or below mortgage rate, they’ve missed out on the absolute bottom as mortgage rates are now on the rise. Last year, at this time, rates were at three percent, today they’re at 4.5 percent.

Yun said that according to HCAR’s housing data, Howard County’s closed sales were 237 at the end of February 2022. “Closing activity is down 7.1 percent so we are starting off the year a little lighter compared to last year,” he said. “I believe that one of the contributing factors is the rising of interest rates squeezing away some buyers.”