The Howard County housing market saw a 20.4% decrease in home sales last year, according to the recently released Howard County Association of Realtors 2023 Housing Report and Economic Forecast.

According to HCAR, which used data from Bright MLS, in 2023 real estate agents in Howard County sold 3,370 homes worth a total of $2.04 billion (down 15.5 percent from 2022). The County’s overall median sales price for 2023 was $555,000, up 6.7%t from 2022.

However, last year housing prices in Howard County fluctuated drastically; all prices are still significantly higher than previous years. In November, the median home sale price was $570,000, which is respectively higher than the previous month’s median price of $529,830 (October 2023), but lower than the 2023 high of $623,000 in June. The November 2023 median was also higher than the 2023 low of $470,000 in January.

In recent months, Howard County, with the mid-Atlantic region and the nation, has witnessed a notable rise in sales prices. Although this trend was especially prominent from the middle to the end of 2023, various zip codes were still affected differently. Notably, 20763 in Savage and 20723 in Laurel experienced significant increases of 27.2 percent and 20.2 percent, respectively. On the flip side, 21738 in Glenwood (-14.8 percent), 20777 in Highland (-10.6 percent), and 20759 in Fulton (-10.5 percent), saw decreases in prices.

Howard County saw 3,798 new listings come to the market in 2023, down 21.4 percent from 2022. It sustained relatively consistent active listing numbers in approximately half of its zip codes from December 2022 to December 2023. As a whole, Howard County’s active listings for December 2023 are just under last December’s figures by 1%, totaling 204.

However, attached townhomes and condos ended the year with higher active listings, while detached single-family homes were down 12.9%. While months of supply continue to be tight, there has been a steady upward trend during the last two years for all home types.

According to Freddie Mac, 2023 closed out with a 6.61% mortgage interest rate on a 30-year loan. Comparatively, 2018 closed out with a 3.99% mortgage interest rate on a 30-year loan.

City/ZIP codesEllicott City
Ellicott City
Units sold466462451417415
Median sale price$555,000$455,000$735,000$475,000$445,000
Top five active ZIP codes in Howard County, 2023 (Source: Howard County Association of Realtors)
City/ZIP codesSavage
West Friendship
Units sold16151471
Median sale price$470,000$1,230,000$1,022,000$800,000$300,000
Least active ZIP codes in Howard County, 2023 (Source: Howard County Association of Realtors)

The Home Demand Index score decreased once again in 2023 from 74% in 2022 to 62%, with the slowing demand trend following those of previous years; in 2022, the HDI score decreased from 128 percent in December 2021 to 74 percent in December 2022. Data indicates that certain zip codes have their own demand scores, but the number of units sold show that the supply does not meet the Howard County’s pent-up demand.

In 2024, the viability of the local real estate market will largely depend on the ability for the county to make inroads to the supply challenges, which directly influences the mortgage interest rate and overall affordability, and inventory availability. HCAR supports policy designed to address the housing shortage, particularly the shortage of middle-income housing. This “missing middle” population requires support through a variety of solutions, including Accessory Dwelling Units.

HCAR’s local housing statistics are pulled from the Bright Multiple Listing Service. Its service area includes Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and West Virginia.