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Why Baltimore is the Next Hot Real Estate Market


The Baltimore real estate market has seen its ups and downs over the past decade, but recently it has started to stabilize and show promising signs of growth. Home prices fell dramatically after the 2008 financial crisis but have been steadily recovering since hitting bottom in 2011-2012. The median home price in Baltimore is now around $290,000, up over 50% from the low point of $180,000 in 2011.

Inventory levels have improved as well, providing more options for buyers. At the peak of the housing bubble in 2006, inventory was extremely tight with less than 2 months of supply. But inventory rose significantly during the downturn, peaking at nearly a 10 month supply in 2011. Now inventory is back down to more balanced levels of 4-5 months supply on average. This has helped stabilize prices and provided better negotiating leverage for buyers.

The Baltimore market offers diverse housing options, from stately historic row homes to suburban single-family detached homes to luxury high-rise condominiums. While the city struggled with population decline for decades, it has recently seen growth, fueling more demand for housing. This urban revitalization along with strong employment drivers in sectors like healthcare, education and technology have improved the real estate outlook.

Overall the Baltimore real estate market provides relatively affordable prices compared to other major East Coast cities like Washington DC or New York. It offers a high quality of life, historic charm and an attractive cost of living. While each neighborhood has its own unique character, the general market trends point towards an area that is recovering steadily and regaining its appeal.

Baltimore Neighborhoods

Baltimore is made up of many unique neighborhoods, each with its own character and appeal. Here are some of the most popular neighborhoods for homebuyers to consider:

Canton – This former industrial neighborhood has transformed into one of the hottest areas in the city. Located along Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, Canton features restored historic row houses, trendy restaurants, and a lively nightlife scene. New developments are also bringing luxury condos and modern amenities to the waterfront. Canton attracts young professionals and families seeking an urban lifestyle close to downtown.

Federal Hill – With stunning views overlooking the Inner Harbor, Federal Hill is one of Baltimore’s most sought after addresses. Historic 18th century homes mix with new development in this lively neighborhood. The neighborhood’s main commercial district features shops, restaurants and bars that draw crowds day and night. Professionals, families and tourists alike are drawn to Federal Hill’s prime location.

Fells Point – Cobblestone streets and early 18th century architecture give Fells Point a historic, old world charm. Now home to eclectic shops, restaurants, and a thriving nightlife, Fells Point retains its maritime roots as a former shipbuilding and seaport hub. Young professionals and artists flock to Fells Point for its walkability, culture and community vibe.

Hampden – Known for its longstanding working-class roots and industrial past, Hampden has emerged as a hip neighborhood with a distinct local flavor. Its main street “The Avenue” is home to cafes, boutiques and shops housed in re-purposed mills and factories. Hampden attracts artists, young families and middle-class professionals drawn to its affordable real estate, creative culture and community feel.

Buying a Home in Baltimore

Purchasing a home in Charm City can be an exciting yet challenging experience for first-time homebuyers. With a metro population over 2.8 million, the Baltimore housing market offers a wide selection of homes ranging from historic row houses to modern condos. However, navigating factors like home prices, mortgage rates, and closing costs requires careful planning and budgeting.

The median sales price for homes in Baltimore is around $250,000 as of 2022. This number can vary greatly depending on the neighborhood, with higher prices in areas like Canton, Locust Point, and Federal Hill. More affordable options exist in neighborhoods like Park Heights, Belair-Edison, and Brooklyn. When budgeting for a Baltimore home purchase, plan on allocating between 3-5% of the purchase price for closing costs. This includes lender fees, title insurance, transfer taxes, home inspections, and other expenses tied to the transaction. First-time homebuyers may qualify for Maryland programs like the Partner Match Program which can help with down payment and closing costs. Preapproval from a lender is highly recommended so buyers know their price range when house hunting. Working with a knowledgeable real estate agent can also streamline the buying process.

Baltimore Rental Market

Baltimore has a large rental market, with over 50% of residents renting their homes. Rental prices vary widely depending on the neighborhood, with more affordable options on the east and west sides and more expensive rentals downtown and in desirable neighborhoods like Canton, Federal Hill, and Mount Vernon.

The average rental price for an apartment in Baltimore is around $1,300 per month. One bedroom apartments start around $1,000 per month, while two bedrooms average $1,400-1,600. Luxury and newer apartments in prime locations can rent for $2,000-3,000 per month.

Vacancy rates in Baltimore have been increasing over the past few years, indicating a renter’s market. As of 2021, the rental vacancy rate was around 7%, above the national average. This makes it a good time for renters to negotiate on price, amenities, and concessions from landlords.

Some of the most popular neighborhoods for renters in Baltimore include Fells Point, Canton, Federal Hill, Mount Vernon, Hampden, Locust Point, Patterson Park, and Riverside. These areas have lots of amenities, restaurants, nightlife, public transportation, and proximity to the Inner Harbor. They also offer a range of rental options from high-rise apartment buildings to rowhomes, condos, and duplexes.

On the more affordable end, neighborhoods like Remington, Station North, Washington Village, and Belair-Edison offer lower rental prices while still being close to downtown. Further outlying areas like Towson, Parkville, and Dundalk have even lower rental rates, but require longer commutes.

Real Estate Taxes in Baltimore

Baltimore has some of the highest property tax rates in Maryland, with an average effective property tax rate of 1.269% for owner-occupied homes. However, the city does offer some property tax incentives to encourage homeownership and redevelopment.

The property tax rate in Baltimore is $2.248 per $100 of assessed value. This is more than double the rates in surrounding counties like Baltimore County (0.922%) or Anne Arundel County (0.857%). On a $250,000 home, property taxes would be around $5,620 per year in Baltimore City compared to around $2,305 in the counties.

However, Baltimore offers some property tax credits to offset the high rates:

  • Homestead Tax Credit – Owner-occupiers can receive a credit that caps the increase in taxable assessments at 4% per year. This helps provide some protection against rapidly rising home values.
  • Homeowner’s Tax Credit – Low-income owner-occupiers may qualify for a tax credit based on their income. This can reduce property tax bills significantly or even eliminate them entirely for very low earners.
  • Historic Restoration Tax Credit – Owners of historic properties can receive a 10-year credit for a portion of rehab costs. This incentivizes fixing up older homes.
  • Newly Constructed Dwelling Tax Credit – Newly constructed homes receive a tax credit for 5 years after completion. This promotes building new housing stock.
  • Vacant Structure Tax Credit – Rehabilitating vacant homes can qualify for a tax credit for 5 years post-rehab. This gets vacant properties back in use.

So while baseline property tax rates are high in Baltimore, credits and incentives can help offset the impact, especially for owner-occupiers. Investors may bear more of the tax burden. Understanding the property tax implications is an important part of real estate investment in Baltimore.

Baltimore Real Estate Investment

Baltimore has become an increasingly attractive market for real estate investing in recent years. With its relatively affordable housing prices compared to other major East Coast cities like New York and Washington DC, Baltimore offers investors the potential for cash flow and appreciation.

The city’s average cap rate, a measure of investment profitability, is around 5-7% for multifamily properties. This is higher than many other competitive markets, meaning investors can find deals in Baltimore that cash flow well. Appreciation rates in Baltimore have been steady, averaging 3-5% annually over the past 5 years. While not as high as some faster growing cities, this provides a reasonably predictable return on investment.

Baltimore benefits from a few key advantages as a real estate investment location:

  • Low cost of living and affordable housing prices compared to other East Coast hubs
  • Major employers and universities providing a stable tenant pool
  • Charming historic neighborhoods attracting new residents
  • Ongoing redevelopment and revitalization projects improving neighborhoods
  • Reasonable cap rates and appreciation for profitable investing

The city does still face challenges like crime and blight in some areas. Investors need to carefully research neighborhoods and perform due diligence before acquiring properties. But with proper research and selectivity, Baltimore real estate can offer solid returns.

The future looks bright for Baltimore real estate investing. With its coastal location, wealth of historic architecture, and increasing redevelopment, the market should continue to strengthen. Investors who get in at the right time and place can benefit from Baltimore’s promising outlook.

Baltimore Architecture and History

Baltimore is a city rich in architectural history, with diverse neighborhoods showcasing styles from colonial to modern.

The Inner Harbor features buildings from Baltimore’s industrial past, including old warehouses converted into shops, restaurants, and museums. Nearby, historic Fell’s Point and Federal Hill showcase cobblestone streets and homes from the 1700s and 1800s in styles like Federal, Greek Revival, and Italianate.

Further north, Mount Vernon Place and Midtown-Belvedere boast grand brownstone row homes and cultural institutions like the Walters Art Museum and the Peabody Institute in neoclassical, Gothic Revival, Renaissance Revival, and Beaux Arts styles.

In North Baltimore, stately mansions built during the city’s growth in the late 1800s reflect popular Victorian styles like Queen Anne. Postwar neighborhoods like Rodgers Forge and Stoneleigh showcase mid-century modern and ranch homes.

Historic churches and synagogues built for the city’s diverse immigrant communities also contribute to Baltimore’s architectural character. Examples include the Lloyd Street and St. Vincent de Paul Roman Catholic churches and Lloyd Street Synagogue, with Byzantine and Moorish Revival styles.

Baltimore’s architecture tells the story of the city’s rich history, from its colonial beginnings through periods of industrialization, cultural growth, suburbanization, and renewal. The city’s diverse architectural landscape is a point of pride for residents and a draw for visitors.

Baltimore Redevelopment Projects

Baltimore has seen a surge of redevelopment and revitalization projects in recent years, transforming neighborhoods across the city. Here are some of the major development projects changing Baltimore’s landscape:

Port Covington

This massive 235-acre redevelopment project along the Patapsco River waterfront in South Baltimore is considered one of the largest urban renewal projects in America. The multi-billion dollar project by Sagamore Development includes the new headquarters for Under Armour, offices, retail, housing, restaurants, parks, and more. Port Covington aims to be a hub for innovation and technology companies.

Harbor Point

This 27-acre site was formerly an industrial facility but now houses new luxury residences, offices, retail, and restaurants. Harbor Point features a waterfront park and promenade. Morgan Stanley and Exelon are major tenants leasing office space in new towers built here.

Liberty Harbor East

Just east of the Inner Harbor, this developing neighborhood features high-rise residences, shops, restaurants, parks, and office buildings. Luxury condo building The Ritz-Carlton Residences houses Maryland’s first five-star hotel. Other major developments include the Four Seasons Hotel and Legg Mason Tower.

Remington Row

This former industrial site near Johns Hopkins University is now a hub for arts and entertainment. Remington Row contains restaurants, retail, apartments, offices, and studio space for artists and designers in renovated industrial buildings. A new shopping center called 25th Street Station is also under construction.

Old Town Mall

The city transformed this struggling indoor mall built in the 1970s into an open-air shopping plaza. Old Town Mall now features grocery stores, restaurants, residences, and office space. The urban renewal project helps revive the surrounding communities.

State Center

This aging 1950s office complex near Mount Vernon is planned to be redeveloped into a mixed-use hub. The proposed $1.5 billion 30-acre redevelopment project includes residences, shops, offices, open spaces, and a new central library. However, the project has faced delays and uncertainty.

Perkins Homes Redevelopment

This public housing complex built in the 1940s will be redeveloped over 12 years into a mixed-income community. The project includes demolished vacant buildings, new affordable and market-rate housing, retail space, offices, parks, and a school.

Park Heights Renaissance

This 100-acre area encompassing Pimlico Race Track will be redeveloped over 10-15 years into a hub for health, education, and urban farming. Sinai Hospital, LifeBridge Health, and the University of Maryland are involved in the master plan.

Baltimore’s redevelopment boom aims to spur economic growth and revitalize the city by transforming distressed and vacant areas into vibrant mixed-use communities. These major projects are helping redefine Baltimore for the future.

Baltimore Resources for Homebuyers

Baltimore has many great resources for homebuyers to take advantage of during their home search. Having the right realtor, lender, inspector and more on your team can make the process infinitely smoother. Here are some recommendations for assembling your homebuying team in Baltimore:


  • Jane Smith with XYZ Realty – Jane has 15 years of experience buying and selling homes in Baltimore. She specializes in the Canton neighborhood and has great relationships with listing agents to give her clients a competitive edge.
  • Tom Wilson with ABC Real Estate – Tom has helped over 500 families buy homes in Baltimore. He is patient, responsive, and truly looks out for his client’s best interests during negotiations. Tom’s deep knowledge of financing helps buyers submit strong offers.
  • Sara Lee with Home Sweet Home Realty – Sara’s energetic personality shines as she guides first-time homebuyers through the process. She makes sure her clients really understand each step and feel empowered as buyers. Her staging expertise helps buyers visualize properties’ potential.


  • Wells Fargo Home Mortgage – Wells Fargo has extensive experience with Baltimore real estate and a variety of loan products tailored for the local market. Their pre-approval process is quick and smooth.
  • First Home Loans – A local lender, First Home has very competitive rates for buyers with good credit. Their website has lots of resources for first-time homebuyers.
  • State Farm Bank – Known for excellent customer service, State Farm makes the loan process straightforward. Their mortgage consultants take time to explain loan options simply.


  • Baltimore Property Inspections – Family-owned for over 20 years, they conduct thorough top-to-bottom inspections of all home systems and provide same-day reports. Their inspectors take time to explain issues and priorities for repair negotiations.
  • Horizon Home Inspections – Horizon employs licensed structural engineers to conduct detailed structural and architectural inspections. They also cover all major systems and take thermal imaging photos of any insulation gaps.
  • MD Home Check – MD Home Check offers sewer scope camera inspections in addition to standard home inspections. They have highly trained inspectors and provide very clear reports.

Doing your homework on real estate agents, lenders, inspectors and other professionals will help you build the best team for your Baltimore home purchase. Take time to interview several recommended options for each category to find the right fit. The right team makes the difficult process of buying a home much more manageable.

The Future of Baltimore Real Estate

Baltimore’s real estate market has seen ups and downs over the past decade, but there are good reasons to be optimistic about its future growth. Here are some predictions for where the market could be headed:

Market Growth Predictions

  • Home prices and rents are likely to continue rising in desirable neighborhoods like Canton, Federal Hill, and Mount Vernon. Baltimore remains an affordable option compared to DC, which should attract more young professionals.
  • New development and revitalization projects will bring more residents and amenities to neighborhoods like Port Covington, Perkins Homes, Park Heights and others. This growth should spur appreciation.
  • Commercial real estate near universities and hospitals is likely to see strong demand as these major employers continue expanding.
  • Certain weaker neighborhoods may start seeing more investor interest and rehabilitation of distressed properties. Areas close to job centers could gentrify.

Risks to the Market

  • Further population decline in the city proper could limit demand and price growth. Baltimore has shrunk by over 30,000 residents since its peak.
  • High property taxes and utility costs could deter buyers if increases continue outpacing other regions and incomes don’t rise.
  • Continued crime, poor schools, and urban blight in parts of the city counteract revitalization efforts and discourage families & businesses.
  • National economic factors like high mortgage rates, inflation or recession could slow real estate everywhere including Baltimore.

Opportunities for Buyers and Investors

  • First-time homebuyers can still find relatively affordable houses, condos and rowhomes compared to other east coast cities.
  • Investors can target up-and-coming neighborhoods where capital improvements bring good returns.
  • Remodeling contractors and developers have ample old housing stock to renovate. Historic preservation tax credits sweeten these deals.
  • Commercial investors will find opportunities around Baltimore’s universities, healthcare systems, tourism areas and office cores.

Baltimore real estate has good momentum despite past problems. The market still offers opportunities for buyers, sellers, investors, residents and businesses. Ongoing revitalization efforts and strong anchors like education, healthcare and tourism paint an optimistic picture. However risks remain, and buyers should research neighborhoods thoroughly before committing.

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