In much of the country, home prices have been rising, but they are beginning to see slower growth, according to the Zillow Home Value Index. In contrast, Howard County has once again proven to be a truly unique market, impervious to national trends. Home values here continue to rise.

The average sold price in Howard County saw a big jump in July, coming in at $464,732 versus $434,098 for the month of June and $429,599 in May. That's more than a $30,000 monthly increase in price.

Detached homes with four bedrooms or more made a big jump in average sold price from $572,473 in June to $619,255 in July, an incredible difference of $46,782.

The average sold price of three-bedroom detached homes jumped from $370,881 in June to $381,715 in July. Three-bedroom condos and townhomes had an average sales price of $331,639, which is a stable and small decline from $333,301 in June, and $337,360 in July 2013.

Two-bedroom townhouses and condos saw a dramatic change in average price month over month, with an increase of $31,550! The average price for a two-bedroom townhome in June was just $209,200, but was up to $240,750 in July.

"The huge change in prices for condos and two-bedroom townhomes reflects who is buying these types of properties," says Mike Haeffner, a senior loan officer at Embrace Home Loans in Frederick, Md.

"Individuals buying their first home and couples downsizing from single-family homes are both looking for this type of housing. As a result, you have two entirely different demographics purchasing the same type of housing for entirely different reasons. You can have a 25 year old and a soon-to-be retired couple vying for the same property."

Year over year, the $240,750 average sale price is a modest increase over $236,604 in July 2013.

There were 622 new listings added in July, compared to 509 in July 2013. That's a year-over-year increase of 22 percent. Active listings rose to 1,321 in July this year compared to 918 active listings in July last year—an increase of nearly 44 percent.

Realtor Deanna Cammarata of The McKenna Group of WEICHERT, REALTORS® — New Colony attributes the jump to winter's hash weather, which kept buyers and sellers out of the market.

"The winter kicked our butts, and the spring season got a late start," Cammarata says. Many Realtors say the spring buying season begins the weekend after the Super Bowl, but in Central Maryland we were still dealing with heavy snow on Saint Patrick's Day.

Michael McKenna, vice president and associate broker of WEICHERT, REALTORS® — New Colony, believes that the later-than-usual upswing in the numbers may continue into the generally calm fall selling season.

The average days on the market increased from 39 days on average in July 2013, climbing to 47 days this July. Still, of the 355 units sold in July, 158 of them sold in 20 days or less. It may be that greater inventory, reasonable interest rates and the rising cost of renting are pushing first-time buyers into the market. "This year's fall market is ripe with opportunity," McKenna says.

June to July was a wild ride, but it is important to look at the bigger picture. Cammarata points out that even though prices were climbing month to month, the number of units and overall sales dollars volume actually decreased for July, year over year. There were increases in both from July 2011 to July 2012, as well as July 2012 to July 2013.

All data provided by Real Estate Business Intelligence, LLC.

Call The McKenna Group at (410) 381-3336 to learn more about the market in Howard County and to find out the value of your home.

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