(Pat Wellenbach/AP)

"I don't have to worry about trying to get a loan," said Wells, 40, a bill-processing technician who works in Annapolis. "That was the purpose of me searching in that price range. I could buy something, pay cash, and I could live in it and renovate at the same time."

Almost exclusivelya city phenomenon — very few homes in Baltimore's suburbs sold for less than $10,000 — it's a market that has expandedrapidly. More city homes sold for less than $10,000 between January and June than in all of 2009 and 2010 combined. Dozens of city neighborhoods had at least one such sale this year.

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