Area housing market steady, report shows

September 20, 1990

A new study shows that the Baltimore housing market held steady in the first half of the year.

Single-family home sales dropped 1 percent from 19,551 in the first half of 1989 to 19,395 in the first six months of 1990, according to a report compiled by Rufus S. Lusk & Son Inc. Condominium sales rose 16 percent from 2,534 in the first half of 1989 to 2,936 during the period in 1990.

Median sale prices of single-family homes in the area rose 3 percent from $117,905 in 1989 to $121,838. Condominium prices increased 8 percent from $84,042 to $91,165.

The median price indicates an equal number of homes cost more and an equal number cost less.

The single-family homes include detached units, townhouses and duplexes. The figures reflect both new sales and resales.

"The typical property may be on the market somewhat longer, and the typical real estate transaction may be requiring a lot more effort to get to settlement, but the good news is that the market held steady in the first half of 1990 despite a barrage of pessimistic reports," said Rufus S. Lusk 3rd, president of the Lusk company.

The strongest market for single-family houses was Harford County, where the number of homes sold in the first half of 1990 was 12 percent greater than at the same time a year ago. The weakest market appeared to be in Anne Arundel County, where the number of sales declined by 10 percent.

The most expensive area is Howard County, where the median house is selling for almost $190,000 -- a 9 percent increase over a year ago. The median price of a house in Baltimore is $55,000.

The figures for the Baltimore area contrasted sharply with the company's findings in the Washington area. The number of single-family homes sold in the first six months of 1990 declined 14 percent compared with a year ago. Condominium sales for the period dropped 24 percent.

The median price of a single-family home in Washington increased 1 percent and condominium prices increased 10 percent.

The Lusk company, a regional real estate information service, compiled the information based on public court records. The statistics do not include gifts or intra-family transactions.

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