ELDERSBURG - Long & Foster Realtors on Liberty Road has hired 15 agents who formerly worked for the Prudential Preferred Properties office that closed Saturday in this South Carroll town.
Because of the staff expansion to 57 agents, Long & Foster began building a 2,200-square-foot addition to its Eldersburg offices once the negotiations for the new agents became firm earlier last week.
Joe DeLuca, manager of the Long & Foster office, said carpenters have been working around the clock to finish the expansion for the new agents.
Prudential's Georgetown Boulevard office was closed due to a slump in real estate sales in the South Carroll area over the last 18 months, said Carole Greenwald, president. The Eldersburg office was to be consolidated with the Ellicott City, Howard County, office.
Eldersburg once was one of the fastest-growing areas of the county. But Greenwald said sales have "declined tremendously" in South Carroll.
She would not attribute the slowdown to any one factor, such as the moratorium on sewer hook-ups in the Freedom District. Rather, she said, the national recession is mostly to blame.
The Prudential office housed 17 agents. It is the second closing of a real estate office branch in Eldersburg in a matter of weeks.
Coldwell Banker also closed its 33-agent South Carroll office due, in part, to slow sales, officials said. Coldwell Banker is part of the nationwide Sears residential sales network.
The Prudential office opened in 1986 in Carrolltowne Mall, then moved about two years later to Georgetown Boulevard.
With 69 offices, Prudential is the eighth-largest independent real estate company in the country. Although the Eldersburg office was closed, the company is expanding in other areas, Greenwald said.
While Long & Foster's DeLuca said the market has softened, the slump has been mostly in houses selling for more than $250,000. Houses going for $100,000 to $175,000 have been selling steadily, he said.
The Long & Foster office has been in Eldersburg about five years.
The company has two other offices in Carroll.
DeLuca did not have sales figures for his office, but said sales company-wide are running about the same this year as in 1989.