January figures show decline in completed sales

April 07, 1991|By Timothy J. Mullaney

A new report says the number of homes on which buyers and sellers completed their deals fell by more than 30 percent in January in both Baltimore and Baltimore County, but an executive of the company that compiled the study said the market has begun to show signs of improvement.

January home sales were off 36 percent in the city and 31 percent in Baltimore County, according to a study by Rufus S. Lusk & Son of Silver Spring. "It doesn't look all that encouraging, but the figures you're seeing are deals that were put together in October or November," said Carol Stewart, a Lusk vice president based in the company's Timonium office. "That was when the market was hideous, at its worst."

Ms. Stewart said the Lusk data includes new and existing homes. It also includes sales that did not involve a realty agent, unlike reports compiled by the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors. Ms. Stewart said that realty agents are more optimistic now than they were several months ago, but increased sales wouldn't show up in the Lusk data for several months because the firm reports only settlements.

The Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors reported last week that sales contracts on existing homes in both Baltimore and Baltimore County were down only 10 percent in March, compared with March 1990.

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