Home sales in Baltimore area slipped in March

REAL ESTATE NOTES

April 14, 1991|By Edward Gunts

The number of residences sold in the Baltimore area during March 1990 was 1,167, down 20 percent from 1,463 sales in March of 1990, according to figures released by the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors.

The total dollar volume of residential sales during March was $140.8 million, down 19 percent from the sales volume of $175.9 million in March 1990. The average price of a house sold during March was $120,699, about the same as the average price of $120,205 in March 1990.

The number of new listings in March was 3,510, up 11 percent from the March 1990 figure of 3,143.

Year-to-date statistics reflect a 20 percent decrease for the total number of residences sold, with 3,040 sold during the first three months of 1991, compared to 3,822 sold during the first three months of 1990. The year-to-date sales volume was $365.8 million for the first quarter of 1991, down 19 percent from the sales volume of $454.4 for the first quarter last year.

The figures include new and existing home sales as reported to the Central Maryland Multiple Listing Service, a wholly owned subsidiary of the real estate board. The figures reflect sales activity primarily in Baltimore City and Baltimore, Howard, Harford and Carroll counties.

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The sales volume of single-family houses in the Baltimore area dropped in January 1991 from the comparable period last year, but median sales prices held steady, according to the latest study by Rufus S. Lusk & Son.

The number of single-family residences sold in January was 2,179, a 33 percent drop from the January 1990 figure of 3,244. The number of condominium sales in January was 313, down 44 percent from the January 1990 figure of 557.

The median sale price for single-family houses in January was $112,500, down 1 percent from the sale price of $113,550 in January 1990. The median sale price for condominiums sold in January was $99,000, up 5 percent from the figure of $94,150 in January 1990.

The study reflects sales in Baltimore and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Howard counties.

"The good news for sellers in these statistics is that, by and large, home values in the Baltimore area are staying strong," said company President Rufus S. Lusk III. "Property that are properly priced are selling in reasonable periods of time and at significant profits to owners who have held them for some time."

Mr. Lusk predicted that the sales picture will brighten in coming months.

"As the war has been brought to a successful conclusion, this led to a strong restoration of consumer confidence," he said. "There are very favorable rates now available. There is less inventory of homes on the market, along with less product being delivered by homebuilders.

"These factors taken together could result in a strong upturn this spring and summer for the local real estate market. Prices which were flat in 1990 will most likely at least keep pace with the inflation rate in 1991."

Mr. Lusk said one reason for his optimism about prices is his expectation that the number of houses on the market will drop in the coming year.

"While we clearly are absolutely in the middle of a buyer's market," he said, "it is also important to emphasize that the inventory of unsold homes will soon be declining, as few

er and fewer new homes are brought to market by builders, and sellers withdraw homes that were unrealistically priced, rather than adjust to the market."

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Around the region:

* A five-bedroom brick front home built by construction trades students from the Howard County School of Technology will have its first open house April 20 and 21 from noon to 5 p.m. Located at 6952 Silent Dell in the River Glen neighborhood just south of Columbia, the house is the ninth in a series of homes built by the county's technical high school students.

* The Property Owners Association of Greater Baltimore Inc. will present a Landlord Survival Seminar May 1 and 8 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Tremont Plaza Hotel, 222 St. Paul Place. The seminar, which is divided into four sessions, will focus on tenant selection policies, discrimination issues, eviction and rent court procedures, lease arrangements, maintenance and compliance with the Baltimore City Code and the Baltimore County Livability Code. Advance registration is necessary and can be made through the association at 727-1324.

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