Howard housing market called on the rebound Carroll attracting first-time buyers

April 21, 1991|By Ellen James Martin

Howard County home sellers have stopped discounting thei property, as the county real estate market has begun to rebound, says Sherry Gardner, a sales associate at Best Realty in Columbia.

"Sellers are starting to realize that we've hit bottom and things are starting to improve," says Ms. Gardner, noting that sellers in most price ranges believe markdowns are no longer necessary to move their property.

"People are no longer giving their homes away," she says.

The exception to the discounting rule involves upper-end Howard homes, which are still being sold at a discount, she says.

Homes valued at $500,000 or more are still difficult to sell, she notes.

While sales activity has been "steady" in Howard County during the last four weeks, it has yet to return to the fast pace achieved in the late 1980s.

An average-priced home, which in the late 1980s took 30 to 60 days to sell, now takes 45 to 60 days, Ms. Gardner said.

The Carroll County real estate market also has some distance to go before it rebounds to the level of activity in the late 1980s.

Carroll County, like other suburban areas, is attractive to many first-time buyers because of its large inventory of relatively affordable homes. And the county's real estate market has been relatively steady, even during the recession.

The median price of a home rose 13 percent from 1989 to 1990 in Carroll County -- compared to a 4 percent increase in Howard County. And sales volume was less volatile than in Howard County.

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