Anne Arundel home market remains fragile, realty executive says

May 12, 1991|By Ellen James Martin

The residential realty market has largely normalized in Anne Arundel County since January, but it could deteriorate if the overall economy doesn't improve within two months, a realty executive there says.

"I'm concerned like everyone because we need to see some legitimate mortgage interest rate drops and an improvement in the economy," says Chris Coile, president of Severna Park-based Champion Realty.

Jobless figures and other economic indicators must improve if the current level of home sales in the county is to continue through the rest of 1991, he says.

Lenders hadn't dropped mortgage rates in recent years because "they're not concerned about lending money at this time," he contends.

Mr. Coile argues that since January, when war broke out in the Persian Gulf, sales activity has rebounded in all segments of the Anne Arundel market except the upper-end segment, involving homes priced over $250,000. Those who can afford to buy expensive homes have been more apprehensive about the economy than other people, Mr. Coile says.

Median home price figures for Anne Arundel are heavily influenced by slow sales in the upper-end market, according to Mr. Coile.

In fact, average homes have not lost value in the county, he

contends.

Rufus S. Lusk & Son Inc. statistics for the January-February period on the number of homes sold in Anne Arundel county also fail to reflect the current rebound in the market, Mr. Coile says.

That's because the statistics are for sales settled during that period, he says, and many of these homes actually came under sales contract during the fourth quarter of last year.

"The last quarter of last year was a terrible time for the market," according to Mr. Coile.

As for construction, the Baltimore Regional Council of Governments reported that the number of building permits fell significantly during March.

In March 1991, 755 permits for single-family houses were issued in the county--that marked a drop from 924 permits issues in March 1990.

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