Harford County's real estate market is stronger than other parts of the Baltimore region because houses are still affordable there, said Robert Head, office manager of the Bel Air-Abingdon office of O'Conor Piper & Flynn Realtors.
"Most people don't realize that Harford County is the next exit past White Marsh on I-95, and is less than 15 miles from the Baltimore Beltway," he said.
Mr. Head said his office posted a sales record in March, topping the previous record in June 1990 by 14%. He attributed the increase to pent-up demand from buyers who were hesitant to buy houses during the Persian Gulf war.
During March 1991, the median price of single-family homes sold in Harford County increased by 7 percent, compared to the first quarter of 1990. Yet the county fared much better than other localities. Region-wide, the median price of homes sold fell by 5 percent in March, according to Rufus S. Lusk & Son Inc.
The site of the Harford building boom is the Route 24 corridor from Edgewood to Forest Hill. Buyers from Towson, Timonium and Hunt Valley in Baltimore County are attracted by the low prices, including town houses priced from the low $80,000s.
Older houses have continued to sell steadily, but it was the glut of new homes on the market that depressed sales earlier in the year, said Billie Landbeck, assistant manager of the Aberdeen office of O'Conor, Piper and Flynn.
"Builders overbuilt last fall. We didn't realize the crunch was going to hit," said Ms. Landbeck. To spark sales, builders were offering upgrades or price reductions that ranged from $1,500 to $10,000, depending on the price of the house.
Alongside the new house business, the resale market ha remained steady, Mr. Head said. "Harford County has continued to outperform the region because of price and selection."