Existing-home sales decline in Baltimore area

August 09, 1991|By Ellen James Martin

Reflecting "consumer discomfort," residential real estate sales dipped slightly in the Baltimore area last month.

Statistics compiled by the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors show the number of existing homes that went to settlement was 1,524, down 12 percent from last year.

In Baltimore, the decline was smaller, but it was still down 9 percent, with 367 units settled last month. "The decline in sales we saw in July, though not devastating, continues to reflect consumer discomfort in the Baltimore area," said Fletcher R. Hall, executive vice president of the local Realtors' board.

"People appear hesitant to make hard buying decisions. That probably has to do with the fact that the recent recession had a significant impact on the white-collar sector of the national economy, which has been acutely felt in the Baltimore area," Mr. Hall said.

Brandon Gaines, the president of the local Realtors' board, said that he believes homebuyer confidence was buoyed after the end of the Persian Gulf war but later declined.

"Reality set back in when people realized we weren't having a boom recovery -- that recovery was going to be a slower process this time," Mr. Gaines said. Local layoffs also have had a dampening effect on home sales in the Baltimore-area market, he said.

Realtors' board statistics indicate the total number of units pending sale or under sale was down 11 percent, compared with July 1990.

In June, the number of pending units was down 17 percent.

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