Baltimore-area existing-home sales picked up in September, suggesting to local realty executives that a market rebound could be developing.
The number of homes under sales contract was up 7 percent last month, compared with September 1990, according to statistics released by the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors.
In Baltimore County, the number of housing units under sales contract jumped 15 percent, with 431 units pending at the end of last month, compared with 373 in September 1990.
"I do think it's a turnaround -- but I'm not talking about a great climb. Still, it's a definite positive sign," said Nancy Hubble, the Greater Baltimore Board's treasurer and president of the Homewood-based Hubble Co.
The sentiment was echoed by Brandon F. Gaines, the board's president, who said that the new pending sales figures "indicate improvement for the Baltimore housing market."
But not all the statistics released yesterday by the realty board were positive.
The total number of housing unit sales that were settled during September dropped 12 percent from the same period in 1990. Total dollar volume of settled residential sales also dropped 12 percent, to $160.7 million.
Ms. Hubble said that there are several positives in the current realty market, to which large numbers of first-time buyers have been drawn.
"Low interest rates and the huge inventory of property are luring people back out," she said.
Mr. Gaines said, "The key reason people are out is that we've seen rates at a 10-year low."