Baltimore-area home sales rose 36% in Jan. Realtors expect 'very active spring'

February 06, 1992|By Ellen James Martin | Ellen James Martin,Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors

Baltimore-area real estate sales improved in January compared with sales a year earlier, showing what real estate industry professionals say is an upward trend foretelling a better spring.

The number of existing housing units under contract for sale was 36 percent higher last month than in January 1991, according to data released yesterday by the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors. The sales of 1,486 units were pending Jan. 31, up from 1,092 a year earlier.

"The continuation of this busy trend in residential home sales will reflect a very active spring," said William M. Hesson Jr., the board president.

The number of new listings also rose dramatically, to 3,948 last month from 2,981 in January 1991, an increase of 32 percent.

Bruce Piccinini, a sales associate with O'Conor Piper & Flynn in Timonium, said low interest rates were one lure bringing many first-time buyers and some trade-up buyers back into the real estate market.

Although sales activity is picking up compared with early last year, local real estate executives acknowledged that last year was a particularly weak time for real estate with the onset of the Persian Gulf war.

And they also warned that consumer confidence has yet to return to normal. "People are saying that now is the time to buy,"Mr. Piccinini said. "But consumer confidence still has a little way to go."

Prices have stabilized, according to the statistics. The dollar volume of settled residential sales last month was 2 percent lower than in the same month last year.

The average price of a home rose slightly.

Pending home sales

.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. Jan. .. ..Jan.

County .. .. .. .. .. ..1991 .. ..1992

Baltimore .. .. .. .. ..280 .. .. .311

Baltimore Co. .. .. .. .423 .. .. .575

Carroll .. .. .. .. .. .75 .. .. ..145

Harford .. .. .. .. .. .116 .. .. .158

Howard .. .. .. .. .. ..143 .. .. .230

Other counties .. .. .. 55 .. .. .. 67

Total .. .. .. .. .. .. 1092 .. ..1468

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