More buyers pick detached homes

SINGLE-FAMILY COMEBACK

February 23, 1992|By Liz Atwo | Liz Atwo,Staff Writer

Single-family home sales, which lagged behind town-house sales in 1990, rebounded to capture the largest share of the Baltimore area housing market last year, according to new figures compiled by Legg Mason Realty Group Inc.

The Housing Market Profiles study also showed that the hottest selling areas for all types of new housing continued to be Edgewood/Joppa, Crofton and Reisterstown/Owings Mills.

In 1991, single-family detached houses accounted for more than 43 percent of the 9,487 new homes sold in the area. Town houses comprised more than 37 percent of the sales and condos 19 percent.

The statistics reverse a trend in which the market share for single-family houses had declined for several years. In 1989, single-family homes for the first time accounted for less than half of the new home market. In 1990 detached houses accounted for only 38 percent of all homes sold, while town houses captured 42 percent of the market.

Throughout the 1980s, the trend had been toward building larger, more expensive homes, but the buyers didn't follow, Legg Mason analysts said.

"Buyers couldn't afford the dream," said Fritzi K. Hallock, senior associate for research services in the Legg Mason Realty Group.

Builders of single-family homes successfully recaptured sales last year by reducing the base cost of houses and by offering smaller homes and more options, said Robert M. Lefenfeld, vice president and director of Legg Mason Information Services.

The average price of a single family house fell from $197,400 in January 1990, to $193,600 in January 1991, and to $186,500 in January 1992.

The average price of a town house rose from $108,150 in 1990, to $118,201 in 1991, and to $119,900 in 1992. The average price of condominiums fell from $102,800 in 1990, to $93,900 in 1991, and to $90,400 in 1992.

Ms. Hallock said the lower prices for detached houses did not mean that builders were selling the same models for less. They reflect the change in houses the builders offered. "The builders changed their marketing and did a terrific job."

At The Provinces, one of the best selling single-family housing developments, Pulte offered buyers a variety of options including fireplaces, garages, appliances and walk-out basements. "Three to four years ago we would not have been so sophisticated in our option sensitivity," said Michael Schrader, president of Pulte's Baltimore operations.

In some cases, the optional packages could make a $25,000 difference in the cost of the same models, he said.

The recession forced builders to be more accommodating to buyers.

The builders' ability to change marketing strategies -- and the lowering of interest rates -- helped create demand for new housing despite the recession. New home sales increased 14 percent and more homes of all kinds were sold than in 1990.

Ryland Homes, the top-selling builder in 1990, again sold the most houses in 1991. Ryland sold 1,155 homes, or 12.2 percent of the units in the Legg Mason study.

Ryan Homes, which sold 901 units, was second. Others in the top 10 were Washington Homes with 342 units, Macks Homes with 277 units, Pulte Homes with 243 units, Winchester Homes with 240 units, Landmark Homes with 231 units, Enterprise Foundation with 204 units, NV Homes with 200 units and Keystone Homes with 164 units.

In Ryland's Crofton Woods development in Crofton, 60 units were sold -- the most in any single-family development. Houses there cost an average $247,329 and have on average 2,331 square feet. Other popular single-family developments were Eagle Development's Shipley-Fairmount in Linthicum, Washington Homes' Shannon Square in Glen Burnie, Macks Homes' Timbergrove in Reisterstown and Pulte Homes' The Provinces in Severn.

Ryland's success at Crofton Woods is a testimony to the desirability of the location, which can draw buyers from both Baltimore and Washington, Mr. Lefenfeld said.

Montgomery Run has been one of the top-selling condominium projects for the past three years because it provides one of the few new housing options available in Howard County for under $100,000, said Maury Bass, director of sales at Macks Homes.

Top-selling communities

&

Ranked by units sold

.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 1991.. Average.. .. ..Average

Project.. .. ..Builder.. ..sales..base price.. ..sq. ft..Area

Town houses

Kings Ransom.. Washington.. ..83.. .$113,490.. .. ..992..Odenton

.. .. .. .. .. Homes.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..

Pleasant.. .. .Pulte.. .. .. .72.. ..108,990.. .. 1,194..Owings

Hills .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. Mills

Lions Gate.. ..Winchester.. ..71.. ..117,740.. .. 1,320..Odenton

.. .. .. .. .. Homes.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..

Carrollwood.. .Washington.. ..63.. .. 83,945.. .. 1,200..Middle

Manor.. .. .. .Homes.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .River

Piney.. .. .. .Ryan Homes.. ..62.. ..121,900.. .. 1,130..Odenton

Orchard.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .

Condominiums

Montgomery.. ..Macks Homes.. .98.. .. 95,740.. .. 1,248..Ellicott

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