Home sales in Baltimore area rose 5% in June after spring lull

July 07, 1992|By Ellen James Martin | Ellen James Martin,Staff Writer

After a slight spring lull, home sales in the Baltimore area picked up speed in June, according to figures released yesterday by the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors.

"I think we're past the lull," said Arthur Davis III, president of Chase Fitzgerald, a Roland Park real estate agency.

June sales of new and used homes increased 5 percent, to 1,804 from 1,705 in June 1991. The number of pending sales increased 14 percent, to 1,455.

Local realty officials generally agree that this year's first three months were strong for home sales, with pent-up demand from first-time homebuyers unleashed after mortgage interest rates fell well well below 10 percent.

April, May and early June were not as strong as the first three months of the year, but buyer interest regained momentum at the end of June, said James P. O'Conor, chairman of O'Conor, Piper & Flynn, a Timonium-based real estate firm.

"We had an extremely strong buying surge in the last 10 days of June," said Mr. O'Conor, noting that last month was the strongest June for sales in the firm's eight-year history.

Mr. Davis said he thinks first-time buyers -- who accounted for at least 20 percent of the market in the first quarter -- still account for about 15 percent of home purchases in the Baltimore region.

The strongest segment of the local market is for properties selling for $180,000 to $200,000, Mr. Davis said.

Statistics from the Realtor group indicate that the dollar volume of settled sales was $240 million in June, 13 percent more than in the same month last year.

The average price of a home rose 7 percent, to $132,938 from $124,222, from June 1991 to June 1992.

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