Baltimore-area home sales edged up in Oct. Low interest rates seen as stimulus

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

Sales of new and existing homes picked up slightly in the Baltimore area in October, the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors said yesterday.

The number of units whose sales closed during October rose 6 percent over the same month last year, reaching 1,551 units. Also last month, the number of pending sales increased 3 percent over the same month last year, to 1,295.

Fletcher Hall, executive vice president of the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors, said he thinks many home buyers were brought into the market by the election.

These buyers, he said, were spurred to make their purchases in October before the election, believing that mortgage rates might rise after the election.

"I think people had begun to believe that this recession had bottomed out, and they wanted to take advantage of interest rates that they may have perceived, at that time, to be at the bottom," Mr. Hall said.

But some buyers, Mr. Hall said, were holding off on home purchases until the presidential election could help resolve questions about the country's future.

"People were holding their breath," he said. "Now they've exhaled. People are kind of relieved that this extremely long political campaign is over."

His positive outlook on the home market was shared by Andrew J.A. Chriss, president of the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors.

"The market is very viable and attractive for home buyers, and they are apparently taking advantage of the opportunity," he said.

Total dollar volume for October home sales in the Baltimore area reached $195.5 million, a 4 percent increase over the figure for the same month last year.

But the average price of a home in the area dropped 1 percent, to $126,029, between October 1991 and last month.

Data reported by the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors involves transactions reported to the Central Maryland Multiple Listing Service and covers sales in Baltimore City, as well as Baltimore, Howard, Harford and Carroll Counties. Figures for Anne Arundel County are not included.

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