Sales records tumble at OPF 'March was the best month ever' until April, and then May

A year to remember

Rentals decline as many decide to buy that first home

June 30, 1996|By Daniel Barkin | Daniel Barkin,SUN STAFF

O'Conor, Piper & Flynn, the largest locally owned residential real estate brokerage in Maryland, has been breaking company sales records all spring.

In March, the records began to fall. In that month, OPF agents handled $235 million worth of home sales, more than any month in OPF's history. In April, OPF agents pushed that to $240 million, and in May, sales volume was $255 million. Chairman and CEO James P. O'Conor called March, April and May "bell ringers."

"March was the best month ever," said O'Conor, "followed by April, which was the best month ever. Followed by May, which was the best month ever."

During each of the 12 months that ended in May, observed O'Conor, OPF outperformed the corresponding month in the previous year. And in 1995 OPF agents for the first time handled $2 billion in transactions.

Meanwhile, said O'Conor, OPF has been handling slightly fewer rental transactions. "People who might otherwise have been renting, are going into first-time home buying," he said. "We're up 28 percent year to date in sales, and we're down 1.5 percent in rentals."

OPF is the 12th largest residential real estate broker in the United States, according to the trade publication REAL Trends. Last year, it was involved in 17,545 sides of residential transactions, either as the listing or selling broker, or both. While it lags the mid-Atlantic region's largest broker -- Long & Foster Real Estate of Fairfax, Va., with 42,329 sides of home sales last year -- OPF is the leader in the Baltimore metropolitan region.

OPF's 1996 performance parallels the Baltimore resale market's showing. Sales of existing homes have been running more than 20 percent ahead of 1995 in some localities.

O'Conor said that, while he has been enjoying OPF's past year, "I'm always wondering when it's going to break." He said he was seeing the "very early signs" of "getting back to normalcy."

"It just can't keep that up," he said. "I can remember back in 1990 when business was so frantic and people would buy a house this week and sell it next year and make a 40 percent profit, and all that stuff. I was scared to death then, because I knew it was going to pop, and it did pop."

"But I think the balance of the year is going to be very good. And I think we'll have a good, solid last six months of the year. The first six months have been gangbusters, in effect, and I think the next six months will complement it very well."

OPF, with more than 40 offices, has added three branches over the past year, two in Anne Arundel County and one in Hagerstown.

Pub Date: 6/30/96

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