Recession, war in gulf blamed for decline in home prices in Anne Arundel


Median home prices have declined recently in many parts of Anne Arundel County due to economic factors that have influenced prices throughout the region and beyond, realty industry officials say.

"When there are uncertainties in the international as well as national economy, you see a withdrawal by the consumer from the market place," says Carol Taylor, who heads research for the Maryland Association of Realtors in Annapolis.

"It was the infamous Aug. 2nd that hurt," says Ms. Taylor, noting that prices have slipped the most since the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. She says that both the Persian Gulf war and the recession have hurt the local real estate market within the last year.

"The recession and the Iraqi invasion are just about equal in their impact," Ms. Taylor observes.

"Both have hurt consumer confidence."

Prices on upper-end Anne Arundel properties, including waterfront homes, have been especially influenced by the war and economic downturn, according to Karen Dunn, sales manager at Prudential Preferred Properties in Annapolis.

Many waterfront properties in Anne Arundel County, which can go for $500,000 and more, are normally purchased as second homes by affluent Washington-area families, Ms. Dunn points out.

"People in that category are more leery right now. When the economy goes down, these people aren't interested in big-ticket items and luxuries," she says.

In the wake of slumping prices and especially since January, more prospective buyers have entered the market in Anne Arundel County and elsewhere in the region, realty specialists VTC say. Still, Ms. Dunn notes, many of those would-be buyers are "bottom feeders," attempting to buy at unrealistically low levels.

In the current market, numerous home sellers are motivated to negotiate because they must unload their properties.

Even so, most sellers refuse to sell as low as would like the bargain hunters, who usually offer 30 percent or less than the asking price, Ms. Dunn says.

"Bottom feeders are rarely successful," she says.

Trend Watch

This Chart and map track recent movements in single-family home sales in Anne Arundel County by Zip Code. The chart lists sales volume and median price for November 1990, the most recent month available, and for the full year up to November. The map reflects the percentage change between the year-to-date median price for November 1990 and the yeasr-to-date figure for November 1989. Zip codes in which there have been fewer than 10 transactions will be listed as "no change," with an asterisk (*).

In future weeks, similar charts and maps will appear for Howard and Carroll Counties (Feb. 17), Harford County (Feb. 24) and Baltimore and Baltimore County (March 3). Information for Anne Arundel County will be updated and appear again on March 10. The information is provided by Rufus S, Lusk & Son Inc.

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