Region's new-home sales fell 16% in '90 Including all homes, decline was only 5%


Sales of new homes in the Baltimore area dropped 16 percent in 1990 compared with the year before, largely because of the economic slowdown that hit the area in the second half of the year, according to figures released by Legg Mason Realty Group.

But sales of both new and existing homes dropped only 5 percent in 1990, according to a separate study by Rufus S. Lusk & Son Inc.

In all, 8,232 new homes were reported sold in the Baltimore area during 1990, down from 9,836 in 1989, according to Legg Mason's Housing Market Profiles report. Sales were down in all jurisdictions except Anne Arundel County, and the most severe slowdown was in Howard County, the report said.

According to the Lusk study, sales of single-family house sales during 1990, including new residences and resales, totaled 37,134, down from 38,999 the year before. Condominium sales for 1990 totaled 5,261, up 1 percent from 1989's 5,221.

Although the sales paces deteriorated in 1990, builders continued to open new projects. According to Legg Mason, 207 new projects opened during the year and 132 projects sold out or were closed, giving the region

a net gain of 75 projects.

Twenty-five percent of the new projects that opened in the area in 1990 were in Anne Arundel County,mostly in the Odenton-Crofton area. With the help of those projects, Legg Mason said, the region's sales increased from 1989 to 1990. Other strong markets included Northwest Baltimore and the Edgewood-Joppa region of Harford County. Sales fell significantly in Howard County and the Bel Air-Fallston area.

During the fourth quarter of 1990, 1,568 new residences were reported sold in the Baltimore region, down 7 percent from the third quarter of 1990 and down 21 percent from the fourth quarter of 1989, according to Legg Mason.

According to the Lusk report, 2,512 new and existing single-family homes were sold in December, down 23 percent from 3,272 in December 1989. Sales of new and existing condominiums dropped 31 percent, from 509 in 1989 to 352 in 1990.

In almost all parts of the region, prices either remained steady or fell slightly. Overall, the median base price for a new home in the Baltimore region fell 1 percent, to $166,950, from the third quarter to the fourth quarter, according to Legg Mason.

The median base price for a new or existing home sold in the Baltimore region fell 2 percent, from $126,850 in 1989 to $124,900 in 1990.

During the same period, median sales prices for new and existing condominiums dropped 6 percent, from $98,700 in 1989 to $93,050 in 1990, according to Lusk.

Last month, the median base prices for new detached houses and town houses had fallen 2 percent, to $193,609 and $118,233 respectively, compared with median prices at the end of the third quarter of 1990, according to Legg Mason.

The median sale price for new and existing single-family houses in December was $110,850 for both 1989 and 1990, according to Lusk.

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