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New-home sales rise in area Anne Arundel Co. leads ssurge; recovery evident in 1st quarter.


The Baltimore metropolitan area's new-home market exhibited a "remarkable recovery" during the first quarter, with the Anne Arundel County market showing the most exuberance, the Legg Mason Realty Group reported yesterday.

Sales for the region were 9.2 percent higher than in the first quarter of 1991, rising to 3,480 units sold.

But not all areas improved. Sales slumped in Baltimore and Baltimore County, the report shows.

Nearly a third of the new-home sales in the region were in Anne Arundel County. Sales were especially strong in the Crofton and Odenton areas, where the county is channeling much of its residential growth, said Robert Lefenfeld, vice president at Legg Mason Realty Group, based in Baltimore.

At the Severna Park office of Champion Realty, sales manager George Savani said the relatively low housing costs in Anne Arundel for people who commute to Washington is the most important reason for the market's rebound there.

"If you're interested in new construction and you're interested in a short commute to Washington, Anne Arundel County will provide you moderate prices compared to everything else around the Washington Beltway.

Also showing evidence of a recovery were Harford, Howard and Carroll counties, he said. Harford is a magnet for families seeking affordable detached houses and town houses, he said, and Howard builders have done well with such new-home communities as River Hill and Patuxent Run.

Comparing the first quarter of 1991 with the first quarter this year, Mr. Lefenfeld said new-home sales were up 37 percent in Anne Arundel County, 19 percent in Carroll County, 14 percent in Howard County and 8 percent in Harford County.

Sales were down 3 percent in Baltimore County and 66 percent in Baltimore, he said.

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