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New-home sales down nearly 17% in May; prices up


New-home sales in the Baltimore metropolitan area for May dropped 16.97 percent when compared with the corresponding period last year, as new-home prices steadily increased, according to the Meyers Group, a Washington company that tracks new-home construction.

The decline mirrored a yearlong drop in sales as year-to-date numbers were off 14.07 percent compared with the first five months of last year for single-family homes, townhouses and condominiums.

New single-family home sales have shown the biggest year-to-date decrease in the area. A total of 1,791 single-family homes were sold from January to May this year, down from 2,135 during that period last year. The average price of a new home in May rose to $197,292, an increase of 4.7 percent compared with May 1999, when the average price was $188,377.

Through the first five months, 3,584 new homes were sold, compared with 4,176 in the period in 1999.

"The difference between this year's market and last year's market is that we have far fewer subdivisions selling," said Anna Pitheon of the Meyers Group. "There are fewer communities, and prices have escalated."

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