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Real Estate Review: Top local agents give the low-down on today’s Anne Arundel County housing market

“The market is very strong with a low inventory, and high number of buyers, and lower interest rates,” said Anne Arundel County’s top-selling real estate agent, Beverly Langley, today.“It’s a perfect storm.”

“I feel it’s amazing for both buyers and sellers,” said real estate agent Audrey Rozier, communications director for Anne Arundel’s Women Council of Realtors. “Interest rates are extremely low. Sellers are getting top-dollar for their homes right now. Honestly I don’t know how much better it could get.”

Both Anne Arundel County agents agreed though that inventory is low though—too low really.

Rozier

“There are a ton of buyers still looking and unfortunately outbid,” Rozier said.

Bidding wars remain the norm now, even during these winter months, when real estate transactions normally dip significantly. It’s not uncommon for the price to rise $20,000 to $30,000 above listing price.

“It’s unusual for this time of year,” Langley said. Last year the agent sold over 100 homes, and she has been in the business for decades now.

While home sales have dipped a little since September and October, the winter market remains busy.

“I’m doing one in Crofton today that is listed for $600,000, and its already got multiple bids,” Langley said.

The number of units sold may be down slightly from late 2020 because of the low inventory, but for the homes that are up for sale, buyer interest remains intense.

Langley said all of her home sales lately have sold in two to five days with multiple offers. The agent sells homes between $200,000 to $2 million range, but there is definitely a sweet spot for her sales.

‘I would say the strongest market is $200,000 to $500,000,” she said. “The bulk (of buyers) are Millennials either buying their first house, or doing that first move up from a town home.”

Rozier believes the low interest rates and abundance of first-time buyer programs have encouraged younger buyers to purchase a home.”

“People this time last year couldn’t afford to buy this much house,” she said. “A lot of people are jumping on those opportunities.”

The agent, who has worked in the industry for four years, said new construction is popular too, in part because of the low inventory of houses available for resale. But new construction in Anne Arundel County may face some particularly daunting challenges.

“It doesn’t seem like builders are keeping up with the inventory that is needed,” Rozier noted.

Langley believes the slowdown of new construction in the county is due to a lack of land, and the high price of construction.

“To get a building permit costs almost $90,000,” she said.

Both real estate agents pointed to Hanover, MD as something of a hot spot for new construction lately though.

New construction in the Shipley Fairmount community in Hanover was already sold out, according to Langley. but the Parkside development had some availability yet.

Rozier said many buyers do prefer purchasing an older home that is up for resale, because they can get a larger home for the price per square foot But the amenities that often go along with new construction are attractive selling points too.

The Fathom Realty agent had five additional additional observations on Anne Arundel County’s current real estate market conditions:

  • Remote learning by children, implemented as a reaction to the pandemic, may have inadvertently affected the longevity of the current housing demand: “It doesn’t seem like parents are as worried about getting their kids into homes prior to Labor Day. Generally in the past that is why the market was so hot in summer before school”

  • A significant amount of people now have more income: “The unemployment rate is higher than normal, but a lot of us have gone back to work. That is also influencing home-buying power.”

  • People are buying bigger because of home isolation: “I don’t see a whole lot of downsizing. The larger purchases are in.”

  • City folks are moving to Anne Arundel County: “They can move to surrounding counties and work remotely—have a driveway, have a garage, and not deal with the hustle and bustle of day-to-day city life.”

  • Inventory is low because sellers are holding off listing their homes until the pandemic is under control: Rozier said the current environment of the pandemic has discouraged residents from selling. Some of them, especially those who are at higher risk for contracting the virus may be concerned about having potential buyers coming into their house for a showing.

Langley also believes there is some uncertainty with where interest rates go from here with a new president in office. She said many realtors enjoyed the lower interest rates created during the Trump presidency, but it was unclear how President Biden’s administration would proceed.

But overall, she expects the market to continue to be strong well into spring. Housing prices in Anne Arundel County have generally gone up year-after-year for at least the last few years.

The local real estate agents agreed on where the market in Anne Arundel County is headed—onward and upward.

“A lot of people are moving from the cities to the counties,” Rozier said. “I’ve seen a lot of people relocating. It’s a great county...people want to live here.”