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Charting the Market: October’s sales rose 8 percent

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October's buyers clearly were encouraged by the region's the lower home prices and mortgage interest rates that remain incredibly low. Sales of existing homes in October were up 8 percent over October 2011.

October also "bounced" once again this year, as October sales climbed higher than September's. October frequently interrupts the otherwise-steady decline in sales from spring through winter, something called the "October Bounce."

You can see in today's charts how much sales really take off in March, April and May. Then, things slow a bit in the summer and in September.

But once school is under way and Congress is back in session, buyers apparently feel October is a good time to go home shopping before winter and the holidays begin.

Sales this October were 7 percent higher than in September. Sales rose more in Virginia than in Maryland, although total sales for the year-to-date show Maryland has a slight edge.

Maryland sales are being helped by much-stronger sales in Anne Arundel, Carroll and Baltimore counties.

I don't normally include Baltimore County in my columns, but it is just up Interstate 95 from the Washington area. Plus, more than 50,000 residents of Baltimore County work somewhere around the Washington Beltway.

You can see in the charts that sales were strong in Baltimore County in October. They've been good all year, with 7,665 sales contracts by the end of October. Compare that to 5,407 in 2008 -- an increase of 42 percent.

One reason might be affordability. The median sales price of homes sold in Baltimore County in October was $202,000 -- significantly lower than Montgomery's $355,500.

After October's modest boost of activity, we can expect sales in November and December to resume their downward slide. January sometimes can be a strong sales month, but weather often determines whether the sales year will take off in January or February.

Send email to csicks@gmail.com.

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