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While there may be snow on the ground the real estate market hasn't cooled off one bit, says an Annapolis, Maryland Realtor.

"During this summer and fall we saw record home sales," says Realtor Stephen Howell. "We now approach the seasonal slump with home sales tapering off for the holidays."

Howell explains, "The average sold price in Anne Arundel County for November rose to $280,931 from $255,471 this time last year -- a 9.97 percent increase. The average list price rose to $290,755 from $260,829 this time last year -- an 11.47 percent increase. Prices turned upwards this month following a two-month downturn. The ratio of sold price to list price is at 96.62 percent. The sudden drop in active listings may signal a 'time out' for the holidays. The number of New Listings taken for the month is 632 -- 43 percent of the active listings on the market -- indicating a slower inventory turnover."

Low mortgage rates may continue to make a difference.

"This week's 30-year mortgage rate dropped to 5.52 percent according to Bankrate, Inc.; the rate which had been at record lows over the summer continues to float in a narrow range -- interest rates might rise to six percent by year-end and continue to drive strong buyer demand," says Howell. "The number of active listings dropped as is expected during the holidays. The gap between active listings and units sold, which had been widening, closed this month but may still indicate that the seller's market is losing strength. A widening gap indicates a swing towards a buyer's market while a narrowing gap indicates a swing towards a seller's market."

He continues, "The average sold price and average list price, which peaked twice during the summer, turned upwards again this month. It remains to be seen if this trend will continue. Interest rates float up and down within a narrow band, prices and units sold follow suit with the average sold prices continuing to track the average list prices ever so closely. So, how can we expect to close out the year? Sellers will receive nearly full price offers and time on market may grow to several weeks. Buyers will find fewer homes on the market."

Howell advises, "Sellers will want to price their homes at market if they need a quick sale; while buyers may want to offer slightly below market to test a seller's readiness to sell. While no one can predict the future with any certainty, one thing is certain, this real estate market remains strong and the demand for desirable properties remains good."

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