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Experts will assess recession’s impact in Md.

Some 600 housing experts and elected officials will analyze the impact of the recession on Maryland’s housing market and the outlook for recovery at a daylong conference Tuesday.

The annual Governor’s Conference on Housing will take place at the Baltimore Convention Center. David H. Stevens, deputy housing commissioner at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, will be the featured speaker.

“The idea is to have more focus on how we can go forward and build sustainable communities with housing and transit-oriented development,” said Raymond A. Skinner, secretary of Maryland’s Department of Housing and Community Development.

“What we are trying to do is develop communities that do a number of things — help preserve open space while at the same time promoting walking and little driving so we don’t have to build new roads or sewer systems,” he added.

Skinner said the conference will highlight Maryland’s ongoing $365 million housing initiatives, funded in part by federal stimulus dollars and private investment. That construction has sparked 1,600 new jobs, he said.

The conference will also feature information on the state’s push for transit-oriented development in 14 locations in Baltimore city and Baltimore County and Prince George’s County, among a list of metropolitan areas, Skinner said.

Money from the Federal Transit Administration is helping to fund such development.

Skinner said his agency is also promoting a new program to offer $2,500 toward down payment and closing costs for Base Realignment and Closure families buying homes in Maryland. The BRAC Match program, announced last week, is a $1 million department fund available to civilian and military families.

Overall, Skinner said, the housing recovery in Maryland is continuing. This summer, Metropolitan Regional Information Systems Inc. reported that the housing market in the mid-Atlantic region showed signs of a recovery during the second quarter of the year as unit sales volumes were up 60 percent over the first quarter.

“It’s a step-by-step process,” Skinner said. “The figures over the last several months have been up and down.”

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