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The Four Seasons condominium was under construction last year at Harbor east. (The Daily Record / Maximilian Franz)

Uneven market doesn’t scare Four Seasons condo developer

Baltimore’s condo market continues to send mixed signals, but the broader performance of the market isn’t a major concern for the company building the most ambitious condominium project in the city.

Only 26 new condo units sold in the Baltimore metro area during the last quarter, according to Delta Associates. That’s half of what was sold in the first quarter and well below historical norms. Those figures are alarming because the second quarter is generally the sweet spot for selling homes.

The report attributes the weak performance to the same issue that has slowed the market in recent years — stale inventory. Much of that can be attributed to developers focusing on building apartments rather than condos in response to a tight credit market following the 2008 financial crisis.

“This continued drop in new sales is mainly due to a stale inventory of unsold new product. Resale volume, on the other hand, rose over the 12‐month period ending May 2015, solidifying the argument that not enough new condo units are available to meet the needs of the market,” according to the report.

Real Estate Business Intelligence released its analysis of the Baltimore metro market in June and found that sales of all homes increased for the fight straight month, and were led by condo sales that were up 24.6 percent year over year. The number of new contracts was also up by 15.1 percent.

But Jason Huss, development director at Harbor East Management Group, said he’s unconcerned about these mixed signals, even though developers hope to go to market in the next few months with the Four Seasons Baltimore and Residences in Harbor East.

The company is adding nine floors to the 22-story building, making it the tallest structure in Harbor East, and it will include 62 luxury condominiums. Harbor East Management Group was granted design approval in 2014 to add as many as 83 condos to the building, but officials from the company said at the time it would let demand dictate the number of units. The condos are anticipated to be delivered in the first quarter of next year.

“The product itself is so different … we’re not throwing another product into the mix that’s similar to the ones that have been sitting. It’s a completely different price point, different amenities, different services,” Huss said.

Huss said Harbor East, which also developed other condos such as Spinnaker Bay Condominiums at Harbor East, The Vue Condos and Eight 50 Aliceanna as part of H&S Properties Development, has generally had its projectcs do well. Those developments, he said, benefit from the location in a market that hasn’t been at its peak.

“I don’t think we’ve suffered nearly as much as perhaps some other areas, but it seems like it’s slow for everybody, honestly, but it seems like it’s coming back,” he said.

About Adam Bednar

Adam Bednar covers real estate and development for The Daily Record.