Roundup: Raising Canes Coming To Towson, Tough Month For Housing Market, And More
TOWSON - It's time to catch up on some stories from around Towson this Wednesday. We have four stories for you today. Let's get more informed faster.
Baltimore County Housing Market Stumbles In October
According to a Maryland Realtors housing statistics report, October was a tough month for homeowners and those home shopping in Baltimore County.
Statewide, October home sales dropped 36.5% compared to the previous year and 18.9% compared to September 2022. 5,745 units were sold in October 2022 versus 9,044 in October 2021.
Baltimore county specifically saw a 33.4% decrease in home sales compared to October 2021. Prices also rose, with the average sale price of a home in Baltimore County increasing by 10.1%.
Against this dynamic of fewer sales and higher prices were rising interest rates, as the 30-year fixed mortgage rate peaked at 7.08% and continued limited inventory. Active statewide inventory fell 17.4% to 10,349, and the number of new listings fell 27.2% to 7,242.
It's not all doom and gloom. National Association of Realtors Chief Economist Dr. Lawrence Yun says that tight inventory, inflation, and elevated interest rates would help to keep prices stable heading into 2023.
"The gap between the 30-year fixed mortgage rate and the government borrowing rate is much higher today than it has been historically," Yun said. "If we didn't have this large gap, mortgage rates wouldn't be 7%, they would be 5.8%. If inflation eases, we'd see less anxiety within the financial markets and lower interest rates, which would allow owners to refinance."
Raising Cane's Moves Forward With Plans For Towson Location
The popular fast-food restaurant Raising Cane's is moving forward with its plans to open three restaurants in the greater Baltimore area, including one in Towson.
The Lousiana-based company said on Monday that it plans to open a new 3,900-square-foot location at Towson Row next month.
The company will also open stores in Gambrills at 1070 Maryland Route 3 North and Westminster at 400 Englar Road.
These new locations are part of a planned expansion into the DMV region that has been in the works for more than a year.
Olszewski Announces Plans To Retain Key County Department Heads
Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski announced plans to retain a significant number of current County officials as his second-term leadership team members.
Olszewski plans to re-nominate the following individuals to continue serving as County department and office heads, subject to confirmation by an affirmative vote of a majority of the members of the County Council:
- Stacy L. Rodgers, County Administrative Officer
- Dr. Gregory Wm. Branch, Director and Health Officer, Department of Health Department of Social Services
- James Benjamin, County Attorney
- Rhoda Benjamin, Director, Office of Human Resources
- Pete Gutwald, Director, Department of Permits, Approvals, and Inspections
- Terry Hickey, Director, Department of Housing and Community Development
- Leonard J. Howie, Director, Department of Economic and Workforce Development
- Steve Lafferty, Director, Department of Planning
- David Lykens, Director, Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability
- Laura D. Riley, Director, Department of Aging
- Joanne Rund, Chief Fire Department
- D'Andrea L. Walker, Director, Department of Public Works and Transportation
"These dedicated officials have been a critical part of our ongoing efforts to serve County residents and build a better Baltimore County over the past four years. I'm thankful for their continued willingness to serve and look forward to all we will achieve together in the years ahead," Olszewski said. "As we prepare for a second term in office, I could not be more excited about doubling down on our work to make Baltimore County even more innovative, transparent and responsive to the people we serve."
Additionally, the following County department and office heads today announced plans to depart County service following the end of Olszewski's first term:
- Edward P. Blades, Director Office of Budget and Finance
- Melissa Hyatt, Chief, Baltimore County Police Department
- Roslyn Johnson, Director, Department of Recreation and Parks
- Robert W. O'Connor, Director, Office of Information Technology
- Gail M. Watts, Director, Department of Corrections
"On behalf of all the residents of Baltimore County, I thank these public servants for all their incredible work and dedication to strengthening our communities," Olszewski said. "Our county is better and stronger because of their service, and I wish them all the very best in each of their next steps."
Olszewski expects to name candidates to fill these positions in the coming weeks.
Towson University Officially Opens Cook Library's Academic Commons
On Tuesday, Towson University officially unveiled its $4.1 million Academic Commons within Albert S. Cook Library.
The 22,000-square-foot facility includes access to academic advising, the writing center, accessibility and disability services, and 100 workspaces. The Commons is open 24 hours, seven days a week, giving students a flexible place to study.
University President, Kim Schatzel, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday. In her remarks, she said the commons will provide more student resources.
"This Academic Commons will provide to students with even more resources and even more opportunities that are part of a world-class Towson University education," Schatzel said. "That is why as we open the center today, it is truly a great day to be a Towson tiger.