- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 5, 2005

More than 28,000 homes were sold in the Washington area during the first three months of the year.

Historically speaking, that’s an incredible figure. Compared with last year, however, it is a decrease of 2 percent.

Why would sales be down when demand among buyers is as strong as ever? It may simply be that 2004 set an unbeatable benchmark.

It also could be due to the shortage of homes for sale, which makes it hard for would-be buyers to purchase anything at all.

Or it is possible that the high prices are finally having an impact, causing buyers to cool their heels and the market to calm down a bit. This has been predicted many times before, so I won’t declare that the market has cooled until it’s confirmed by more data.

However, even if the market is cooler than 2004 was, it remains the second-hottest on record. Yes, sales chances are down from last year, but they are still higher than in 2003 or any previous year on record.

Alexandria continues to be the most competitive market in the region, which is why homes sell in an average of only 19 days and for a median price of $405,000.

After Alexandria, Prince George’s is now the most competitive market. Demand for homes in Fairfax, Arlington, Alexandria and Montgomery has pushed prices in those markets to ridiculous levels.

But Prince George’s is both close by and affordable. No other market has a median home price so low ($265,000) and a location so near the District.

Contact Chris Sicks by e-mail (csicks@gmail.com).

The statistics in this story reflect a metropolitan area that includes the Maryland counties of Montgomery, Prince George’s, Anne Arundel, Howard, Charles and Frederick; the Virginia counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William, Spotsylvania and Stafford;

the city of Alexandria; and the District.

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