- The Washington Times - Friday, August 1, 2008

With a real estate market like ours, everyone is looking for a strategy. Whether you are buying or selling, understanding the sales climate in your jurisdiction can make a big difference.

The market isn’t only divided geographically. The type of home you are buying or selling can make a difference in your strategy.

Buyers who are still deciding where to shop can use today’s charts to learn where the most detached homes are available, for instance. Also, if you look for the low sales chance figures, you will know which communities will give you the most leverage over sellers. Charles and Prince George’s counties, in particular, offer today’s buyers a huge advantage over sellers of attached homes because there are so many more homes than buyers.

Take the District as an example for sellers. In June, there were 1,385 attached homes on the market in the city. There were also 195 sales. That gives us a sales-chance figure of 14 percent, which isn’t too hot.

Sales chances are my way of measuring the level of competition in the real estate market. Dividing sales figures for the month by the inventory on the last day of the month results in a percentage - a figure below 20 percent indicates a buyer’s market. Higher figures mean we’re in a balanced market or a seller’s market.

So, sellers of attached homes were facing a buyer’s market in June. Those who were selling detached homes, however, did a little better. There were only 512 of them on the market, and 93 sold. That’s a sales chance of 18 percent.

The most dramatic story to be found in today’s charts is in Loudoun County.

For some reason, the inventory of attached homes has dropped significantly in Loudoun. In June, it was down 21 percent compared to June 2007.

Yet sales were up 25 percent. This means that June was a rather decent month to sell an attached home in Loudoun - in contrast to detached homes and condos.

While sales chances for Loudoun’s attached homes were 24 percent in June, they were only 15 percent for detached homes and 11 percent for condos.

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

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