- The Washington Times - Friday, July 18, 2008

For the third straight month, sales of existing homes were better than they were a year ago. Sales are still much lower than they were a few years ago, but this is the first sustained improvement we have seen since the slowdown began in 2005.

A total of 7,371 homes were sold in the Washington metropolitan area in June, up 4 percent compared to June 2007. It is important to note, however, that each jurisdiction has its own story to tell. On either side of the Potomac River, you will find very different statistics.

Sales on the Virginia side were up 36 percent over last year, while the Maryland side was down 20 percent. This wasn’t just a fluke occurring in a single month. Looking at total sales for the first half of the year, sales were up 13 percent in Virginia and down 28 percent in Maryland.

Prince William County continues to see incredible sales activity, with June sales up 126 percent over June 2007. Total sales for the first half of 2008 show an 85 percent increase for Prince William and a 13 percent increase for neighboring Loudoun County. Compare those increases to declines of 20 percent to 38 percent on the Maryland side of the river.

Loudoun and Prince William are having the best sales year in the region, but they did go through a steeper decline in 2006 than elsewhere. That year, Prince William saw sales fall 41 percent.

During the first six months of this year, however, Prince William posted total sales of more than 6,000. That’s pretty close to the sales pace we saw there in 2004. Meanwhile, every other jurisdiction in the region is having a year that’s far slower than 2004.

For example, these Maryland counties have sold less than half as many homes as they did in 2004: Anne Arundel, Charles, Frederick and Prince George’s.

c 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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