- The Washington Times - Friday, July 25, 2008

The best time of the year to sell a home has passed, just in case you missed it.

Many Realtors recommend the spring as the best time to put your home on the market. That’s because March, April and May usually are the hottest sales months of the year, although June can be a pretty good month, too.

Last month was a little slower than May. The bad news for sellers is that it doesn’t get any better from here. Sales will drift downward for the rest of the year, and that won’t do much to help with our surplus of unsold homes.

With nearly 52,000 homes on the market at the end of June, we are swimming in excess inventory. To get some perspective, consider that there were 17,000 homes on the market in June 2005. That meant it was easy to sell because buyers didn’t have many choices.

Because inventory was low and sales were strong, sales chances in June 2005 were 74 percent. Last month, chances were just 14 percent.

Sales chances are calculated by dividing a month’s sales figures by the inventory on the last day of the month, resulting 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.

None of this means you shouldn’t sell your home in the latter half of 2008 if that’s what makes the most sense for you and your situation. Thousands of homes can and will sell every month.

The point is: You need to recognize that you are competing with a huge number of sellers for a limited pool of buyers. Successful sellers will be those who are willing to work with buyers and recognize that the market ultimately determines the value of their home - not them or their Realtors.

- Chris Sicks

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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