- The Washington Times - Friday, March 21, 2008

The little lines aren’t going the way sellers would like.

Maybe you don’t study fever charts the way I do, but if you’re thinking about selling a home, take a look.

  • Click here to see this week’s chart.

    The bottom chart compares inventory to sales. Supply and demand would be another way of putting it.

    These inventory numbers are a snapshot, counting the number of homes listed for sale on the last day of the month. Looking at these numbers tells you how much supply is out there on a given day.

    The sales figures are ratified contracts for an entire month, telling us how much demand there is among buyers.

    A few years ago, the lines on this chart were almost on top of each other. The total sales for a month were almost the same as the inventory on a given day. That meant homes typically were selling in 30 days or less.

    In 2006 and 2007, the lines began to move farther apart as sales fell and inventory rose.

    When the gap between these lines is small, sellers are happy because buyers are competing with one another.

    When the gap widens, buyers are happy because sellers become the competitive ones.

    Many people are wondering when things are going to get better for sellers. Some are hoping this is the year.

    It’s not looking good so far.

    Because the sales figures are coming in lower than they did last year and the inventory figures are higher, this year has been even worse for sellers than last year.

    It’s always possible we could see strong sales in the spring, strong enough to turn things around — but don’t count on it.

    With 47,000 homes sitting out there to be sold and sales taking three to four months in most places, buyers have at least the next 12 months to enjoy the most favorable supply-demand situation in a decade.

    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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