- The Washington Times - Friday, August 21, 2009

Nearly 9,000 existing homes were sold last month in the Washington region, an increase of 20 percent over July 2008.

Home sales are bouncing back this year as buyers take advantage of deeply discounted properties and mortgage interest rates that have remained low.

Because buyers have been more active this spring and summer, the time it takes to sell a home has dropped. For example, homes that sold in Fairfax County last month only spent an average of 61 days on the market. That’s a significantly shorter sales period than July 2008, when homes took an average of 94 days to sell.

Still, sales in Fairfax weren’t typical of the entire region. While homes in most of Northern Virginia are selling in about two months this summer, homes sold in Spotsylvania County in July took 99 days to find a buyer. In Warren County, the average was a whopping 175 days.

In Maryland, Montgomery and Howard counties enjoyed the swiftest sales at about three months. Frederick County was at 116 days in July, and Prince George’s County posted an average sales time of 138 days.

All in all, this has been a much better year for sellers than the past two years were. That is, of course, if you don’t think about how prices have dropped in the past two years. Yet, it remains encouraging to see homes selling more quickly and inventory still falling. We’re moving in the right direction.

Just 10,750 homes were listed for sale in July, a nice drop from last year’s 12,500. If you look back to July 2005, you’ll find that an incredible 17,000 homes were listed in that month, so you can see how enthusiasm for selling has dropped since then. That’s important, because we’ve certainly had too many homes for sale for too long.

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

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