- The Washington Times - Friday, May 8, 2009

In recent years, home prices have fallen throughout the Washington region. However, the drop in price isn’t uniform across the area because prices vary according to the type of home and its location.

Today’s charts compare the average prices of all homes sold in 2008 with those sold in 2007. Looking at data for a full year is more helpful because monthly data is prone to jump up and down. Each type of home is broken down into two categories - new and resale.

Most of the time, new homes cost more than resales. There were exceptions last year. Builders priced homes so aggressively that a few jurisdictions saw higher average prices for resales than new homes.

That’s nothing new in the District, where the number of new single-family homes and town homes is too small to compare meaningfully with resales.

Yet, it was a surprise to see that prices for new single-family and attached homes in Loudoun County were lower than resale prices last year. The same was true for condos in Stafford County.

The charts show that year-over-year prices were down for just about every home type. However, condominium prices generally didn’t fall as much as other home types - they even rose in a few places.

Although these numbers are averages, meaning that most homes cost more or less than the figure in the chart, they provide a sense of how affordable particular communities are.

Most homebuyers have a limit on how much they can spend, which often means they must balance location with the kind of home they want. If you can spend about $350,000, you can buy a single-family home in a few select jurisdictions, a town home in more places, or a condo just about anywhere.

For those who really want a new home, the choices are a little more constrained. If you are willing to drive a bit, $350,000 will buy a new condo or town home.

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

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