- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 5, 2010

Selling a home was just a touch easier in June than May, but it was nothing like the busy seller’s market we saw in March and April.

Sales chances climbed to 20 percent in June from May’s 19 percent. In April, however, chances had been 31 percent because so many buyers were rushing to take advantage of the federal tax credit that expired April 30.

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.

Chances fell so much in May and June because of the sales side of the equation. The inventory of unsold homes has remained fairly steady over the past three months.

But when sales took a nose dive, sales chances went down, too. Sales probably are going to remain steady through the summer and will cool off in the fall and winter, as they do every year.

So sales chances for the latter half of 2010 will be determined in large part by inventory statistics. If a lot of homes come on the market in the coming months, sellers will have a tougher time and prices will remain flat.

During the busy spring market, prices rose in many Washington-area jurisdictions, driven upward by the competition among buyers. From January to June, median sales prices rose 15 percent in Montgomery County and the District. Prices rose 1 percent In Prince George’s County and 4 percent in Charles County.

The biggest gains were in Virginia. Home prices rose more than 20 percent in Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax and Loudoun.

Without the strong buyer competition we saw in the spring, however, we won’t see prices climbing like that (if at all) for the rest of this year.

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