- The Washington Times - Friday, July 26, 2002

Despite the beginning of summer vacations and their tendency to slow home sales, June was an extremely busy month for the Washington-area real estate market.

The inventory of homes for sale and the number of sales both fell slightly from May, which is typical. Sales chances remained very high, however, at 67 percent. That means our seller's market is just as strong as ever as any home shopper out there knows all too well.

Sales chances are a measure of market activity, calculated by dividing home sales by inventory. The market tends to favor buyers as long as sales chances are less than 15 percent. When chances are between 15 percent and 20 percent, it is a transitional market. When chances are greater than 20 percent, it is a seller's market. From the late 1980s until 1999, sales chances never went above 20 percent. In the past two years, they haven't fallen below 40 percent.

It's important to point out that a sales-chance figure of 67 percent for the metro area doesn't mean things are that active throughout the region.

Chances in June were as low as Fauquier County's 29 percent, and as high as Alexandria's107 percent.

Even within a county or city, you will find significant differences from one neighborhood to another.

Of course, what really matters to you is the one house you are selling or trying to buy. Be sure to ask your Realtor to show you an analysis of similar homes nearby.

That's the only way to gauge how active a particular community is, and that has a lot to do with the sale's price for a home.

Chris Sicks

The statistics in this inventory-vs.-sales column reflect a smaller metro area than this month's resale story. Today's statistics include the Maryland counties of Montgomery, Prince George's, Howard and Frederick; the Virginia counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William; the city of Alexandria; and the District.

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