- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 24, 2004

The Washington-area real estate market continues to surprise. More homes were sold last month than in any 30-day period in history.

Area buyers put contracts on 13,473 existing homes, 11 percent more than in May 2003. If an 11 percent increase isn’t impressive enough, remember that May of last year broke all sales records and was considered an unbelievably busy month by area Realtors.

During the first five months of 2004, more than 54,000 existing homes have been sold in the metropolitan area. Less than a decade ago, in 1995, fewer than 19,000 homes were sold in the first five months. In fact, only 45,800 homes were sold in all 12 months of 1995. At today’s pace, it is likely that 2004 sales will exceed 130,000 by the end of the year.

The strongest sales this year have been found in Virginia counties outside the Beltway. Sales are up by 13 to 24 percent in Loudoun, Prince William, Stafford and Spotsylvania. In Maryland, only Frederick County has seen double-digit sales growth, and then only by 10 percent.

Some of the sales increases in Northern Virginia are due to strong new-home sales. Loudoun and Prince William counties have been the top new-home markets since 2000.

Of the 26,000 new homes sold in the Washington area last year, more than 10,000 were sold in Loudoun and Prince William.

This affects today’s resale market because these counties simply contain more homes to be resold than a few years ago.

The new-home growth in Virginia has also unseated Maryland as the dominant resale market for the region. Existing homes in Maryland used to outsell Virginia year after year, usually by about 20 percent.

Things changed in 2002, however, when more existing homes were sold in Virginia than in Maryland — a situation that is likely to become permanent due to strong new-home sales in Virginia.

Chris Sicks

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