- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 20, 2005

The Washington-area real estate market continued to cool in September. Home sales were down 12 percent compared to September 2004 — the largest monthly drop in a decade.

Only 9,287 existing homes were sold in the region last month, compared to 10,611 last September. Historically speaking, it is quite impressive to sell 9,300 homes in a single month. No September did that prior to 2003.

But, coming so soon after a record-breaking spring market, it is a shock to see home sales fall so sharply.

Sales were down throughout the region, with only two counties posting a rise in sales. Charles County was up 10 percent, and Anne Arundel was up 12 percent in September.

The largest drop occurred in what had been the hottest portion of the metropolitan area: Northern Virginia. The jurisdictions of Fairfax County, Arlington County and the city of Alexandria were down 27 percent last month.

Sales also dropped sharply in the popular communities of Loudoun, Prince William and Stafford.

Sales did not fall very much, however, in two of the most-affordable counties: Spotsylvania and Prince George’s. Sales have been particularly hot in Prince George’s County all year, due to the attractive combination of affordable homes that are also close to the District.

One result of the slower sales we’ve seen in recent months is a sudden abundance of homes for buyers to choose from. If you look at a map-based search engine for home listings, you’ll see what I mean. I like the site of McEnearney Associates in Alexandria (www.mcenearney.com).

Three months ago, a map search on that site yielded few active listings. Now, there are tons.

Obviously, these sellers face a very different market than they would have experienced only six months ago.

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



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