- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Home sales were down last month in the Washington metropolitan area. It didn’t matter whether you compared sales data to September 2005 or to August 2006. Sales were down, and they were down a lot.

Compared to last year, sales were off 27 percent in September. That’s an indication of how much the area market has slowed since its peak in 2005.

Compared to August, sales were down 14 percent. That’s not an indication of anything, really. September sales are always lower than August sales. People just aren’t as interested in buying homes in the fall.

So, from now until January, sales probably will go down every month. By December, sales probably will fall below 5,000. That won’t, however, mean that the overall market has gotten worse. December is simply a very slow month every year.

What should buyers and sellers do in these next few months? Nothing that is dramatically different from what they did in spring and summer. The most important thing to do is study carefully the comparable homes in the neighborhood.

Sellers compare recently sold homes to determine what a competitive asking price would be. Buyers compare recently sold homes to calculate a fair amount to offer for the home of their choice.

These basic but essential steps remain true throughout the year. The data in these charts cover large areas, making the information difficult to apply to a specific home sale or purchase. Even ZIP code data is too broad to be very helpful.

Only the most recent data on sales of similar homes will tell you the current market value of a particular property.

When both sellers and buyers are looking at this data with a clear head, buying and selling become a lot easier and much less frustrating.

Contact Chris Sicks by e-mail ([email protected]gmail.com).


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