- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 14, 2006

New-home sales in the Washington metropolitan area were down 22 percent in the second quarter of 2006 as builders felt the effects of the slowing real estate market. Builders haven’t suffered more than the rest of the market, however. Sales of existing homes were down 31 percent during the second quarter.

Still, builders have had to make adjustments. The base sales prices of new homes sold this year are down in many jurisdictions.

Prices were down 24 percent in the District, making it the second-most-affordable jurisdiction. That’s a significant change. In the first half of last year, the District was the area’s fourth-most-expensive place to buy a new home.

This year’s prices also are down quite a bit in Montgomery, Loudoun, Fairfax and Prince William counties. It’s interesting to note that the three most expensive jurisdictions last year were Montgomery, Loudoun and Prince William.

By contrast, three of last year’s least expensive new-home markets were the Maryland counties of Frederick, Charles and Anne Arundel. This year, new-home prices are up in all three.

I’m sure you get the point by now: Builders have had to adjust their pricing to compete in a slowing market, and they have had to adjust most dramatically in the most expensive markets.

We’ve seen the same thing this year in the existing-homes market. Prices of existing homes have dropped the most in Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and the District, which are also the four most expensive jurisdictions in the region.

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

The metro area includes the Maryland counties of Montgomery, Prince George’s, Anne Arundel, Howard, Charles and Frederick; the Virginia counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William, Spotsylvania and Stafford; the city of Alexandria; and the District.

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