- The Washington Times - Friday, July 20, 2007

The spring sales market is over. If you were hoping to sell during the busiest season of 2007, it has already passed you by. But if you are looking to buy this year, opportunities still abound.

Barely 7,000 existing homes were sold last month in the Washington metropolitan region. That’s down from 7,772 in May.

This means May was the peak of the 2007 real estate market. Home sales historically continue to slow down during the latter half of the year and won’t really pick up again until February or March of next year.

For sellers, this means you can expect your home to sit on the market for a while. The only exceptions are homes in popular neighborhoods, including most of Arlington and some parts of Alexandria, Montgomery and the District.

Homes in other markets can sell relatively quickly, but you must price them aggressively.

For buyers, the next six months will continue to provide you with plenty of homes to choose from and sufficient time to make up your mind. There were more than 50,000 homes on the market at the end of June — the most ever.

So, if you can’t find a home you like out there, you just aren’t trying. Back in June 2004, buyers had only 15,700 homes to choose from.

I’m not saying that buying a home is easy. Homes on the market today cost significantly more than those of 2004.

But at least you don’t have to offer $40,000 over the asking price in order to beat out other buyers. Remember when that was common practice? No one misses that — except home sellers, of course.

Chris Sicks

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

The statistics in this story reflect a metropolitan area that 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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