- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 16, 2007

April didn’t shape up quite like some thought it would. Just 7,502 existing homes were sold in the Washington metropolitan area last month — a drop of 20 percent compared to April 2006.

That’s not what some real estate agents were predicting a month or two ago. Buyer activity seemed to be on the rise in March, after a February slowed in part by bad weather.

The increase in traffic that agents were reporting caused some to hope that the spring market would pick up in a big way. The spring market always is the hottest period of the year for home sales. The pertinent question is: Is this spring better than last spring was? Has the sales slump passed, or is it still with us?

Apparently, it is still here.

Every jurisdiction in the region last month saw sales activity lower than in April 2006. The District did OK, with sales down by just 2 percent. Cumulative data for the District actually shows sales there up by 2 percent over the first four months of the year, but that is the only jurisdiction where sales have risen this year.

Loudoun and Anne Arundel counties fared better than most of the region last month, with sales down by single digits. Sales were down the most in Charles and Prince George’s counties, by 37 and 39 percent, respectively.

April’s lackluster sales meant that home prices are falling or stagnant in most of the region. Although median sales prices were up 3 percent in Montgomery and Alexandria compared to last year, they were down 1 percent in the District and Fairfax, 8 percent in Arlington and Loudoun and 12 percent in Stafford County.

If you go farther outside the Beltway, the price drops were even steeper last month. Median prices were down 22 percent in King George County, 16 percent in Fauquier County and 37 percent in Clarke County.

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


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