- The Washington Times - Friday, October 5, 2007

In August, the two worst places to sell a home in the entire Washington region were Stafford and Prince William counties.

In Prince William, the median sales price was down 3 percent in August. The homes that did sell had been on the market for an average of 126 days. Compare that to 78 days in neighboring Fairfax County, or only 49 days in Arlington.

“We’d like the numbers to be a little better,” says Cindy Stackhouse, president-elect at the Prince William Association of Realtors. “However, it is a more satisfying market in some ways. Sellers are selling homes, and the buyers actually like what they are buying, instead of buying in a panic like they were a few years ago.

“Back then you’d have 20 people lining up for one house. Now they have choices,” Mrs. Stackhouse says. “Those of us who have been around a long time have seen these market changes before. It may appear to be slow to some, but it is really a correction to a normal market.”

To illustrate how short our memories can be, let me back up Mrs. Stackhouse with some numbers.

Ten years ago, it took an average of 161 days to sell a home in Prince William County. There were only 409 homes sold in August 1998, compared to 425 in August 2007. So, believe it or not, this year is marginally better than 1998.

Despite the slow sales conditions, people in Prince William keep trying to sell their homes. The inventory there is four times larger than it was in 2004. It has grown more than any other Virginia jurisdiction in our region.

“Some people are selling to get out of the financing situation they got into,” Mrs. Stackhouse says. “Plus, we are a very transient county with lots of government and military employees. We’re not as far out as Stafford or Spotsylvania, but not as close in or pricey as Northern Virginia. Prince William is the middle ground with affordable homes, plenty of community amenities, less traffic, and you still aren’t too far outside the Beltway.”

Chris Sicks

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

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