- The Washington Times - Friday, April 25, 2008

The inventory of existing homes for sale rose to nearly 50,000 last month, which is where it was during the slow spring market of 2007. With that many properties competing against you, March was not a great month to be selling your home.

Sales chances were 13 percent last month. That’s the highest it’s been all year, but definitely no reason for sellers to get excited. Chances that low mean we are still in a strong buyer’s market.

Sales chances are calculated by dividing a month’s sales figures by the inventory on the last day of the month, resulting in a percentage. A figure below 20 percent indicates a buyer’s market. Higher figures mean we’re in a balanced market or a seller’s market.

  • Click here to see this week’s chart.

  • The two jurisdictions with the highest sales chances are still Arlington and Alexandria. Although these markets are much slower than they were a few years ago, it is much easier to sell a home in Arlington or Alexandria than it is outside the Beltway.

    Friends of mine just sold their Arlington home in one day and got their asking price. That’s a story you don’t hear as much these days.

    Because more than 14,000 additional homes came on the market last month, our inventory is going to remain high.

    That means buyers will continue to enjoy plenty of selection, and sellers need to understand that. Recognize that if buyers can choose from dozens of homes similar to yours, you need to give them a reason to put your home at the top of their list.

    If your property needs lots of work, you better price it accordingly. If it is in great shape, then study carefully the recent sales prices for similar homes in similar condition, and don’t aim too high.

    Someday we’ll be in a seller’s market again and all this will change, but that won’t be happening anytime soon.

    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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