- The Washington Times - Friday, March 14, 2008

With a total of 5,728 homes sold, February was not great for real estate in the Washington area. It was the slowest February since 1998.

Given that the weather wasn’t very bad, we can only conclude that 2008 is looking like a mediocre real estate year.

As always, the regional data conceals more interesting stories.

  • Click here to see this week’s chart.

  • Homes are selling best in the District, Arlington, Alexandria and Fairfax. Next best are Montgomery, Howard and Baltimore counties. Still, sales in all of these jurisdictions were down compared to last year.

    The most surprising sales figures come from Prince William County, where sales actually are up. Spotsylvania was the only other jurisdiction to see a rise in February sales.

    However, sales in Spotsylvania were up just 5 percent, while sales in Prince William were up an astounding 51 percent compared to February 2007.

    Of course, even then, Prince William sales were lower than in 2004 and 2005, but it’s remarkable to see such a jump in sales while sales are falling almost everywhere else.

    I suspect the burst in sales activity can be credited largely to prices. The median sales price fell 9 percent in Prince William last year — more than any other jurisdiction in the Washington area.

    It seems buyers are being drawn to Prince William by these lower prices.

    They will be pleased to know that median sales prices were lower than last February in every jurisdiction but one. Prices were up 6 percent in the District but were down 4 percent in Arlington, 3 percent in Montgomery, 10 percent in Fairfax, 12 percent in Prince George’s and 27 percent in Prince William.

    Chris Sicks

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

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