- The Washington Times - Friday, November 7, 2008

As you know, home prices have dropped throughout the Washington metropolitan area during this real estate slowdown.

The problem behind the price problem is the huge surplus of unsold homes we’ve been stuck with since 2006.

This surplus is the reason homes are staying on the market for months. It’s also the reason that home buyers can bid down the prices of homes and demand many concessions from sellers.

While this problem of excess inventory certainly isn’t behind us, things are actually beginning to move in the right direction. Unsold inventory was down in many jurisdictions in September, as you can see in today’s charts.

This is happening for two reasons. First, fewer homes are coming on the market to add to the inventory problem. About 11,500 homes were listed with Realtors in the Washington region in September. That’s 13 percent fewer than last year.

Sales were up almost everywhere in September. Of course, homes are still selling much more slowly than they did between 2003 and 2005, but each additional sale whittles away at that glut of unsold homes. Prince William County saw a 239 percent rise in home sales in September.

Because sales have gone up and listings have gone down, Virginia counties such as Loudoun, Prince William and Fairfax saw some of the steepest drops in inventory.

In Maryland, Charles County saw inventory fall 12 percent compared to last year, but drops in other areas were smaller. Prince George’s County saw a 12 percent increase. The unsold inventory in Prince George’s is actually higher than in Montgomery, which is unusual because the population of Montgomery is larger by 100,000 people.

* Contact Chris Sicks by e-mail ([email protected]).

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