- The Washington Times - Friday, July 17, 2009

Looking at June home sales, it’s clear the Washington-area housing market is pulling out of the housing slump ahead of many parts of the country.

As you can see on the fever chart at the bottom of the page, January started the year off well by beating January 2008 sales. By March, we were beating both 2007 and 2008. In April, May and June, sales of existing homes surpassed the pace set in 2006.

Charting the Market: click here to view June metro-wide resales

Of course, 2005 remains out of reach, as it should. We don’t want that kind of overstimulated housing market ever again.

What we want is a steady, reasonable market with competitive parity between buyers and sellers. That’s becoming more and more of a reality this year, with buyers beginning to compete with one another for the first time in years.

That, and the strong increase in sales this year, should prevent further slides in home values. That’s because the factors that caused them to drop (too few sales and too many listings) are disappearing.

During the first half of the year, sales were up 23 percent over last year, while the number of homes put on the market dropped by 21 percent.

However, the region isn’t recovering evenly. While sales in the first half of the year were up 59 percent in Prince George’s County and 40 percent in Stafford County, they increased by just 8 percent in Loudoun County, and actually fell 3 percent in Charles County.

In most jurisdictions, buyers will find a smaller supply of town homes than other home types. Town home inventory was down by 9 percent in the District in June, but was down 20 percent to 50 percent in most of the region. The inventory of single-family and condo properties also is down, but not as much as town homes.

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

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