- The Washington Times - Friday, June 26, 2009

Due to improving sales and lower inventory, it is getting easier to sell a home in the Washington metropolitan area.

Note that I didn’t say it’s easy, just easier. We are a long way from the boom market that took place from 2003 to 2005, and I frankly hope we never see that again.

After several years of sluggish sales and a region awash in unsold homes, the market is picking up again.

To download a PDF of the chart, click here.

What’s most encouraging is the drop in inventory. The number of homes for sale has been dropping for the past year. During most spring markets, the inventory will rise as eager sellers list their homes with a Realtor.

The fever chart shows that this year, inventory has instead remained flat since January. The combination of a stable inventory and steadily rising home sales caused sales chances to reach 24 percent last month, something we haven’t seen since 2006.

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

Rising sales help hold inventory down, but we are also seeing less supply. Homes are not coming on the market like they had been in recent years. That is one of the primary reasons the inventory is lower than it was a year ago.

During the first five months of 2008, about 70,000 homes were listed for sale with area Realtors. This year, 54,000 were listed in the same period. Listings haven’t been this low since 2002.

May 2006 was the month when listings reached an all-time high of 20,500 homes in a single month. The resulting surge in inventory has taken years to work through. Fortunately, only 11,300 homes were listed this May.

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

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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