- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 21, 2010

September was the slowest month for home sales in the Washington area since February, and it beat February by just 200 sales. If you remember, the region was covered in snow in February. That should tell you just how slow September was.

To be fair, the market always slows in the fall. You can see on the bottom chart how the spring market captures the most home sales every year. But this September was slower than both 2009 and 2008, despite some great incentives for buyers.

What incentives? Not a free microwave or T-shirt. We’re talking about incredibly low interest rates, home prices that have fallen significantly since 2005 and a huge selection of homes from which to choose.

Homebuyers have advantages right now that they haven’t had in years. Yet they are sitting on the fence, or on their hands. That’s more evidence of just how spooked everyone is about the economy.

Five years ago, home shoppers in Prince George’s County were so eager to buy that homes spent an average of just 26 days on the market before selling. It was the fastest-selling county in Maryland in the fall of 2005. Buyers there were happy to pay a median price of about $322,000.

In Prince George’s today, you find that homes sold last month took 91 days to find a buyer even though the median price has fallen to $200,000.

Similar statistics could be quoted about other jurisdictions in the area.

I expect sales will perk up next spring, as they do every year, but we aren’t likely to see the Washington real estate market take off in a dramatic way until consumer confidence improves.

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



Click to Read More

Click to Hide