- - Thursday, July 26, 2012

Although the real estate market in June wasn’t as busy as during the previous three months, June still was a very active month. It was the kind of month to make sellers thankful — particularly because June sales aren’t always this good.

Washington-area sales totalled 8,350 last month, about the same as June 2011. The thing that made it so good for sellers was the lower inventory.

As you can see on the bottom chart, inventory has been dramatically lower this year than in recent years. In June 2011, area home sellers had to compete with nearly 28,000 other properties for sale. This June, fewer than 20,000 homes were on the market.

But because sales were the same as last year, buyers had to battle one another more fiercely this June to get the home of their choice. Lower inventory is the reason sales chances remained above 40 percent last month, an indication that most of the region was a seller’s market.

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

A few jurisdictions were not seller’s markets in June, as can be seen in the top charts. With chances in the 20s, Anne Arundel and Charles counties in Maryland were balanced markets, with neither buyers nor sellers having a distinct advantage.

Because those counties aren’t seeing the same kind of buyer competition as the rest of the region, homes are dawdling on the market for more than 100 days. Compare that to Northern Virginia, where homes are selling in about six weeks, on average.

It’s that kind of competitiveness in the Northern Virginia market that has caused home prices there to begin climbing back up in recent years.

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