- - Thursday, July 5, 2012

How’s the real estate market, you ask? Well, which one? Are you talking about detached homes in Stafford County or condos in the District?

Even within the Washington metro area, there are so many communities and home types that it can be difficult to make any generalizations about real estate.

Today’s charts illustrate the point well. You will find the number of sales and the active inventory in May 2012 for 15 jurisdictions in our area. The data is broken down further into detached homes, attached homes (usually town homes) and condos.

Each jurisdiction and home type has a sales-chance percentage that indicates whether it was a buyer’s market or seller’s market for that home type and area.

If you are a buyer, you will have an easy time buying detached homes in many parts of Maryland. Condos are easiest to buy in Charles and Anne Arundel, and attached homes are great for buyers in Baltimore.

What do I mean by “easiest”? Simply this: When there are a lot of homes in the inventory and not many are selling, a buyer is in the best possible position. Low sales and high inventory cause sales chances to be low.

(Sales chances are my way of measuring the level of competition in the real estate market. Dividing sales figures for the month by the inventory on the last day of the month results 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.)

For sellers of detached homes, things are best in Montgomery, the District and Northern Virginia. Condos sell best in Fairfax County.

No matter where you look, attached homes have been selling better than other home types. This has been true all year, because the inventory for attached homes has fallen and sales have risen.

In Montgomery County, for instance, just 364 attached homes were still available on May 31. In May 2007, there were 1,243 on the market.

Because 414 attached homes were sold in Montgomery this May, sales chances actually exceeded 100 percent. That can happen because I report on sales for an entire month, and inventory at a point in time.

And in case you think it’s just a typo, the region’s highest sales chances truly were for attached homes in Arlington County, at nearly 400 percent.

Send email to csicks@gmail.com.

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