Home sales heading in right direction


It isnt where you are, its where youre headed, as the old saying goes, and home sales are definitely headed upward for our area. This encouraging news came from the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors in the April report for its region, including Alexandria and Fairfax.

While sales were still down as compared to the same month in 2007, the slide was the smallest of this year. The total decrease for April was by 10.79 percent, to a total of 1,455 homes sold. The month thus followed the years hopeful trend, marked by steadily decreasing declines of 28.65 percent for March, 33.72 percent for February and 46.92 percent for January. Spring is the traditional start of the warm sales season, and the number of homes sold totaled 1,250 for March, 969 for February and 716 for January.

Whats more, single-family homes and townhouses showed single-digit drops, for the first time in any category this year. At 2.8 percent and 5.4 percent respectively, they refl ected 624 and 470 units sold. Th is was a startling contrast to the first three months of 2008. For March, February and January, single-family homes had shown declines of 23.57 percent, 23.35 percent and 44.63 percent, to totals of 535, 417 and 299. Townhouse sales had slid by 27.15 percent, 35.82 percent and 51.68 percent, to 381, 292 and 201.

Condos dragged down the April total, by plummeting 26.63 percent slide, to 361 units sold. Even here, however, the picture has been growing steadily brighter. The losses had been 36.86 percent, 43.84 percent and 45.04 percent, for March, February and January respectively, representing 334, 260 and 216 units sold.

The number of homes on the market increased, April, the total rise was 16.74 percent, to 10,699. The totals had risen by 25.33 percent, percent, 40.18 percent and 28.61 percent for March, February and January, leading to totals of 10,123, 9,497 and 8,939.but, again, in a less drastic way. For

The median price drops, however, held fairly steady throughout the year. The 12.02 percent April decrease led to a median of $413,500. Th e declines had been 12.84 percent, 8.57 percent and 12.09 percent for March, February and January, leading to totals of $401,380, $410,500 and $400,000.

If more homes sold in April, it took them longer to do it, as compared to the same month last year. The average number of days on the market rose for April, by 21.95 percent, to 100. This compared to 7.92 percent, 7.41 percent and 20.59 respectively for March, February and January, when the waiting times reached 109, 116 and 123.

It all suggests that while there are more buyers out there, they are looking for bargains and taking their time doing it. This points the way to a balanced market that will benefi t shoppers and sellers both.