Slow Condo Sales Add to Home Sales Decline

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Overall home sales dipped deeper in August 2008 than they had during June and July, as compared to the same months last year. This ended a positive year-long trend, when declines had steadily slowed.

In January, they stood at 4.69 percent, with 716 homes sold. They reached 5.05 percent in June, for 1,900 units. For July, the drop had fallen to 0.11 percent, or 1,857 units, arousing hopes that sales figures would soon climb into the black. Those hopes were dashed in August, when losses climbed to 5.78 percent, with 1,812 sales.

The overall picture still had its bright side, though. Both August and July showed gains for single-family homes and townhouses, when condos were left out of the equation. This mixed report was issued by the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors, for the area including Fairfax County and the City of Alexandria.

August townhouse sales soared by 20.58 percent, to a total of 580 units sold. Single-family home sales also rose, by 6.14 percent, to 795. Only condo sales dragged down the statistics, declining by 9.52 percent, to 437.

Single-family homes had led the field in July, by contrast, with an 11.57 percent hike, to a total of 887. Townhouses had followed with a 1.71 percent gain, to 535. Condos had fallen behind, with a 19.14 percent loss, to 435.

Townhouses once again led the field in June, with a 9.52 percent increase, to 598. Single-family homes had declined by a modest 0.55 percent, to 902. Condos had fared worst once again, sinking by 26.74 percent, to 400.

The median price plunged steadily throughout this period. It declined by 17.92 percent, to $389,000 in August; by 16.87 percent, to $399,000, in July and by 15.10 percent, to $416,000, in June.

Houses took longer to sell, but the wait was shortest in August. The average number of days on the market climbed by 27.69, 37.88 and 16 percent respectively for June, July and August, to totals of 83, 91 and 87 days.

In the City of Alexandria, townhouses also made the strongest showing. While their sales declined, it was by only 0.3 percent, to a total of 64 units sold. Single-family home sales dropped by 57 percent, to 18. Condo sales declined by 15 percent, to 83.

At the same time, the August median price for single-family homes rose by 7 percent, to $719,750. The townhouse median fell by 11 percent, to $469,750. Condos showed a smaller slide, by 8 percent, to $275,000.

In July, single-family home sales had jumped by a startling 48 percent, to a total of 40. Townhouse and condo sales had sunk by 16 and 19 percent, respectively, to totals of 76 and 82.

The median price for both single-family homes and townhouses fell by 11 percent in July, to $663,950 and $495,500, respectively. The median condo price showed a more modest slide, by 9 percent, to $283,500.

Once again, townhouses had shown the strongest sales in June, with the total dropping by only 0.4 percent, to 76 units sold. June sales of single-family homes dropped by 35 percent, with sales of 34. Condo sales fell by 19 percent, to 78.

The median price for single-family homes rose in June by 3 percent, to $735,000. It dropped for both townhouses and condos, by 6 and 12 percent respectively, to totals of $510,000 and $261,000.

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