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What the Current Washington, D.C., Area Housing Market Means for Home Owners

If you’re thinking about selling your home, you should be aware of the state of the housing market. The news nationwide regarding home prices and demand for existing homes has not been good. Fortunately, the metro Washington, D.C., area has not been as hard hit as many other areas. The presence of the federal government has somewhat insulated Maryland, Northern Virginia, and Washington, D.C., from the kind of job losses that many other cities have experienced. As a result, demand and prices in this area have not dipped as much as in other areas. Nevertheless, the chances of selling your home and the price you get for it will be affected by economic situations as well as by the specific area you live in.

Home Prices: In the Washington, D.C., area, the median sale price of a home was $360,000 in February, 2011, a 4.65% increase from February, 2010. However, the increase in home prices is offset by a higher volume of unsold homes and the fact that many homes are staying on the market longer than they were this time last year. The longer your home remains on the market, the more difficult it tends to be to sell it. One study predicts that nationwide home prices will fall 3.7% this year. Other experts worry that the high unemployment rate will drive down home prices nationwide by as much as 5 to 7%.

Volume: February, 2011, saw an increase in both the number of homes listed and the number of homes sold. The number of homes under contract increased 8% compared to February, 2010. The federal homebuyer’s tax credit compelled some families to rush to buy. This artificially increased home sales for the first half of 2010 and reduced sale volume for the second half of 2010 when the credit expired. Without the tax credit as incentive, those on the fence about buying may be less inclined to take the leap.

Foreclosures: Prince George’s and Prince William counties have the highest volume of foreclosures in the Washington, D.C., area. If you are selling your home in of those areas be warned that observers foresee that high foreclosure rates will keep home prices depressed. Because of problems with inaccurate paperwork, many foreclosure proceedings have been halted nationwide. Experts believe that once these cases are resolved, the U.S. could experience another surge in foreclosures, something that could impact the D.C. area.

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