The Prices are Falling! The Prices are Falling!

Okay, so I’m not really Chicken Little.

In Prince George’s County, prices are falling from their lofty starting point, but not below last year’s prices for the same period.  We’re still seeing appreciation over last year, just not over last month.

The average sales price in Prince George’s County for 2005 was right around $330,000. As of September , our average sales price for 2006 is just shy of $368,000. However, our average asking price is $430,000! That means there is a disconnect somewhere between what sellers are asking and what buyers are willing to pay.

Ask most real estate agents and they’ll tell you that sellers just don’t get that the market has changed. The change is that houses selling today won’t get more than their neighbors got, they’ll get about the same. But sellers are still adamant about asking for more, with the idea that they can always come down, or that a buyer can always make an offer.

Two things happen with that mentality — 1) buyers look at the number of days that houses have been on the market and automatically discount the asking price, figuring that the seller must be getting desperate and 2) if the house is priced above the market, the buyers who are looking for that house may never even know it’s on the market — they’re looking in a lower price range. If they could afford the seller’s price, they’d buy a bigger (or better or more updated or more something) house!

More statistics tomorrow — it has to mean something!

(C) 2006 Susan Pruden.

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