2006 Market ReCap

Most of you know that I live in Cheverly and sell a fair amount of real estate there. And that I pay a lot of attention to the Cheverly market. I find that Cheverly does a pretty good job of reflecting the market as a whole in Prince George’s County, so the following market report, while it is specific to Cheverly in the numbers, can easily be generalized to the whole county.

This past year has seen an abrupt change in the market from 2005. Multiple offers came to a screeching halt, as did the strategy of “put a sign in the yard and it will sell”. In 2005, it almost didn’t matter what price you put on your house — if it was in halfway decent condition, it sold at full price or more.

Well, it certainly isn’t 2005 any more.

But it isn’t all bad news. In comparison to Northern Virginia, Washington DC, and the other close-in Maryland counties, Cheverly and Prince George’s County are holding their own. I think it’s because we are still the most affordable area around.

So, to the numbers. Cheverly’s average sales price has hung in there in the mid-$360’s all year. This is a big jump over 2005, when the average for the year was in the $340’s. So we haven’t lost ground in terms of appreciation. Houses selling this year are selling for more than they would have when the market was at its hottest. While we aren’t seeing much price erosion, there is still a fairly good hit to the seller’s pocket in the form of closing help. A large percentage of contracts in the latter half of 2006 included substantial closing help from the seller to the buyer — 3 to 6%.

Houses are also staying on the market significantly longer than they were in 2005. Longer than they were in the first half of 2006, too.

All this being said, it is still possible to sell for top dollar, in a short period of time and with multiple offers. The houses that are getting these offers are tastefully updated, in sparkling clean condition and with mostly new systems. They are usually priced just a little below market — the eBay approach to getting multiple bids. And it works.

© 2007 Susan Pruden

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