December 1, 2005

How Cold Is It?

O.K., WDC condo, co-op and single-family home sales market is cooling. But is it: frosty? chilly? luke-warm?

The extent of the slowdown "became much clearer in October," say a local reators' report. Although total sales of single-family homes and condominium and cooperative units increased by 10% from September – as should be expected since October is traditionally the best sales month of the fall season – they were off by 7% from October of 2004, 11% from 2003 and 6% from 2002.

Sales of condo and co-op units priced over $300,000 continued to make strong gains in October, as they have throughout the year, but single-family sales in many price ranges did not keep pace. At the end of June, half way through 2005, overall residential sales were running 3% ahead of those in 2004 but by the end of October they were down to a virtually even level.

This is certainly not the result of a shortage in properties for sale since the inventory of both homes and units has increased substantially in the last two months and is higher now than it has been since the late 1990’s. But concerns about the economy and interest rates have resulted in buyers exercising much great caution this fall than was evident in the spring.

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