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Prices Down All Around

February was an altogether lousy month for the economy, so who's surprised that local real estate sales stats for the month were equally bad?

Median sales prices for all parts of the immediate metro area were down -- by quite a bit -- compared with February 2008, according to Metropolitan Regional Information Systems Inc., the local multiple listing service.

In the District, the median price for all homes, including condos, was down 13 percent to $360,000; Prince George's County, down 24 percent to $220,000; Montgomery County, down 24 percent to $315,500; Northern Virginia (including Fairfax and Arlington Counties, and the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax and Falls Church), down 23 percent to $318,000; Loudoun County, down 22 percent to $294,000. And in the Prince William County, Manassas City and Manassas Park City grouping, price was down 36 percent from last year to $169,500.

There was some good news in that Prince William grouping, however. The number of sales shot up by 78 percent, and the average days on market fell 26 percent. That means there was one whopper of a clearance sale going on -- a critical precursor to any turnaround.

There was a less-dramatic inventory clearance in some other jurisdictions. In Loudoun County, the number of sales went up 12 percent, and days on market fell 15 percent. In that Northern Virginia grouping dominated by Fairfax and Arlington counties, sales rose 10 percent, and days on market fell 6 percent.

Elsewhere, the number of sales fell along with prices. In Prince George's County, sales fell a scant 0.34 percent (in other words, by a single home sale) compared with last year, and days on market rose 9 percent. In Montgomery County, sales fell 7 percent, and time on market fell 2.5 percent.

The worst housing story of the month, however, comes out of the District, where the downturn arrived later than in outlying jurisdictions. Not only did prices fall, but the number of sales also dropped 30 percent. And the average days on market shot up nearly 22 percent.

Share your reports from the field. What do you see happening with sales, prices and supply?

By Elizabeth Razzi  |  March 11, 2009; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Statistics , The economy , The market  
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