Real Estate Agent with Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate 303829;0225082372


Daily news items and agents' market reports that report monthly sales are telling only half of the story about the real estate market.   

 SPREAD THE WORD.  The real story about the real estate market is not the dollar amount for homes sold.  Average sold prices really obscure the real news.  The real news is not that prices in Montgomery County for 2007 are 57% higher than in 2002.  The real news is that sales volume for November 2007 was only 59% of sales volume for 2002. 

Agents can't rely on national news or even local news for the state of our local markets.  We need to do our own research and give our buyers and sellers the facts.  Ifsales volume is included in a CMA, prospective sellers may make better pricing decisions.   


YEAR                            #SOLD             PRICE

Nov. 2002                       596             $491,332
Nov. 2003                       682             $522,490
Nov. 2004                       803             $637,812
Nov. 2005                       663             $748,007
Nov. 2006                       448             $720,790
Nov. 2007                       361             $709,542


YEAR                            #SOLD           PRICE

Nov. 2002                       533             $442,206
Nov. 2003                       592             $504,521
Nov. 2004                       720             $594,663
Nov. 2005                       575             $680,062
Nov. 2006                       496             $689,066
Nov. 2007                       313             $692,245


  • FACT:  Sales volume has declined at a far faster rate than sales prices. 
  • FACT:  Market reports that tell the price story are reflecting only what has happened in a time frame.
  • FACT:  Market reports that tell the volume story are reflecting buyer activity. 
  • FACT:  Buyers are speaking with their feet, not their checkbook. 
  • FACT:  There are 3445 Active Single Family homes listed for sale in Fairfax County as of 12/12/2007.
  • FACT:  There are 2633 Active Single Family homes listed for sale in Mont. County as of 12/12/2007.

Courtesy, Lenn Harley, Broker,, 800-711-7988.      

* Detached Single Family Fee Simple.

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Comments (58)

Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Josette.  Do they think the house isn't worth the price or are they trying to get a better buy than the seller will give??/

I've got a buyer who thinks that the market is so bad that new home builders are going to lose money on a sale just to get him to buy.

They are not. 

If a buyer continues to consider the negotiation more important than buying a home, I don't consider them serious buyers.  They are serious negotiators.  If buyer consistantly offers too low, they aren't buyers, they're just negotiators.

Dec 13, 2007 09:35 AM
Eliese Pivarnik
Colorado Group Realty, LLC - Steamboat Springs, CO
CRS, GRI, ABR, RSPS, Colorado Group Realt

I just ran our numbers in Steamboat Springs, CO. There are 69 SFH for sale between $495,000-$15,000,000.

Only 4 of them are below $750,000, and 21 are below $1,000,000.  Our absorption rate based on October sales is less than 3 months (in the under-a-million price point).  That's partly the reason why our market is still going strong. 

Send your investor clients to Steamboat and I'll send you a referral fee!

Dec 13, 2007 10:06 AM
Geordie Romer
Windermere Real Estate / NCW - Leavenworth, WA
Serving Leavenworth, Lake Wenatchee, and Plain
Is the real story the volume of sales? How about the absorbtion rate instead or the number of pending sales? Technically it wouldn't matter if the volume was down, if for some reason the inventory was down too.
Dec 13, 2007 10:16 AM
Svetlana Stolyarova
Local-n-Global Realty, Cleveland and International Real Estate Solution - Mayfield Heights, OH
Local-n-Global Realty, Broker 216-548-4663

Lenn  -- Perfect point on what is real price and what is real information. By the way, talking about pricing, how can stats consider numerous "seller's concessions" or "down payment assistance" or any other "give backs" which got customed to be included in sales price? I believe, in 2002 and even in 2003 we did not experience as many of these give backs as later. However, it is not real problem in the areas like yours where prices increased dramatically. It is more significant for more moderately priced regions like Cleveland.

I like your idea of comparing sales volume and pricing year-by-year. The problem is - here in Cleveland sales volume vary from month to month and may differ significantly. Because of this it is not accurate to compare November to November data for our area. Maybe in your place sales volume is more steady. What about your numbers for 11 months? Are they similar to monthly data?

Dec 13, 2007 11:01 AM
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Svetlana.  The thing I don't want to do when making comparisons is compare apples to oranges.  I wanted to make the point that over the years, while prices have held, volume is now significantly lower.

I used November because it's the most recent month.

Geordie.  Could be.  Why not do such a study for your area??

Eleise.  I have seen that with other aeas in Colorado, Idaho, etc.  Yours is a luxury market, probably seasonal. 


Dec 13, 2007 11:24 AM
Josette Skilling
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Bethesda, MD

Lenn, I call it "do you want a house or do you want to negotiate yourself out of a house"  I even have talked with them about this in just those terms and still it's more important to get a deal than to get a house.  It's the same fear for sellers to "lose" money by not making a $300,000 profit.  They are all so fearful of leaving money on the table that they end up with nothing.

If it weren't happening to others as well I'd think something was just wrong with me. Aaaaaaghhhhhhh.

I have this on my list to write about...

Dec 13, 2007 12:51 PM
Bob & Carolin Benjamin
Benjamin Realty LLC - Gold Canyon, AZ
East Phoenix Arizona Homes
Always enjoy reading your posts. All the best for this holiday season.
Dec 13, 2007 02:35 PM
Lupe Soto-Realtor
Realty Connection Group - Los Angeles, CA
Listing, Selling Burbank Palmdale & more


thank you for sharing important facts. Happy holidays.

Dec 13, 2007 07:33 PM
Cathy Clark
Bourne, MA

Media generalizations need to be broken just as Lenn has done here.  Not only just for sales and inventory but foreclosures as well.  If you listen to the national and even local (state-wide) media they are reporting national or state-wide averages.  But they need to be looking even more locally by county.  The media is not going to take that kind of time, so it is in our (and our Client's) best interests to invest the time.

Yes, there are counties in MA that are struggling with very high foreclosure rates and they appear to be centered around more industrial/urban areas.  While other, more outlying areas are not impacted as much and the "deals" everyone is looking for just aren't there.  If you're looking for a great deal on a triple-decker in Lowell you'll probably find one.  But if you want to buy a vacation-spot waterfront at 50% off, good luck with that!

Dec 14, 2007 12:33 AM
R. B. "Bob" Mitchell - Loan Officer Raleigh/Durham
Bank of England (NMLS#418481) - Raleigh, NC
Bob Mitchell (NMLS#1046286)

The laws of supply and demand being what they would seem to me that if demand is down, that prices will follow?  That is until we get the credit markets fixed, then I think that demand will rise again.


Bob Mitchell

ValueList Real Estate Services, Inc. 

Dec 14, 2007 02:13 AM
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland


You would think so, wouldn't you???

Dec 14, 2007 02:14 AM
Krista Fuchs
Prudential Fox & Roach - Exton, PA
Chester County Realtor - (484) 459-8025 - Home Buying and Selling

Sales volume is very important and I like the way you put it " Buyers are telling us something with their feet not their checkbook"  Very Smart!  I'm going back to check my reports.

Dec 14, 2007 05:57 AM
William J. Archambault, Jr.
The Real Estate Investment Institute - Houston, TX


I came late to this post, I was going to say well done! Then I started reading the comments. How dare you try to confuse the readers with facts in the face of common knowledge!

Cold facts simply don't out way personal annotatal evidence in the 30 second sound byte news madia. So what if that house you bought in 2002 for $491,332 is now only worth $$709,542! You lost money because if you'd sold in 2005 it was worth $748,007! Of course you didn't sell you wanted to live in your own home, everyone has to live somewhere. Most want to maintain the style to wich they have become accustom.

I'm not forgetting those people that bought in 2005, they do have a problem, if they really have to sell. Being up side down in a loan isn't good, but so many volinteer for it when they buy a car, not to mention those cash back programs, real estate unlike a car will recover. But, all the interviews with foreclosure "victims" fail to mention that they stopped making the payments. The interviewers blame all those sub-prime loans, conveniently forgetting that the overwhelming majority have been our countries biggest housing success since the VA loans after WW II! Not to mention that 30% of the foreclosures are on Prime, conforming loans!

Don't you know, home ownership comes with risk and should be discourage in favor of government controlled public housing!

Please, for give me, all I wanted to say was well said!


Dec 14, 2007 04:19 PM
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Krista.  The market will rule.  Sellers and listing agents have been ignoring those walking feet for two years.

Bill.  You sly old dog.  I can picture your tongue planted firmly in your cheek and a sly grin in your face.

You are absolutely right and nothing infuriates me more than politicians or new media people interviewing a home owner who purchased a home in 2003 with 100% financing, refinanced in 2005, spent their equity on a van.  Now their loan is resetting and they can't make the payments and are upside down. 

That's the buyer who gets interviewed.  I have no sympathy. 

Dec 14, 2007 10:22 PM
William J. Archambault, Jr.
The Real Estate Investment Institute - Houston, TX


Please! Don't let the gray hair fool you. I'm not old, just overly dilapidated.


Dec 14, 2007 11:40 PM
Judy Cicalese
William Raveis Real Estate - New Canaan, CT
Market Knowledge-Social Media Savvy 203-638-7812
Thanks for inspiring me to do the stats for my town for the past month, our #sold is the highest this past month since November 2004 (the AVG Sales price is down since then, but not terrible.  I'm a stats freak and and always have them available when I do a CMA but I usually do a YTD overview.  Thank you,
Dec 15, 2007 12:32 AM
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Judy.  Thanks for commenting.

I'm a statistical junkie.  Sales stats give us insight.  It's the thing that separates us from the fringe.  We understand our market. 

Dec 15, 2007 12:54 AM
Robert Kerr

You've got to be kidding me. 5Yo5Y? That's the "real story?"

And when that metric turns bad, what's next, decade-over-decade?

Dec 15, 2007 06:21 AM
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Robert.  5Yo5Y means something to me because I like to have an historical refereence.

I do month over month regularly. 

If you want another metric, do one. 


Dec 15, 2007 07:43 AM
Diane Cohn

Lenn, fabulous! All people want is the truth so that they can make informed, educated decisions. Keep doing this and your business will blossom no matter what the local market is doing.


Dec 21, 2007 12:30 PM

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