Wall Street Journal: Northern Virginia Home Prices Near Bottom

by Will Smith

Wall Street Journal: Northern Virginia Home Prices Near Bottom

The Wall Street Journal’s Developments blog took a look at real estate in the DC metropolitan region this weekend and highlighted a few notable trends. The first is that certain markets in Northern Virginia may be nearing the bottom of their precipitous three-year decline. Article author Thomas Lawler, a 22-year veteran of Fannie Mae, points to dramatically increased sales in Prince William County as evidence: PWC saw the number of home sales double in January 2009 versus January 2008.

Here are a few of Lawler’s other assertions:

  • Generally speaking the real estate markets in DC proper and Maryland lag those of Northern Virginia, which means the worst is not yet over for them. “Northern Virginia’s home price ‘correction’ to date has been more severe than Maryland’s, but it’s now much closer to being over, and home sales are recovering and unsold inventories are dropping sharply. In Maryland, in contrast, reported home price drops have not as yet been as dramatic, but home sales continue to languish and unsold inventories remain bloated.”
  • DC proper and Maryland are starting to see housing prices decline “at an accelerated pace.” Sales velocity is slowing, and inventory is growing.
  • Virginia is a “non-judicial” foreclosure state, while Maryland is “judicial”. Translation: “The typical timeline from when a borrower stops payment to when the home is actually foreclosed on is longer in Maryland than in Virginia. As a result, the Maryland suburbs have a much larger overhang of loans that are currently in some stage of foreclosure than is the case in Northern Virginia.”

See the full post here. Be sure to also scan the comments, which offer plenty of counterpoints to Lawler’s findings.

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/wall_street_journal_northern_virginia_home_prices_near_bottom/545


  1. Will Smith said at 10:56 pm on Monday February 16, 2009:

    From the Piedmont Real Estate Blog:

    “Prince William County is the place to be if you’re a seller, but may be becoming problematic for buyers. We’re down to a five months supply of inventory. That indicates we’ve got a pretty balanced supply of inventory there. And, my experiences there bear that out. As I was showing homes this weekend in Prince William, a smaller percentage of what I showed were foreclosures or short sales. But prices are still down significantly, 34% year over year.”


  1. Keith said at 3:36 pm on Tuesday February 17, 2009:

    If he can see this so clearly, can he tell me when the stock market is going to hit bottom?

  1. SJ said at 3:19 pm on Thursday July 23, 2009:

    In hindsight, thos “counterpoints” from commenters was just a big screed based from people deeply in denial.  All those comments about inventory getting ready to “explode” when it plunged and is now below 2005 levels. 

    Turns out lawler was quite right.

Comments are closed.

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