I am in the Washington DC area. Local prices were up 2% in the close-in communities but down 4% in the outlying areas. Proximity to Metro and other commuter access was important in determining price. Four percent is not chickenfeed but it’s a lot better than the 50% some “experts” were predicting.
As in any real estate transaction, the key is always 'location, location, location'.
The real estate market is in a low cycle . We'd been through two of them since we bought our home 20 years ago. Right after we bought it, it fell 20% in value over the next two years. Ten years later, the same thing happened, though it didn't fall quite so far. In this third one, we're experiencing another 20% drop in our area.
Sellers have been lowering their prices for the last 6 months, and some houses still have not sold. But I've noticed that only one or two have gone any lower in the last three months. I guess the sellers are staying put, and waiting the buyers out. At some point, there won't be any new listings and the buyers, if they want to get a house, will have to get something that's already there. When buyers see that they won't be getting anything for any less than is out there now, they'll start buying again. I'm sure many were waiting for the 'bottom', and I think it's here.
I'm looking for things to start moving again in the Spring. I'm hoping so, anyway, cause we're looking to put ours on the market in the Summer. We don't really HAVE to sell, so we can wait longer, if need be, but we'd like to move South. We're doing some upgrades to ours because what was acceptable to us in 1988 isn't what folks are looking for in 2008 in the way of Master Suites and kitchens. We're fortunate also in that we can do almost all the work needing to be done, so the upgrades we do won't cost us 'retail', and we'll realize any profit they might bring.