First quarter housing market down 17 PERCENT

Lord! The analogies people toss around when it comes to the housing market.

Forget the bubble: In the first-quarter report for 2006 Charlottesville Area Association of Realtors CEO Dave Phillips says that the current housing market “appears to have jumped out of the fire and back into the frying pan.” In other words, with 615 sales in the first three months of the year throughout the five-county area, things are slowing down. This is in contrast to this same period last year when Phillips likened the market to being “hotter than the Volcano Chicken at Thai ‘99 Restaurant.”
Phillips says 2005 was an anomaly, however. That first quarter saw the opening of the Hessian Hills condo complex off Barracks Road. Full of reasonably priced condos that sold quickly, that development alone added an extra 150 sales to last year’s first quarter, which totaled 741 sales. There was no such boon in the first quarter of 2006, which posted a 17 percent drop. The past three months have instead been “a return to normalcy.”
As for what the future holds, the market is currently slightly biased in favor of buyers, but Phillips predicts this trend won’t last beyond June. Meanwhile, Phillips says condos are the hot property right now, both for people looking for affordable housing and for Baby Boomers looking to downsize.

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