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PotNews: Good News A Cause For Concern

By Greg L | 25 April 2008 | Local Economy | 1 Comment

Well after being scooped by the Washington Times and BVBL, the Potomac News is finally reporting on some developments in the residential real estate market that counter their habitual drumbeat of doom-and-gloom economic reports.  Monthly home sales in Prince William County are up over 2007, and Prince William County is the only Northern Virginia jurisdiction where this is happening.  While the Potomac News/MJM tries to pin every piece of bad economic news in the county on the Rule of Law Resolution, they mysteriously fail to even suggest a possible explanation for this pretty significant positive development.  To make things even more bizarre, the article suggests that this good news might somehow be an indicator of bad things to come.   The editorial board must be pulling their hair out to see the Rule of Law Resolution they so desperately hate actually start delivering some positive results.

The month saw 579 home sales last month compared to 471 the same time in 2007, according to the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors.

In addition to that, 946 sales were in the pipeline while there were 573 in March 2007, said Jill Landsman, a spokeswoman for NVAR, which tracks market performance in the region.

Is this significant?  The Northern Virginia Association of Realtors thinks so:

Still, both are “statistical evidence” of a market correction, Landsman said.

“Prospective buyers are feeling comfortable that they’re getting a good deal,” Landsman said.

“The uptick in sales is important,” regardless of how narrow it may be, she added.

Meanwhile, sales dropped to 1,250, nearly 29 percent, in March for Arlington and Fairfax counties and the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax and Falls Church.

Arlington and Fairfax share our local economic environment, yet they are seeing their residential real estate markets continue to decline while Prince William County is seeing at least a market correction.  What might explain this?  The Potomac News apparently doesn’t want to even ask the question.  The answer would undoubtedly disappoint them.

The Potomac News still has to get it’s gloom-and-doom dig in to counter this good news, however, which it saves for the end of the article: “But it could just as easily create a sense of political and economic instability, and end up reducing demand, Fowler added.”  Let’s see here — year-over-year sales are up, sales in the pipeline are increasing, but this might somehow be bad news and indicate that demand is going to fall?  This is a stretch even for our excuse for a local newspaper, to which any good news in our local economy is inevitably going to be a dire precursor to more bad news, unless it relates to a policy advocated in one of the senseless rants that appear on the editorial page.

Prince William County has rescued itself from the widely-held and largely accurate perception that it had been inundated with illegal aliens and was not a good jurisdiction to live in.  That has entirely changed, and the results as well as the cause for those results should be readily apparent to anyone.

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1 Comment

  1. Harry said on 28 Apr 2008 at 4:14 pm:
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    Well the news is not so good if you consider: 57% of the houses for sale in PWC are foreclosures that are selling at about 65% of outstanding mortgages, believe me, this has a negative impact on every home in PWC. Further, PWC has the highest foreclosure rate in the State and 7th highest in the country. Sounds like a vibrant economy doesn’t it? But real estate prices only matter if you’re buying or selling, I’m doing neither so I real don’t care.

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