Local home buyers stay busy this summer

WASHINGTON — Summer is traditionally the time to get away, but this year, more people have decided there’s no place like (a new) home.

July sales and pending contracts were at the highest level in a decade, according to Real Estate Business Intelligence.

Home showings also were up.

“What we’re seeing is remarkable strength as we go into the tail end of the house buying cycle,” said John Heithaus, chief evangelist at RBI.

Closed sales for the month were up 15 percent higher than July 2014.

“With mortgage rates continually being at historic lows, affordability is at a real high,” Heithaus said.

To date this year, the biggest area price increases have come in Arlington, Virginia (7.6 percent), Prince George’s County, Maryland (7 percent) and Washington, D.C. (5 percent).

“Rents continue to escalate, way ahead of inflation,” Heithaus said, describing the move to home buying.

“A lot of people sitting at a kitchen table, when they write that rent check out, they say, ‘Do we really need to do this?'”

Heithaus characterized industry and consumer confidence in the area as being very high, which also helps drive demand.

Some of the outer suburbs, however, have been treading water or even lost a bit a ground this year.

Home sales in Frederick, Maryland increased ever so slightly. Sale prices in Loudoun County, Virginia, and Anne Arundel County, Maryland, have declined.

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