Marketing Reports-The Paul Harvey View

Manwsign2I rarely post market reports. On occasion when an area is on the rise or on a steep decline as the market in Prince William County has been over the last year it is interesting to post a perspective. The reason I don’t post many market reports is because they don’t tell the whole story about a community and can often lead to confusion. As Paul Harvey would say ” and now for the rest of the story.”

A perfect example of how a market report can confuse buyers and sellers is to look at Belmont Bay in Prince William County. To date in 2008 there have been 19 settled condo transactions in the neighborhood. Six of those transactions are new construction either in HarborSide or River Club 2 and the other 13 are spread out in the other condo buildings in the neighborhood.

Prices have ranged from a low of $237,000 to a high of $490,000. This is obviously a wide range and it would lead a buyer to question why would anyone pay $490,000 for a condo when you could buy one for $237,000? The difference between the two units is significant and unravels the story of the price difference. The unit that sold at $237,000 was a ground floor condo in foreclosure. The only view that this unit has is of a street and a small view of the community tennis courts on the side. It does not have a balcony and due to its location provides absolutely no privacy for the owner. In fact the previous tenants who lived in the property said they were never able to open their blinds so it was like living in a cave.

The highest priced unit at $490,000 sits on the top floor with views of the Belmont Bay Marina and Occoquan River. It has light all the time and a balcony with terrific views. The owners could leave their blinds open 24 x 7 if they wanted and no one is going to be walking by peering in their window at any time day or night. Each of the other condos that have sold can tell similar stories. Since I have sold 6 condos in the neighborhood this year and been in all of the ones for sale I could easily describe the differences.

If I posted a market report that is only based on number of units sold and the price range of those units I’ve only told you part of the story. When I break it down to tell you the differences in the units, the differences in the amenities in the buildings and the differences in the views then the picture becomes a whole lot clearer.

Thanks Paul Harvey for always reminding us that there is another part to every story. In the case of market reports the true picture of a neighborhood goes deeper than the latest MLS statistics.

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