The Washington housing market has slowed up a bit in recent weeks in terms of sales of both new and resale houses in the "expensive" bracket. But some professionals insist that it's nothing more than the onset of the usual late fall doldrums.
"We always have to work harder at this time of the year to make sales," commented Willie Gutridge, manager of residential sales for the Huge T. Peck realtor firm, one of the area's largest.
But a Northwest Washington realtor, who declined to be quoted by name, insisted that he has observed some signs of softness in the market for houses priced over $125,000 and added that it seems to be worse in the range over $250,000. He said there's been sufficient overpricing to make some discretionary buyers reach the choking point, particularly if there are selling one house and buying another.
However, another broker said that he has no complaints about the market while admitting the usual seasonal slow. "For the most part we are getting the asking price," added William C. Miller of the W.C. & A.N. Miller Development Co., which handles new house sales and resales in Northwest and nearby Maryland.
John W. Gill, a veteran broker who heads the large H.A. Gill & Son firm in Georgetown, said the market for resale houses under $100,000 is strong but that it has slowed down above $150,000. "But we had a heckuva month in October," he added jubilantly.
A slackening of new house traffic in September was noted in the October newletter of Housing Data Reports, Inc., which keeps in touch weekly with sellers of new dwellings in this area. "The outlook still appears strong. Yet, there is an unexplained edginess in the marketplace that bears watching," it was reported to subscribers, most of whom are builders of new houses.
Home buying does tend to take place in spurts. Both new and resale markets have been strong through most of this year. But mortgage interest rates have edged up to or slightly over 9 per cent in recent weeks and there are those who see that as an unanswerable inhibition to some buyers.
Meanwhile, the Northern Virginia Board of Realtors released an October report that showed that 1,409 resales were made by members, compared with only 916 in October, 1976. The dollar volume for October, 1977, in Northern Virginia was $92.5 million, an increase of more than 75 per cent above the total volume of $57 million in the same month in 1976.
In Maryland, the adult community of Rossmoor glowingly reported 565 sales since marketing was reopened in April, 1975. In Virginia, a spokesman for Pinewood Development Corp, said that 41 Brandy Court town houses were sold last weekend after an offering of 47 dwellings was made in the range from about $29,000 to $38,000.
At least one long-time observer of area housing markets regards any current market change to "some degree of softness" in higher priced houses as probably both seasonal and overdue because of the strong selling that occurred in the past year.