New housing production in this area is maintaining the same hot pace that was chronicled last year, according to housing economist Michael Sumichrast. He pointed out, however, that prices of both new and existing homes are now over $80,000, as compared to $68,000 for new homes in August, 1977, and $73,100 for existing homes sold a year ago.
He added that in the first eight months of this year sales of existing houses tabulated by area multiple listing services rose 21 percent above last year to 31,000 units, a record.
Building permits for the first eight months are just slightly below the level of last year, 16,022 compared to 16,621. The greatest change was registered in Fairfax County where permits dropped to 5,940 from 7,104 last year, Sumichrast said. However, Fairfax County leads all area jurisdiction and accounts for 37 percent of all new housing activity in the metropolitan area.
The loss of production in Fairfax was supplemented by a sharp increase in Prince William County (including Manassas). Last year eight-month permits totaled 1,451, compared to 2,292 in 1978.
Other than in Prince William, all other sectors of Northern Virginia showed fewer permits this year. Alexandria was down 49 percent. Arlington, 8.3 percent Falls Church 12.4 percent, Loudoun County, 7.5 percent.
In Maryland, prince George's County had 1,634 residential permits for the first eight months, as compared to 2,324 last year. Montgomery County on the other hand increased 11 percent in permits issued to 2,712 units compared to 2,441 units last year, according to Sumichrast, who is vice president of the National Association of Home Builders.
The share of production continued to decline in Maryland. This was due to a decline in Prince George's permits. The share in Montgomery County increased to 17 percent from 14.7 percent last year.
The District share jumped to 8.7 percent from 5.3 percent last year, with 1,383 permits issued for new homes. That's the highest eight-month figure since 1967 when 1,612 permits were issued. As a comparison, last year the District had 889 permits issued, with a low reached in 1975 when only 230 permits were issued.
Resales in Montgomery county were only slightly above last year 6,800 as compared to 6,608. Prince George's sales were up 22 percent to 8,034 from 6,599 and Northern Virginia jumped 31 percent to 16,587 from 12,640 units.
But listings have declined, according to Sumichrast. He said area-wide listings are down 5 percent from last year (54,624 as compared to 57,406 for the eight month period in 1977).
Particularly sharp was the August drop in listings, with total down to 6,318 from 7,662 in August, 1977.
The average price of all housing sold through multiple listings in Montgomery County was $79,350 in July, up from $73,316 in July, 1977.
The average price of all homes sold in Prince George's County in August was $53,000 as compared to $50,100 last August.
Sumichrast said his statistics showed that the average price in Northern Virginia in August was $71,632, compared to $65,722 last August, an increase of 9 percent.