Special to The Washington Post

What are housing prices doing in Georgetown? This is a question I get a lot. Since the first of the year, I’ve been reviewing the sales numbers for last year, and today my answer is different than it might have been a month ago.

Like many area brokers, I thought Georgetown was one of the micro-markets in the country that was actually increasing in value.

 Ah, but the numbers! They say something quite different.

 Last week’s post about Georgetown’s average and median sales prices said something about general trends in this historic neighborhood. But averages and medians are influenced by many factors. They might, for example, go up in a year when there are more high-end sales, or they could go down if a large number of smaller houses sell while the more expensive properties sit on the market. But these numbers may not be too useful in figuring out what a specific house is worth.

The first post showed that median and average prices have been relatively flat since about 2007. But here I take my analysis one step further, looking at the trends with those homes that sold last year that had a history of prior sales going back to 2005. Of those, there were five properties that had had major renovations between sales, so I removed them from the sample. The remaining 29 homes were in essentially the same condition at the time of both sales.

 Here’s what I noticed:

 ●Of these, 22 out of 29 sold for less money in 2011 than they had in earlier years. 

●The average loss was 6 percent. 

●18 of the 29 homes needed to reduce their 2011 asking price before they attracted an offer.

●Only one of the 29 homes sold at the asking price. All the other sellers accepted less than their asking price.

●None of the 22 homes that sold at a loss went as a foreclosure or short sale.

(Pat Kennedy)

The biggest loss was for a house on N Street NW (above), purchased for $2,495,000 in 2007 and sold last year for $1,975,000, 79 percent of the earlier value.

(Pat Kennedy)

The largest gain was a tiny little place on P Street NW (above).  The previous owners paid $649,000 in 2008, and they resold in last year for $710,000, a 9 percent increase.

We’re not seeing sellers in Georgetown taking anything close to the kinds of losses that people in so many other parts of the country have experienced. So if you are planning to sell a Georgetown home, you are in much better shape than sellers in Arizona, Nevada, Florida, Michigan and many other parts of the country. 

But this may not be the time to set a particularly optimistic price on your home, or to base your asking price on what you paid within the past six years.

Related: PHOTOS Evermay mansion

Neighborhood guide: Georgetown

Pat Kennedy is a real estate agent at Evers & Co. and a blogger on Active Rain.

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