Lately, I’ve been thinking about Buyer’s Market, an old feature I wrote for Washington City Paper from February 2008 into the early fall. The purpose of the feature was to identify colossal price drops for various listed homes. At first, it was easy to find examples—-there were frequently price drops above 20 percent. Ridiculous expectations abounded. Denial was still alive and well.

Then, reality set in. It became increasingly difficult to locate prime examples of agents pricing their properties 100,000s ahead of the market. Plus, I got bored.

So we killed Buyer’s Market. R.I.P.

But now that news of the housing market’s stabilization is becoming increasingly common, I’m haunted by ole Buyer’s Market.  So if this is indeed the bottom or somewhat near it, let’s check in on what we’ve hit. And if it’s not bottom in D.C., here’s just another on-the-way-down progress report.

The above house is 5310 5th Street NW, which appeared in Buyer’s Market on Sept. 10, 2008. At that point, we found the listing looking like this:

Original listing price: $549,000 (Sept. 14, 2006)
Current listing price: $429,000 (June 13, 2008)
Slash rate: 22 percent
Square footage: 1,524
Neighborhood: Petworth

So what happened to this tidy, renovated property? Nothing. It didn’t sell, according to D.C. property records. But others nearby did. In 2009, 16 similar 3-bedroom/2-bathroom rowhouses sold in the area. Average price: 260,450—-the most expensive one went for $419,000 (it sat on the market for 417 days), and the least went for 129,900 (It sat on the market for four days).

Image by Darrow Montgomery