Washington Post Columnist Elizabeth Razzi garnered some quotes from John McEnearney, 81, founder of McEnearney Associates, and P. Wesley Foster Jr., 74, founder of Long & Foster Real Estate. Her lengthy article is a good read. Here are some highlights:
"How does this market compare with others you've seen?
Foster: I've never seen anything like it.
McEnearney: It's a little bit disconcerting; 1980 to '81 was a terrible market because interest rates got up as high as 18.45 percent. We had to go through novel approaches to put a deal together.
Foster: But this damn thing we're in here now is another one that's giving us hell. I mean, pure hell. We're sweating.
McEnearney: I agree with that wholeheartedly.
Foster: Right now we're fighting for our lives. We're closing offices, laying off people. We're going to make it, but never in 40 years have we lost money. This could be the first year we've lost money, though we're fighting like hell not to.
. . .
How much longer might this go on?
McEnearney: I would say it's probably going to be at least another year before we're going to be out of this. This market could continue into 2009 before returning to a more normal level of activity, as it surely will.
Foster: My pick is the third or fourth quarter, we'll see a little bit of pickup. Next year will be fair. Certainly by 2010 there's gonna be so much damn pent-up demand.
We're seeing life in some places already. Our Gaithersburg/Potomac office is just as lively as it can be. We're going to have a good April. And yet other places are still floored. Close-in has perked along pretty well, anyway, and it's still lively.
But, yet, and I've never seen this before in all our other recessions, there is a ring around Washington now. You go out to Prince William County, 40 to 50 percent of our sales are foreclosures or short sales. Go out to Prince George's County and 25 percent are foreclosures or short sales. Loudoun, it's probably 20 to 25 percent. Montgomery County is not nearly as bad, say it's 12 to 15 percent, and 13 percent of Fairfax. That has never been! This has never happened here!"