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Top Regional Real Estate Agents Cited As Area Market Uptick Continues

The Northern Virginia Association of Realtors issued its Multi-Million Dollar Sales Club list for 2009 this week, and it is well represented by those from Falls Church and surrounding areas.

In Falls Church, Long and Foster is led by Linda C. Brack, Nan Chaney Brent, Bethany Ellis, Karen J. Freije, Minhthu N. Lynagh, Tori McKinney, John T. Nguyen, Lillian W. Peterson, Andrew James Robertson Jr., Eileen Wiegert and Constance Nee Williams, according to the report.

Betimes Realty is reported as led by Thu Huynh and Duc Tai Lam, and the Westgate Realty by Han Chi Le, Lien T. Pham, Bichlan Nguyen DeCaro, Mai-Thrinh Huynh, Peter Huynh, Thai Hung Nguyen,  Anne N. Thai and Tanya Ha Tran.

Louise Moulton made the list representing Weichert, Muzafare Mumtax representing First American, Marshall Park representing Redfin, Trong M. Trinh representing TMT Realty, Anita G. Vera representing Vera’s Realty and Daniel Walsh representing American Homes.

Those were all the listings under the geographic designation of Falls Church on the list. Well-known names in the Falls Church market, such as Merelyn Kaye of McEnearney and J.D. Callander of Weichert, are listed as based in next-door McLean.

The statewide list is overwhelmingly weighted to the eastern section of Northern Virginia, where the housing market has recovered far better than anywhere else in the state. Alexandria, Arlington, Annandale, Burke, Fairfax, Falls Church, Great Falls and McLean are heavily represented.

Meanwhile, the Hanley-Wood market intelligence report last week noted a trend in “garden variety resale transactions,” which in 2005 accounted for more than 80 percent of all home sales. By 2006, according to the report, that number slipped slightly to 70 percent, while new home sales grew to 20 percent, reaching its peak share.

Just over two years later, in January 2009, the new home share slumped to 14 percent, and starting in that month there were more repossession sales in the preceding 12 month period than new homes sold. So, for the last year and a half, banks have sold more houses than home builders have.

But what is the outlook for home sales going forward? A lot of that is contingent on sustainable new jobs, and while Northern Virginia is comparatively strong in that regard, it is still a nagging problem even here that could eventually douse the current economic recovery trend. So said Dr. Richard Sindy of the Economic Development arm. of  the Virginia Employment Commission speaking at the monthly luncheon of the Falls Church Chamber of Commerce this Tuesday.

Dr. Sindy noted that while official unemployment is only at four percent in this region, buoyed by the federal “stimulus” funding helping to built the Metro Silver Line rail through Tysons Corner en route to Dulles Airport and points beyond, the official statistics are deceiving.

He noted that the official number represents only those who are seeking work, and have not dropped out of the job market, altogether. He estimated that could be another four percent. On top of that, he noted, new jobs coming onto the market are at lower pay with fewer benefits, and many employees are therefore absorbing considerable pay cuts, which in turn introduces major cuts in their spending habits that have a domino effect of hurting incomes and jobs throughout the region.

“We have transitioned from an economy based on what we want, to one based on what we need,” he said, and that ripples throughout the system, hurting most those who lack the technical skills, such as a rudimentary knowledge of computers, for example, the most.

While Congressional action this week will extend unemployment benefits to up to 92 weeks, it was pointed out, such benefits do not cover the basic costs of sustenance for anyone living in this region.

But if it’s not so rosy here, Dr. Sindy said, it is compounded four-fold in other parts of Virginia where official unemployment is 15 to 20 percent, meaning that it is, in reality, closer to 50 percent. He was headed to Martinsville in southern Virginia, a prime case of that problem, after his luncheon speech here Tuesday.

His main message is for prospective employers and employees, alike, to utilize the Virginia Employment Commission’s “Virginia Workforce Network” web site at www.vaemploy.com. Employers can click on that site to “Post a Job/Find a Candidate,” and after registering can review options from the more than two million visits to the site in the last year. Otherwise, he works to help those seeking to work improve their job interviewing skills and resumes.