A friend from Northern Virginia dropped by Floyd Tuesday to announce he and his wife will put their house there on the market Friday. They bought a house in Wythe County in 2005 and plan to move here full time by year’s end.

But he will take a bath on sale of the property in Centerville. Real estate prices in the National Capital Region have plummeted over the last 12 months and are projected to get worse.

Reports The Associated Press:

Housing prices are projected to decline in more than 100 of the nation’s metropolitan areas, and the DC area is predicted to be among the regions taking the hardest hit.

The forecast by Moody’s Economy.com, a private research firm, presents one of the starkest views yet of the housing slowdown that has been gathering force in recent months.

The firm projects that the median sales price for an existing home will decline next year by 3.6%.

The report projects that 133 of the nation’s 379 metropolitan areas will suffer price declines.

The Washington area – including Arlington and Alexandria – is Number 14 on the list, with housing prices predicted to drop by 12%.

The price declines represent quite a contrast from the past five years when low mortgage rates pushed sales to five consecutive annual records and prices in the hottest sales areas skyrocketed.

This is a far cry from the boom market that dominated Washington and other areas when we sold our condo in December 2004. Had our friends sold then they would have received much, much more for their home and it would have sold in a matter of days. Now it may take weeks or months to get less.

Timing, they say, is everything. We had no idea that we would sell at close to the peak of the market in late 2004. We just wanted to move.

Sometimes, it’s better to be lucky than smart.