Continued Tightening in DC Metro Inventory, Highest July Prices in Five Years

Posted on August 10, 2012 by Corey Hart



Active listings at their lowest level in seven years; Growth continues in condo sales, contracts, and median price

Rockville, MD – (August 10, 2012) – The following analysis of the Washington, D.C. Metro Area housing market has been prepared by RealEstate Business Intelligence (RBI), and is based on July 2012 MRIS housing data.

Click here to view PDF version of this report


The shrinking inventory of homes for sale continues to play a major role in the Washington DC Metro Area housing market, though median price and sales growth has slowed.  The total inventory of active listings is the lowest of any month since August 2005.  The limited quantity of homes for sale is causing the median days-on-market to decrease (currently at 23 days, lowest July-level since 2005), and the sale-to-list price ratio to rise (currently at 96.3 percent, highest July-level since 2006). Sales and median price growth have slowed from the spring; however both are higher than this time last year.  The condo market continues to strengthen, posting the highest year-over-year increases of all residential property segments in sales, new contracts, and median sale price.


Sales are up from last year, down from last month; condo market continues to lead growth.  There were 4,164 sales in July in the DC Metro Area, a 5.1 percent increase from July 2011, and the fourth consecutive year-over-year gain.  The number of July sales is 10.7 percent lower than last month, which is in line with the 10-year average June to July change of -9.5 percent.  Detached home sales are up 3.4 percent from this time last year, and townhome sales rose 1.9 percent.  The condo market leads in growth for the second straight month, with sales up 12.7 percent from July 2011.  All property segments recorded their highest July sales level in three years.


The median sale price dropped nearly $15K from last month, but is still the highest July-level in five years.  After several months of double-digit price increases for much of the metro area, median sale price growth has slowed, even decreasing in several jurisdictions.  At $385,050, the median sale price for the DC Metro Area rose 4.1 percent from this time last year, the sixth consecutive month of year-over-year price gains.  At $173,000, Prince George’s County led all jurisdictions in median price growth with an 8.1 percent jump from July 2011.  For the second month in a row, the condo segment posted the highest median price growth, up 4.4 percent from last year, an $11,750 increase.  At $485,000, the median sale price for detached homes rose 4.3 percent from July 2011, a $20,050 increase.  The median sale price for townhomes edged up 0.6 percent to $357,000.  Year-to-date median sale prices are up in all jurisdictions and rose 7.4 percent for the metro area from the same period last year.


Growth in new contracts has slowed; townhome and condo contracts up, detached homes down.  There were 4,569 contracts signed in July in the DC Metro Area, up 0.1 percent from July 2011, but down 10.2 percent from last month.  Historically, new contract activity has slowed between June and July in the region; however the double-digit drop is sharper than the 10-year month-over-month average change of -8.4 percent.  The townhome and condo markets posted year-over-year growth in new contracts of 4.0 percent and 6.0 percent respectively.  This is the 15th consecutive year-over-year gain for the condo market, which continues to enjoy strong demand based on lower price points, escalating rents in the region, and easier financing.  New contracts on detached properties fell by 4.4 percent from this time last year.


Active listings are at their lowest level in seven years; back-to-back months of historic lows for new listings.  There were 9,650 active listings in the DC Metro area at the end of July, which represents the lowest level of inventory for any month since August 2005.  The year-over-year decline in active listings was 35.4 percent in July, the fourth consecutive inventory reduction exceeding 30 percent.  The 4,579 new listings entered in July represent a 14.8 percent decline from July 2011, and the lowest July-level on record with metro-wide data available back to 1997.  The shrinking inventory of homes for sale is having an impact on the market as evidenced by the lowest July-level median days-on-market since 2005 (23 days), and the highest July-level sale-to-list-price ratio since 2006 (96.3 percent).  The low supply also indicates that many potential sellers may still be wary of their financial situations, and are more comfortable remaining in their current homes. 

About the RBI Metro Housing Market Update

The DC Metro Area Housing Market Update provides unique insights into the state of the current housing market by measuring the number of new pending sales, trends by home characteristics, and key indicators through the most recent month compiled directly from Multiple Listing Service (MLS) data in RBI’s proprietary database. The bulk of this report’s content is readily available, down to the ZIP code level of granularity, via interactive charts and reports offered via rbiEXPERT, a premium subscription service offered to real estate professionals interested in growing their business with the help of industry-leading and user-friendly analytics. The DC Metro Area housing market includes: Washington, D.C., Montgomery County and Prince George’s County in Maryland, and Alexandria City, Arlington County, Fairfax County, Fairfax City, and Falls Church City in Virginia.

DC Metro Area, market analysis
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