DC area home sales down for 5th consecutive month

Posted on January 10, 2019 by Corey Hart



Washington D.C. Metro finishes 2018 with a new December record high median sales price of $445,000; sales dip 9.4%; inventory levels essentially flat

Rockville, MD – (January 10, 2019) – The following analysis of the Washington, D.C. Metro Area housing market has been prepared by Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D. of MarketStats by ShowingTime and is based on December 2018 Bright MLS housing data.

Click here to view PDF version of this report


  • The Washington D.C. Metro area had a December median home price of $445,000, up 5.9% or $24,950 from last December.  This was easily the highest December level of the decade.  Prices were down a slight 1.1% or $4,900 from last month. 
  • Sales volume across the DC Metro area was just below $2 billion, down 8.1% from last year.
  • December closed sales of 3,521 were down 9.4% compared to last year, the fifth consecutive month of declining year-over-year sales.
  • New pending sales, however, were up 1.4% to 3,362, the first time in five months that year-over-year pending sales increased.
  • New listings compared to last year were down 3.2% to 2,710.
  • Active listings compared to last year dipped just slightly, down 0.5% to 6,697.
  • The average percent of original list price received at sale in December was 97.2%, the same as last year.


  • Median sales price of $445,000 was up 5.9% (+$24,950) compared to last year but down 1.1%  (-$4,900) compared to last month.  This is the 27th consecutive month of year-over-year price increases, and the largest increase since May of 2017.
  • Compared to last year, prices for townhomes rose 9.7% to $499,900, single-family detached homes rose by 4.5% to $538,492 and condo prices rose 3.4% to $310,000.
  • Prices are well above the 5-year average of $415,630 and the 10-year average of $381,101.
  • This month’s median sales price of $445,000 is 39.1% higher than the $320,000 of 12/2009.
  • Falls Church City continues to have the highest median sales price in the region of $887,500, up 22.4% compared to last year.
  • Prince George’s County is still the most affordable area, with a median sales price of $300,000, a 7.1% increase over last year.
  • For all of 2018, prices are up 3.5% across the DC metro area to $440,000.  For the year, all jurisdictions saw year-over-year increases except Arlington County, where they declined 2.6%.  Elsewhere, year-over-year price increases were in the 3.0% to 5.0% range.


  • December’s closed sales of 3,521 were down 9.4% from last year and 2.2% from last month.
  • Sales of all property types were down compared to last year, with single-family detached homes down 13.5% to 1,554, townhomes down 8.7% to 961, and condos down 3.1% to 1,005.
  • Sales are below the 5-year average of 3,913 and the 10-year average of 3,665.
  • December closed sales are 16.1% below the December 2015 peak of 4,198.
  • For the overall DC metro area for the year-to-date, closed sales are down 2.3% to 54,403.
  • For the year, only Alexandria City saw an increase in year-over-year sales, up 5.7% to 2,800.  All other areas saw declines in 2018 compared to 2017:  Fairfax City (-13.4% to 395), Falls Church City (-9.1% to 201), Montgomery County (-4.3% to 12,312), Fairfax County (-2.6% to 15,683), Washington D.C. (- 2.3% to 9,042), Arlington County (-1.9% to 3,061) and Prince Georges County (-1.1% to 10,909). 


  • Year-over-year new pending sales rose for the first time in five months, increasing by 1.4% to 3,362.  They were down a seasonal 20.2% from last month.  
  • New pending sales of single-family detached homes were up 2.6% to 1,517 and townhomes were up 0.9% to 901.  Condos were down 0.2% to 939.  
  • Pending sales are below the 5-year average of 3,377 but are above the 10-year average of 3,183.
  • New pending sales this month were 33.2% more than the December 2009 low of 2,524 but are 5.0% below the peak December level of 3,538 seen in 2016.
  • December pending sales in Falls Church City rose to 8.  Arlington County (+18.9), Fairfax County (+16.6), Alexandria City (+10.3) and Fairfax City (+6.3) saw increases.  Prince Georges County (-3.1%), Washington D.C. (-5.4%) and Montgomery County (-9.9%) were down.


  • December’s new listings of 2,710 were down 3.2% compared to last year and down a seasonal 37.3% compared to last month. 
  • Compared to last year, new listings of single-family homes rose 3.7% to 1,329.  New condo listings were down 8.2% to 691, while townhome listings were down 10.6% to 681.
  • New listings are below both the 5-year average of 2,920 and the 10-year average of 2,917. 
  • December new listings are 23.4% below the December 2009 high of 3,538 but are 9.9% above the 10-year low of 2,465 seen in December 2012.
  • For the year, regional new listings were down 0.7% compared to last year at 74,119.  Falls Church City (+9% to 278), PG County (+2.6% to 14,900) and Washington D.C. (+1.8% to 13,909) were up.  Montgomery County (-1.5% to 16,745), Alexandria City (-2.4% to 3,454), Fairfax County (-2.6% to 21,264), & Arlington County (-5% to 3,930) were all down for 2018.


  • Active inventories of 6,697 were down a slight 0.5% compared to last year and were down a seasonal 24.0% from last month.  This slight decline in inventories came after two consecutive months of roughly 2.5% increases.
  • Compared to last year, single-family detached inventories were up 8.4% to 3,859.  However, townhome inventories declined by 5.5% to 1,277 and condos were down 15.0% to 1,542. 
  • Inventories remain below both the 5-year average of 7,560 and the 10-year average of 8,830.
  • December inventory levels are 3.6% above the 2012 low of 6,466 and are down 51.4% from the peak of 13,784 seen in December 2010.
  • Y-o-Y inventory levels increased in Falls Church City (+54.6% to 17), Washington D.C. (+16.1% to 1,241), Prince George’s County (+11.1% to 1,897) and in Montgomery County (+5.1% to 1,649).  Active inventories declined in Fairfax County (-9.6% to 1,485), Fairfax City (-17.2% to 48), Arlington County (-40.7% to 208), and in Alexandria City (-53.4% to 152).


  • The regional average sales price to original listing price ratio (SP to OLP ratio) for December was 97.2%, the same as last December, but down from last month’s 97.4%.
  • Townhomes have the highest December SP to OLP ratio of 97.9%, followed by condos with a SP to OLP ratio of 97.3%, and single-family detached homes with a SP to OLP ratio of 96.6%.
  • December’s SP to OLP ratio exceeds the 5-year average of 96.8% and the 10-year average of 95.8%.
  • Over the last decade, the highest December average sales price to original listing price ratio was this year’s and last year’s 97.2%.  The lowest was in 2011, when it was just 93.0%.
  • Alexandria City and Falls Church City both had the highest SP to OLP ratio of 97.8% in December, up from 97.6% and 97.4%, respectively, from last year.
  • Fairfax City had the lowest SP to OLP ratio of 95.5%, down significantly from last year’s 99.1%.
  • Across the D.C. Metro area for 2018, the SP to OLP ratio was 98.2%, up from 2017’s 98.1%.


About the DC 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 ShowingTime’s proprietary database. 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. Data provided by MarketStats by ShowingTime, based on listing activity from Bright MLS.

About Bright MLS

The Bright MLS real estate service area spans 40,000 square miles throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, including Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, D.C. and West Virginia. As a leading Multiple Listing Service (MLS), Bright serves approximately 85,000 real estate professionals who in turn serve over 20 million consumers. For more information, please visit www.brightmls.com.

About Elliot Eisenberg

Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D. is the Chief Economist of GraphsandLaughs, LLC, a firm specializing in economic consulting and data analysis.  He is a frequent speaker on topics including: economic forecasts, economic impact of industries such as homebuilding and tourism, consequences of government regulation, economic development and other current economic issues. Dr. Eisenberg earned a B.A. in economics with first class honors from McGill University in Montreal, as well as a Masters and Ph.D. in public administration from Syracuse University. Eisenberg was formerly a Senior Economist with the National Association of Home Builders in Washington, D.C.   He is a regularly featured guest on cable news programs, talk and public radio, writes a syndicated column and authors a daily 70 word commentary on the economy that is available at www.econ70.com.


dc metro, market analysis, press release
Comments: 0  |  Back to rbiBLOG

RBI Sign In

Forgot password? Click here...