DC area home sales, prices remain strong as inventories continue to decline

Posted on October 11, 2016 by Corey Hart



Median sales price of $399,900 near September record high; Sales at highest September levels in a decade; Inventory levels decline for fifth month in a row.

Rockville, MD – (October 11, 2016) – 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 September 2016 MRIS housing data.

Click here to view PDF version of this report


  • September 2016’s median sales price of $399,900 was just slightly below last year’s $400,000 and down 5.0% or $20,850 from last month.
  • Sales volume across the DC Metro area was more than $2.0 billion, up 0.1% from last September.
  • Closed sales of 4,183 were up 1.6% compared to last year, the highest September level in a decade.
  • New contracts decreased by 1.9% to 4,692, the first year-over-year decline since January 2016.
  • New listings of 6,779 were down 1.5% year-over-year but up 23.3% compared to last month.
  • Active listings of 11,102 are down 14.3% compared to last year. This is the fifth consecutive month of declines in year-over-year inventory levels.
  • The average percent of original list price received at sale in September was 97.5%, up from last year’s 97.1% and unchanged from last month.
  • The median days-on-market for September 2016 was 24 days, three days lower than last year.


  • September’s regional overall median sales price was $399,900, virtually the same as last year’s $400,000, but was down 5.0% or $20,850 compared to last month. 
  • Compared to last September, single-family detached home prices decreased 2.8% to $473,900, condos increased 1.5% to $299,450 and townhomes held steady at $399,900. 
  • Prices are above the 5 and 10-year September averages by 3.2% and 9.3%, respectively.
  • The September overall regional price of $399,900 is 21.2% above the September 2009 low of $330,000 and trivially below last year’s all-time September high of $400,000.
  • Falls Church City remains the most expensive location in the region, with a median sales price of $595,000, which is 26.5% less than last year, but the small number of sales (17) makes the data overly sensitive to changes.  Prince George’s County continues to be the most affordable area in the region, with a September median sales price of $260,000, up 8.3% from last September. 
  • The regional YTD median sales price compared to last year is unchanged at $415,000.  Prince George’s County (+8.3%) leads the region in YTD price growth. Fairfax City (-0.5%) and Arlington County (-1.5%) are the only jurisdictions to see declines in YTD prices versus 2015.


  • September’s closed sales of 4,183 were up 1.6% from last year, the highest September level in a decade, but down 17.8% from last month. 
  • Townhome sales were up 10.9% to 1,131 and condo sales were up 4.4% to 1,162, while single-family detached sales were down 4.8% to 1,888.
  • Sales were above the 5-year average of 3,755 the 10-year September average of 3,559.
  • September’s closed sales were up 51.9% compared to the market low of 2,753 seen in September 2007 and 1.6% more than last September’s 4,117.
  • Across the region, sales data was mixed.  The largest percentage decline in sales was in Arlington County (-14.2%), and the largest percentage increase was in Fairfax City (+ 28%).
  • Across the region for the year-to-date, closed sales are up 6.3% to 41,069.


  • There were 4,692 new pending sales at the end of September 2016, down 1.9% compared to last year and down 4.4% from last month. 
  • Only condos saw an increase in pending sales, up 3.3% to 1,271.  Townhome pending sales were down 1.4% to 1,252 and single-family detached homes saw a 5.0% decrease to 2,167.
  • Pending contracts were above both the 5-year average of 4,436 and the 10-year average of 3,932.
  • September 2016’s new pending sales number was 89.7% above the September 2007 low of 2,474 and just 1.9% below last year’s record high.
  • For the entire region, new pending contracts for January-September are up 3.8% to 48,890.


  • There were 6,779 new listings in September, a 1.5% decline compared to last year but a 23.3% increase compared to last month. 
  • While condos saw a 2.9% gain in the number of new listings to 1,881, the number of new single-family detached listings declined 1.3% to 3,266 and the number of new townhome listings declined 6.3% to 1,631.
  • New listings are above the 5-year average of 6,284 and the 10-year average of 6,413. 
  • September new listings are 32.3% above the 10-year low of 5,124 seen in September 2012 and 13.7% below the September 2007 high of 7,856.
  • Across the DC Metro area, the 60,143 cumulative new listings added through September are down 0.2% compared to 2015.


  • Active inventories decreased to 11,102 at the end of September, down 14.3% from last year but up 7.7% from last month.
  • All property types show a decrease in inventory levels over last year, with townhome inventories down 19.7% to 2,089, single-family detached down 13.8% to 6,106 and condos down 11.1% to 2,899.
  • Inventories are slightly above the 5-year average of 11,015, but well below the 10-year average of 15,210.
  • September inventories exceed the 2013 low of 9,340 by 18.9%, but are down 57.1% from the peak of 25,908 seen in September 2007.
  • All jurisdictions in the D.C. Metro area saw declines in inventory levels, except for Falls Church City, where they rose 2.9%.  The largest decline of 19.5% was in Alexandria City.


  • The regional average sales price to original listing price ratio (SP to OLP ratio) for September was 97.5%, up from last year’s 97.1% and unchanged from last month.
  • Over the last decade, the region’s September average sales price to original listing price ratio ranged from a low of 92.8% in 2008 to a high of 98.0% in 2013.
  • On average, homes in Prince George’s County sold at 98.3% of their original listing price in September, the highest in the region, and up significantly from the 97.3% seen last year.
  • The largest gap between original listing price and sales price was in Falls Church City, where the average ratio was 95.7%, down from last year’s 96.8%.
  • Year-to-date, the SP to OLP ratio for the region is 97.6%, up slightly from the cumulative SP to OLP of 97.4% through September of last year.


  • The median days-on-market in September was 24 days, down three days from last year, but up two days from last month.
  • Condos and single-family detached both had a median DOM of 27, while townhomes had a median DOM of 18.
  • September’s median DOM matched the 5-year average of 24 days but was well below the 10-year average of 36 days.
  • The lowest September DOM recorded in the past decade was 17 days in 2013; the highest was 68 days in 2008.
  • The highest median DOM in September was recorded in Falls Church City at 33 days (down from 36 last year).  The lowest median DOM is in Washington D.C. at 16 days (up from 14 days last year).
  • Across the region for the period January-September, median DOM of 20 days is the same as it was for the same period last year.


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 RBI’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 ShowingTime RBI, based on listing activity from MRIS.

About MRIS

MRIS is a leading provider of real estate information technology and one of the nation’s leading multiple listing services (MLS), facilitating nearly $51 billion in system wide sales in 2015. The company supports over 45,000 real estate professionals in the Mid-Atlantic region, including Maryland, Northern Virginia, Washington, D.C. and parts of Pennsylvania, Delaware and West Virginia. MRIS provides its customers with a portfolio of best-in-class desktop, mobile and cloud-based technologies to improve the real estate transaction process for both real estate professionals and homebuyers and sellers. For more information, please visitor to search for thousands of available homes in the Mid-Atlantic region.

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
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