DC area housing market wraps up 2019 with strong sales gains and record December prices

Posted on January 14, 2020 by Corey Hart



Washington D.C. Metro wraps up 2019 with a new December record high median sales price of $459,950; sales surge; inventory levels at decade low

Rockville, MD – (January 14, 2020) – 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 2019 Bright MLS housing data.

Click here to view PDF version of this report


  • The Washington D.C. Metro area set a new December record with a median sales price of $459,950, a 3.4% increase over last year. 
  • Sales volume across the area was just above $2.4 billion, up a significant 26.6% from last year.
  • December closed sales of 4,234 were up 20.2% compared to last year, the largest percentage gain in year-over-year sales since November of 2012.
  • New pending sales, however, were down 9.2% to 3,054, the largest percentage decline since February 2014 and the second month in a row that new pending sales have declined.
  • New listings compared to last year were up 3.4% to 2,801.
  • Active inventories compared to last year slid by 18.0% to just 5,489, the lowest monthly level of the last 10 years.  Active listings have now declined for eleven months in a row.
  • The average percent of original list price received at sale in December was 97.9%, up from last year’s 97.2%, while median days on market declined to 20 from 27 last year. 


  • December’s median sales price of $459,950 was up 3.4% or $14,950 compared to last year but was down 1.2% or $5,550 from last month, the 39th consecutive month of year-over-year price appreciation.
  • For the first time since November 2016, year-over-year townhome prices declined, slipping just over 1.0% to $445,000.  Prices for single-family homes rose by 2.1% to $550,000 and condo prices rose by 9.7% to $340,000.
  • Prices are well above the 5-year average of $426,020 and the 10-year average of $395,096.
  • This month’s median sales price is 41.5% higher than the trough of $325,000 in December 2011.
  • Falls Church City, with a median sales price of $889,500 continues to have the highest median sales price in the region, up just 0.2% compared to last year, while Prince George’s County is still the most affordable area at $314,950, a 5.0% gain over last year.
  • For all of 2019, prices are up 4.5% across the DC metro area to $459,900.  For the year, all jurisdictions saw gains compared to 2018, with the largest annual percentage gain in Arlington County (+8.9% to $610,000) and the smallest in Alexandria City (+0.5% to $532,750). 


  • December’s closed sales of 4,234 were up 20.2% from last year and 10.8% from last month.
  • Sales of all property types were up compared to last year, with single-family detached sales up 26.4% to 1,965, townhomes up 20.0% to 1,153, and condos up 10.9% to 1,115
  • Sales are well above the 5-year average of 3,972 and the 10-year average of 3,738.
  • December closed sales are 33.6% above the December 2011 low of 3,169 and are 0.9% above the prior December high of 4,198 set in 2015.
  • Fairfax City saw the largest percentage gain in sales in December (+44.4% to 39), followed by Prince George’s County (+43.7% to 930), Montgomery County (+32.8% to 1,033), Washington D.C. (+28.4% to 746) and Fairfax County (+9.0% to 1,092).  Arlington County (-15.8% to 203), Alexandria City (-20.6% to 181) and Falls Church City (-41.2% to 10) saw declines.
  • For the overall DC metro area for all of 2019, closed sales were up 1.9% to 55,428.  


  • Year-over-year new pending sales were down for the second month in a row, by 9.2% to 3,054.  They were down a slightly-more-than-seasonal 26.2% from last month.  
  • New pending sales of all types of properties were lower, with townhomes down by 8.2% to 827, single-family detached down 8.4% to 1,390 and condos down 11.0% to 836.
  • Pending sales are below both the 5-year average of 3,350 and the 10-year average of 3,236.
  • New pending sales this month were 6.0% more than the December 2013 low of 2,881 but are 13.7% below the peak December level of 3,538 seen in 2016.
  • December pending sales were up in Fairfax City (+17.7% to 20) and in Montgomery County (+4.0% to 672), while they were down everywhere else, with the smallest decline in Washington D.C. (-3.1% to 562) and the largest in Arlington County (-25.0% to 132).


  • December’s new listings of 2,801 were up 3.4% compared to last year and were down a seasonal 31.3% compared to last month. 
  • New listings of single-family homes were down 5.0% compared to last year to 1,263, but new listings of townhomes were up 9.1% to 743 and new condo listings were up 14.9% to 794.
  • New listings are just below both the 5-year average of 2,901 and the10-year average of 2,843. 
  • December new listings are 14.9% below the December 2010 high of 3,290 but are 13.6% above the 10-year low of 2,465 seen in December 2012.
  • Only Prince George’s County (-5.5% to 786) and Alexandria City (-7.3% to 89) saw declines in new listings in December.  The largest percentage gain in new listings in the region was in Falls Church City (+300.0% to 8) and the smallest was in Arlington County (+4.8% to 110).
  • For all of 2019 compared to 2018, new listings were down 2.7% to 72,094.


  • Active inventories of 5,489 were down a significant 18.0% compared to last year and were down 22.6% from last month.  Inventories were at the lowest monthly level of the decade, and this marks the seventh consecutive month of double-digit declines in inventory levels.
  • Single-family detached homes saw the largest decline in inventory levels compared to last December, with a 24.5% drop to just 2,914 listings, while townhomes were down 15.3% to 1,081 and condos were down 3.1% to 1,494.
  • Inventories remain below both the 5-year average of 7,004 and the 10-year average of 8,117.
  • December inventory levels are 60.2% below the record high of 13,784 seen in December 2010.
  • Across the region, only Washington D.C. saw a tiny increase in inventory last month (+0.6% to 1,249).  Everywhere else inventories decreased significantly, with the smallest percentage decline in Montgomery County (-15.6% to 1,392) and the largest in Falls Church City (-52.9% to 8).  


  • The regional average sales price to original listing price ratio (SP to OLP ratio) for December was 97.9%, which was above last December’s 97.2% but below last month’s 98.2%.
  • Townhomes have the highest December SP to OLP ratio of 98.8%, followed by condos with a SP to OLP ratio of 97.9%, and single-family detached homes with a SP to OLP ratio of 97.3%.
  • December’s ratio exceeds both the 5-year average of 97.1% and the 10-year average of 96.2%.
  • Over the last decade, the highest December average sales price was this year’s 97.9%.  The lowest was in 2011, when it was just 93.0%.
  • Alexandria City had the highest SP to OLP ratio of 98.7% in December, up from 97.8% last year, while Montgomery County had the lowest SP to OLP ratio of 97.2%, up from last year’s 96.4%.
  • Across the D.C. Metro area for all of 2019, the SP to OLP ratio was 98.6%, compared to 98.2% for 2018.  All jurisdictions saw a net gain in 2019 over 2018 except for Washington D.C., where SP to OLP ratio declined from 98.8% in 2018 to 98.6% in 2019.  Alexandria City saw the largest 2019 gain, increasing from 98.0% to 99.9% in 2019.


  • The median days-on-market (DOM) in December was 20 days, down from 27 days last year but up from 16 days last month.
  • Townhomes have a median DOM of 16, while condos have a median DOM of 17, and single-family detached homes have a median DOM of 25.
  • December’s median DOM was seven days below the 5-year average of 27 days and 12 days below the 10-year average of 32 days.
  • The highest December median DOM of the last 10 years was 50 days in 2011 and the previous decade low was 26 days in December of 2013.
  • Montgomery County had the highest December median days-on-market in the region at 29, down from 31 days in December of 2018.  Arlington County had the lowest median DOM of 9 days, down significantly from 31 days last December.
  • All jurisdictions saw declines in median DOM compared to last December.
  • For all of 2019 for the entire metro area, the overall regional median DOM was 13 days, down from 16 days in 2018. 

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 95,000 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
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