DC Metro area contract activity picks up after stormy January

Posted on March 10, 2016 by Corey Hart



Contracts & closed sales see double-digit growth; Median sales prices dip by 2.6%, third month in a row of declines

Rockville, MD – (March 10, 2016) – The following analysis of the Washington, D.C. Metro Area housing market has been prepared by Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D. of ShowingTime RealEstate Business Intelligence (RBI) and is based on February 2016 MRIS housing data.

Click here to view PDF version of this report


  • February 2016’s median sales price of $380,000 was $10,000 less than last year, a 2.6% decrease, but up $4,500 from last month’s median sales price. 
  • Sales volume across the DC Metro area was $1.36 billion, up 10.5% from last February.
  • Sales in February showed strong 10.2% growth compared to last year. 
  • The number of new contracts at the end of February increased by 11%, suggesting that January’s decline was indeed, weather-related.
  • New listings were up 5.1% from last February, resuming the growth pattern seen with almost no interruption since April 2013.  January’s decline in new listings also appears to have been strictly weather-related.
  • Last month’s rise in inventories of 1.4% is the smallest increase since October 2013, and active listing growth is poised to turn negative soon.
  • The average percent of original list price received at sale was 96.7% in February, the same 2015.
  • Half the homes sold in February were on market 44 days or less, up two day from last February’s median DOM.  This is the third year in a row that DOM have risen in February.



  • The region’s median sales price of $380,000 in February was 2.6% lower than last year, with all property types down.  This marks the third month in a row that overall prices have declined year-over-year.  However, prices still remain 4.5% above the 5-year average and 8% above the 10-year average.
  • Regional pricing levels are now 26.7% above the $300,000 February trough of the market in 2009 and 2011, and only 6.2% off the $405,000 February peak in 2007.
  • Falls Church City remains the most expensive location in the region with a February median sales price of $865,000, a 21.4% increase over last year.
  • Prince George’s County continues to be the most affordable area in the region with a February median price of $222,750, which was a 3.6% increase over last year.



  • There were 2,874 closed sales in February, up 10.2% compared to 2015.  This was the 15th month in a row of increased year-over-year sales.  All types of properties again saw increases.
  • Closed sales exceeded both the 5- and 10-year averages by slightly more than 8%.
  • February’s closed sales total was up 26.2% compared to the market low of 2,277 seen in 2009, but was 22.8% below 2007’s peak level of 3,723.
  • Fairfax County had 834 closed sales in February, the most in the region, which was a 9.2% increase from last year.  While the percentage decline in the number of sales in Falls Church City was a significant -75%, the number of actual sales only declined from twelve to three.
  • Prince George’s and Montgomery counties both saw a 19.9% increase in the number of sales compared to last year.  Arlington County and Alexandria City declined by about 12% each.



  • There were 4,533 new pending sales at the end of February 2016, up 11% compared to last year, and up 32.4% from the weather-depressed number seen last month.  Pending contracts were well above both the 5-year average of 4,238 and the 10-year average of 3,797.
  • All property types saw increases in the number of new contracts compared to last year, with condos up 13.8%, single-family detached up 10.9% and townhomes up 8%. 
  • February 2016’s new pending sales number was just slightly (+0.7%) more than the prior high of 4,501 seen in 2012, and was up 62.7% compared to the February low of 2,786 seen in 2008.
  • Washington D.C. again had the largest percentage increase in new pending contracts in February, up 15.9% compared to last year.



  • The number of new listings in February rose 5.1% compared to last year to 5,171.
  • Single-family detached and condo new listings increased by 5.7% and 10.1%, respectively, while the number of new townhome listings dropped by 1.5%.
  • New listings in February were 8.5% above the 5-year average and a slight 0.2% below the 10-year average. 
  • The February new listings are 17.7% above the 10-year low of 4,393 seen in February 2014 and are a significant 28.4% below the February 2008 market peak of 7,221.
  • Prince George’s County saw the largest percentage increase in new listings, increasing by 20.1%.



  • Inventories increased to 8,293 at the end of February, a 1.4% increase compared to last year and nearly equal to last month’s level.
  • Inventories are slightly above the 5-year average of 7,879 but substantially below the 10-year average of 12,484.
  • Townhome inventories are down by 4.3%, but single-family detached and condos are up by 2.1% and 4% respectively.
  • End of February inventories exceed the low of 6,092 seen in 2013 by 36.1%, but are down 64.4% from the peak of 23,282 seen in February 2008.
  • Washington D.C. had the largest percentage increase in inventory with 1,090 active listings, an increase of 12.4% compared to last year.  While Fairfax City showed a substantial 28.6% decline in listings, the actual inventory levels only dropped from 63 to 45.



  • The regional average sales price to original listing price ratio for February was 96.7% the same as last year and up from last month’s 96%.
  • Over the last decade, the region’s February average sales price to original listing price ratio ranged from a low of 89.8% in 2009 to a high of 97.5% in 2014.
  • Homes in Washington D.C. sold at 99% of their original listing price in February, the highest in the region and up slightly from the 98.2% seen last year.
  • The largest gap between original listing price and sales price was in Falls Church City, where the average ratio was 81.3%, down substantially from the 96.5% seen last year.  Again, only three sales were involved.



  • The median days-on-market in February was 44 days, a two-day increase from the median DOM of February 2015 and the same as last month.
  • The lowest February DOM level recorded in the past decade was 24 days in 2013; the highest February median DOM was 91 days in 2008.
  • Townhomes are the fastest sellers, with a median DOM of 35, followed by condos at 47 DOM, and single-family detached with a median DOM of 50.
  • The highest median DOM is in Falls Church City, where it is 107 days, a significant 62 day increase from last year.  The lowest median DOM is in Washington D.C., where it is 20 days, the same as 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 based on MRIS listing activity and analyzed by ShowingTime RealEstate Business Intelligence.

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 visit MRIS.com or MRIShomes.com 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


Media Contact

Gina Zuk Gerber, Abel Communications



dc metro, market analysis, press release
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