DC Metro hits highest May-level median sales price on record

Posted on June 10, 2014 by Corey Hart



Closed sales decrease from the prior year for fifth consecutive month


The Washington, DC Metro Area continued the pattern of low buyer activity in May.  Closed sales and new pending contracts decreased from last May by 10.6 percent and 4.5 percent, respectively.  But both were above their May-levels in 2011 and 2012 with new pending contracts above their May-levels for all years from 2006 to 2012.  As in recent months, bank-mediated sales decreased at a faster rate than non-bank-mediated sales and contributed to the overall decline in closed sales.  The median sales price continues to rise, likely due to both the decline in bank-mediated sales and tight inventory.  The median sales price increased 1.2 percent and reached the highest May-level on record with data going back to 1997.  Seller participation continues to increase and both active listings and new listings rose. 

Active listings increased 30.6 percent, bringing the number of active listings reached its highest level in two years.  However, the number of homes for sale remains tight, as the increase only brought inventory to 40.3% of its 2007 peak.  New listings increased by 9.8 percent from last year, the sharpest year-over-year gain in seven months.

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Fifth consecutive month of year-over-year declines; higher May-level than 2012 and 2011.  In May, the number of closed sales in the Washington, DC Metro Area decreased from the prior year for the fifth consecutive month.  There were 4,551 sales in the region in May, 10.6 percent, or 537 sales, fewer than this time last year.  While closed sales were higher than in May 2012 and May 2011, they were lower than both the 5-year and 10-year May-level averages.  All property segments had fewer closed sales than last year.  Condo properties declined the least, falling 2.7 percent, or by 35 sales, from May 2013.  The number of closed sales for townhomes decreased 13.0 percent, or by 165 sales, and those for single-family detached home sales decreased by 13.3 percent, or by 337 sales.  As compared to last month, the number of sales increased 17.2 percent, which is a steeper increase the 10-year average April to May change of 14.2 percent. 


Highest May-level on record; 28th month in a row of year-over-year increases.  At $430,000, the median sales price in the Washington, DC Metro Area increased 1.2 percent, or by $17,500, from this time last year.  This is the 28th consecutive year-over-year increase and the highest May-level on record, with data starting in 1997.  The increase for each property segment was higher than that of the overall median sales price which was affected by the property mix of sales.  The median sales price for condo properties had strongest growth from last year, rising 5.1 percent, or by $15,000, to $310,000.  At $420,000, the median sales price for townhomes increased by $20,000, or 5.0 percent, from last year.  The median sales price for single-family detached homes rose 2.3 percent, or by $12,364, from May 2013 to $552,634. 

Falls Church City had the highest growth in in median sale price of the jurisdictions and increased 24.1 percent.  However, the jurisdiction had 16 sales making the median price more responsive to property type and size variations.  Three jurisdictions in the area had declines in median sales price as compared to last May: the City of Alexandria (-9.5 percent), the city of Fairfax (-4.5 percent) and Fairfax County (-0.4 percent).


Sixth consecutive year-over-year decrease; declines in all property segments.  There were 5,683 new contracts signed in May, 4.5 percent, or 268 contracts, fewer than this time last year.  This is the sixth consecutive month of year-over-year decreases, but the number of contracts was above the May-levels in 2006 through 2012.  All property segments had fewer new contracts than May 2013.  New contract for condo properties fell the least and declined 0.6 percent, or by 9 contracts, from last May.  Those for detached single-family homes decreased 5.6 percent, or by 164 contracts.  There were 6.2 percent fewer new contracts for townhome properties, which is a decline of 94 contracts.  New contracts increased 0.7 percent from last month, which is a steeper increase the ten-year average April to May change of -2.0 percent. 


Highest number of active listings in two years; increases in both active listings and new listings.  There were 10,446 active listings in the Washington, DC Metro Area at the end of April, which is 30.6 percent, or 2,448 listings, more than this time last year.  Active listings have now increased from the prior year for eight months in a row.  Even with this increase, active listings are 59.7 percent lower than their September 2007 peak.  Active listings for condo properties increased 38.5 percent, or by 712 listings and led all property segments in growth.  Active listings for townhomes increased by nearly as much, rising 35.2 percent, or by 471 listings.  There were 6,059 single-family detached home active listings, 26.2 percent, or 1,259 listings, more than last year.

New listings have increased from the prior year for three consecutive months.  There were 7,986 new listings in May, an increase of 9.8 percent, or 710 listings, from May 2013.  New listings for condo properties had the highest growth of the property segments and increased 17.1 percent, or by 296 listings.  New listings of single-family detached homes rose 10.3 percent, or by 386 listings, from this time last year and those for townhomes increased 1.1 percent or by 20 listings.  At 11 days, the median days-on-market is two days higher than last year but remains lower than the 10-year May-level average of 24 days.

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.

About the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University

The Center for Regional Analysis conducts research and analytical studies on economic, fiscal, demographic, housing, and social and policy issues related to the current and future growth of the Virginia, Maryland, and DC areas. Through its range of research and programs — major economic impact studies, economic forecasts, fiscal analyses, conferences and seminars, publications, information services, and data products — the Center’s activities strengthen decision-making by businesses, governments, and institutions throughout the Greater Washington region.  Visit http://cra.gmu.edu to learn more.

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