DC Metro market scores strongest March sales tally since 2010

Posted on April 10, 2015 by Corey Hart



March contracts and closed sales up over 2014 levels, inventories increase

Rockville, MD – (April 10, 2015) – The following analysis of the Washington, D.C. Metro Area housing market has been prepared by Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D. of RealEstate Business Intelligence (RBI) and is based on March 2015 MRIS housing data.


The Washington DC Metro housing market enjoyed another strong month, with year-over-year increases in sales, new contracts, inventories and median days-on-market compared to March 2014.  Closed sales increased by 15.6% from March 2014 and new contracts rose by 10.8%, with all market segments experiencing a rise.  The number of closed sales increased to 3,662 with single-family detached making the strongest showing, rising by 19.0% to 1,677 units.  The number of new contracts increased to 5,554 with single-family detached increasing by the largest percentage of 12.4% to a total of 2,622.  Overall median sales prices rose by 2.6%.

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Inventories increased by 18.6% to 9,015 total units, with the number of condos increasing by the largest percentage at 22%. Compared to March 2014, new listings increased by 15.2% to 6,960 and median days-on-market (DOM) rose by 39% to 25.  The increase in total active listings to 9,015 represents a 49% increase from the all-time low of 6,052 in January 2013.  When compared to January 2013, condos show a 71.7% increase in inventories or 1,018 units, followed by townhomes at 64.3% or 626 units and 36.2% or 1,319 units for single-family detached.  All classes of inventories have now increased for 15 months in a row, making this easily the best period for inventory since 2007-2008.  This is the most sustained increase in inventories since the depths of the housing bust and represents a return to a more normal inventory level.


Year-over-year sales continue to rise, double digit increases in both month-over-month and year-over-year comparisons.  March 2015 showed a significant 15.6% increase in the number of year-over-year closed sales, far outpacing the increases of the last three months.  There were a total of 3,662 sales, making it the best March since 2010 and exceeding March 2014 sales by 493 units.  This is the first time since October of 2013 that all market segments experienced double-digit growth. 

Single-family detached sales led all property segments in growth and increased 19% or 268 units compared to March 2014.  Townhome sales increased by 15.2% or 127 units, and condo sales increased by 10.6% or 98 units compared to last March.   Compared to the prior month of February 2015, overall sales are up by 1,054 units or 40.4%, with single-family detached and condos both showing 45% increases.  Townhome sales were up nearly 30% compared to February 2015.  


Contract activity rises for fifth straight month, best year-over-year increase since February 2012.  The number of new contracts increased 10.8% from March of 2014, to a total of 5,554.  New contracts have now risen year-over-year for five consecutive months and March contracts exceeded both the 5-year average of 5,409 and the 10-year average of 4,984.  All property segments had more contracts signed this March than last, with single-family detached leading the pace with a 12.4% increase of 289 units.  The number of new contracts for townhomes increased by 9.8%, or 127 contracts compared to March 2014, while contracts for condo properties showed a 9.1% increase of 125 units.  The month-over-month increase in new contracts of 36% was almost uniform across all property segments.


Sale prices at highest March-level since 2007, slight dip in single-family detached prices.  The median sales price in March in the DC Metro Area was $400,000, with sold dollar volume totaling nearly $1.8 billion.  Comparing March 2014 and March 2015, the median sales price increased by 2.6%, or $10,100, bringing the overall median to its highest March level since 2007.   Condo sales led with a 2.9% increase of $8,500 over March 2014 and are now at $297,500.  Townhome prices rose 2.3%, or $9,000 to a new median price of $394,000.  Single-family detached dropped by 1.9%, or $9,500 to $490,500.  Compared to February 2015, the overall median price is up $10,000. 

All jurisdictions in the region showed increases in median sales price except for Falls Church City, which had a 19.1% decline in price, but with only 18 sales, the data is highly susceptible to change, and Falls Church City continues to have the highest median sales price at $585,000.  Arlington County saw a 10.7% increase in the median sales price from $515,000 to $570,000 with a 24.4% increase in the number of sold listings to 219.  Alexandria City demonstrated a 10.2% increase in median sales price from $449,000 to $494,900 on 199 closed sales.  Prince Georges County showed a 29.6% increase in the number of sales and a 7.3% increase in median sales price to $224,900 from $209,700 in March 2014.  Montgomery County saw a 17.9% increase in the number of sales from 709 to 836, along with a 6% increase in median sales price to $397,450.   

Fairfax City had the only regional decline in number of March sales, from 23 to 11, but saw a 2% increase in median sales price to $459,000, while Fairfax County saw a 2.8% increase in median sales price from $448,500 to $461,000 on an increased number of sales, up 12.9% to 1,091 units.  In Washington D.C., the median sales price grew 5.7% from $473,125 to $500,000, on a 3.4% increase in sales, to 583.  For the period January through March, all jurisdictions except Fairfax City are up in both number of sales and in median sales price. 

Prince George's and Montgomery Counties account for 42% of all DC Metro sales, but 85% of the REO (foreclosure) sales in the region.  In Prince George’s County, the median sales price for non-distressed property is about 50% more than a REO sale, while in Montgomery County, the differential is more than 76%.


Inventories increase, up almost 50% from 2013 lows.  Active listings continue to rise and have now increased from the prior year for 18 consecutive months; by comparison, the last comparable run was the 15-month period ending July 2008.  There were 9,015 active listings at the end of March, which is an 18.6% increase from last year and a 10.3% increase over last month.  Even so, March inventories remain below the 10-year March average of 14,030, but are starting to approach the 5-year average of 9,535. 

Condo inventory growth continues to lead, with a 22% increase in the number of active condo listings in March to 2,438.  The number of townhome listings at 1,599 is up 19.4%, and the 4,965 single-family detached listings represent a 16.4% increase over March 2014. 

There was a 15.2% increase in all new listings in March 2015 compared to March 2014, with an overall increase of 918 new listings.  New listings for single-family detached increased by the largest percentage, at 17% or 509 units, followed by condos at 14.4% or 238 units and townhomes by 12% or 171 units.  New listings are up 2,040 or 41.5% compared to February 2015. 

At 25 days, the median days-on-market (DOM) increased by 7 days or 39% year-over-year, but is still five days lower than the 5-year March average of 30, and seventeen days lower than the 10-year average of 42 days.  The current median DOM of 25 days is down from January’s 45 days, which was the highest DOMs reached in any month since February 2012.  Single-family detached homes have a median DOM of 32, while townhomes and condos have 20 and 22 DOM respectively.


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 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 RealEstate Business Intelligence, LLC

RealEstate Business Intelligence, LLC (RBI) is a primary source of real estate data, analytics and business intelligence for real estate professionals in the Mid-Atlantic Region. Monthly reports for all jurisdictions in the MRIS region, along with interactive charts and graphics, can be found at http://www.getsmartcharts.com/statistics. RBI is the only company in the Mid-Atlantic region that provides timely, online access to statistical information directly from the MRIS MLS.

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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