DC Metro pending sales and prices hit highest May levels in over a decade

Posted on June 10, 2015 by Corey Hart



Half of May sales were on market less than two weeks; Closed sales up 6 percent from last year

Rockville, MD – (June 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 May 2015 MRIS housing data.


The Washington DC Metro housing market enjoyed a strong May with sales at the highest monthly level since June 2014, pending sales and prices at the highest May level in a decade, while median days-on-market remain exceptionally low.  Closed sales of 4,835 increased by 6.2% from May 2014 and by 13.3% from April 2015.  The number of new contracts increased by 8.4% from May 2014 to 6,158, although new contracts did drop slightly from last month’s 6,203, which was the highest number of pending sales since July 2005. All market segments experienced year-over-year increases in both closed sales and new contracts, with townhomes having the strongest increases of 15.3% and 10.2% respectively.  Year-over-year, overall median sales prices rose by 1.2% to $435,000, with the median sales price for townhomes rising to $427,000 and single-family detached and condos declining to $540,000 and $307,000 respectively.

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Inventories are at their highest May level since 2011 and new listings are at their highest May level since 2007, but because new contracts are at their highest May level in a decade and closed sales remain well above historical averages, days-on-market remain significantly below historical averages and median sales prices are at their second-highest level since June 2007.


Year-over-year sales continue strong growth, all segments exhibit year-over-year growth for third consecutive month.  Year-over-year closed sales increased by 6.2% or 285 sales in May 2015, the sixth consecutive month of year-over-year increases.   There were a total of 4,835 sales, which exceeds both the 5-year average of 4,574 and the 10-year average of 4,524.  For the period January through May, the number of closed sales of 18,459 is up 11% compared to last year.    

For the third consecutive month, all market segments showed growth in closed sales year-over-year.  This month, townhome sales rose the most, 15.3% or 169 units to 1,274.  Single-family detached sales increased by 5.2% or 115 units to 2,309, and condo sales were nearly flat with a one unit increase over last year to 1,252.  Compared to the prior month of April 2015, overall sales are up by 567 units or 13.3%, with single-family detached experiencing a 19.2% increase, townhomes at a 12.3% increase and condos showing a 4.8% increase.



Highest number of May pending sales in over a decade.  The number of new contracts increased 8.4% from May of 2014 to a total of 6,158.  New contracts have now risen year-over-year for seven consecutive months, and for the last four months all market segments demonstrated year-over-year increases. There was a slight decrease in new contracts of 0.7% or 45 units compared to last month, which had been the highest level since July 2005. May contracts exceeded both the 5-year average of 5,778 and the 10-year average of 5,136.  Townhomes showed the largest year-over-year increase at 10.2% or 145 units, followed by single-family detached with a 10% increase or 278 units, and condos with a 3.4% increase or 51 units. 


May prices at highest May level in a decade, townhome prices up slightly year-over-year, single-family detached and condos down slightly.  The median sales price of $435,000, was the highest May level in at least a decade and the highest monthly level since June 2013.  This represented a $5,000 or 1.2% increase over May 2014, and an $18,000 or 4.3% increase over last month.   Market segment activity was mixed, with townhome median sales price up by 1.7% to $427,000, while condo prices slipped 1% to $307,000 and single-family detached declined 2.3% to $540,000.   Sales volume across the region was more than $2.5 billion, up 19.3% compared to May 2014.

Jurisdictional price changes in the region were also mixed.  The following jurisdictions saw price declines:  Falls Church City saw an 8.3% decline in median sales price to $708,750 on 20 sales, a 25% increase over last year; Arlington County saw a 1.9% decrease in the median sales price to $560,000 with a 7.4% decrease in the number of sold listings to 287 compared to 2014; Montgomery County saw a median sales price decline of 3.7% to $415,000 on 1,215 sales, an increase of 10.2% over last year. 

Jurisdictions showing an increase in median price were:  Washington D.C with a 5.7% increase to $560,000 on 755 sales, a 2.7% decrease over last year; Alexandria City, with a 10% increase in median sales price to $522,500 on 272 sales, a 6.7% increase over 2014; Fairfax City with a 22.5% jump in median sales price to $520,500 on 36 sales, up from 25 last year; and Fairfax County with a 4.6% increase in median sales price to $497,000 on 1,527 sales, up 9.7% compared to last year.  Prince Georges County also saw strong price gains, increasing 13.5% to $244,000 on 723 sales, a 7.3% increase over last year.  For the year-to-date, all jurisdictions show price gains compared to 2014 except for Montgomery County, which is down less than one percent, and all jurisdictions show an increase in closed sales.           

This month, distressed sales across the region were 8.6% of all sales, compared to 11% last month and 8.8% last year.  The 266 foreclosures and 149 short sales that closed this month were mostly in Prince George’s County (192) and Montgomery County (118).


May inventories at second highest level in 42 months, new listings at second highest level in five years, DOM remain low.  Active listings continue to rise and have now increased from the prior year for 20 consecutive months.  There were 12,083 active listings at the end of May, which is a 15.8% increase from last year and an 11.3% increase over last month.  Condo inventory growth continues to lead, with a 21.0% increase in the number of active condo listings to 3,102.  The number of townhome listings is up 20.8% to 2,185 and single-family detached listings are up 12.2% to 6,796.  The largest number of active listings are in Fairfax County with 4,256 properties listed, followed by Montgomery County with 3,330.

The overall number of new listings is at 8,271, a 3.6% increase or 295 more than last year.  New listings for townhomes increased by the largest percentage, at 10.5% or 190 units to 1,992, followed by single-family detached at 2.2% or 89 units to 4,235 and condos by 0.8% or 16 units to 2,044.  New listings are down by 438 or 5% compared to April 2015. 

At 12 days, the median days-on-market (DOM) increased by one day year-over-year, but has dropped from 14 days in April 2015.  Median days-on-market remains lower than the 5-year April average of 16 days and the 10-year average of 24 days.  Single-family detached homes have a median DOM of 12 compared to 16 days last month and 12 days last year.  Townhomes have a median DOM of 10 days, compared to 11 days last month and 8 days last year.  Condos are at 15 DOM, compared to 17 last month and 15 last year.  Prince George’s County has the highest number of days-on-market at 16 days, down from 19 days in May 2014, while the lowest number of days-on-market is six days in Washington D.C, unchanged from a year ago.




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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