DC Metro prices hit December high, annual 2014 prices only 2 percent off 2007 peak

Posted on January 12, 2015 by Corey Hart



8 percent jump in December sales; Contracts up 11 percent


The Washington DC Metro Area housing market ended on a positive note in 2014, with nearly every indicator performing better than in December 2013.  Closed sales increased 8.0 percent from 2013, the first year-over-year increase in 2014.  Only two jurisdictions had fewer closed sales than last December: Washington, D.C. (-2.2 percent) and Alexandria City (-0.6 percent).  The total number of closed sales for the year was 6.0 percent below the total number sold in 2013.  However, the total number of closed sales in 2014 was above the annual totals of every year from 2007 to 2012.  In December, the number of new pending contracts increased 10.8 percent from December 2013, marking the second consecutive month of year-over-year growth and boding well for next month’s closed sales count. 

Inventory also increased and both active listings and new listings were higher than in December of last year.  The median sales price was above its year-ago level, increasing 4.3 percent to reach the highest December-level on record.  The median sales price for the calendar year increased 1.4 percent from 2013, reaching the highest level since 2007.

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First year-over-year increase in 2014; driven by single-family detached homes and townhomes. For the first and only time this year, closed sales increased from 2013, rising 8.0 percent, or by 293 sales. There were 3,937 closed sales, the highest December-total in eight years. Single-family detached homes led the property segments in growth and increased 12.8 percent, or by 217 sales, from last December. Townhome sales increased 8.3 percent, or by 79 sales. Condo property sales were virtually flat, falling 0.4 percent or by four sales. Compared to November, the number of total sales increased 29.7 percent, a significantly larger increase than the 10-year average November to December change of 8.3 percent.


Highest December-level on record; prices increase for all property segments. The median sales price in the DC Metro Area was $408,000 in December. Between December 2013 and December 2014, the median sales price for the region increased 4.3 percent, or by $16,638, bringing it to its highest December-level on record. Townhome properties had the highest growth, rising 4.7 percent, or by $18,000, from last December.

The median sales price in Prince George’s County had the highest growth rate of the jurisdictions, increasing 10.7 percent from December 2013. This marks the 34th year-over-year increase for the County and brings it to its highest December-level since 2008. For the region as a whole, the median sales price for the year increased to $405,750 from $400,000 for a 1.4 percent gain from 2013. This marks an appreciation of 22.4 percent from the 2009 low of $331,500 and is only 2.2 percent below the median sales price of calendar year 2007, when prices peaked at $415,000. The median sales price in 2014 was equal to or greater than that in 2013 for all jurisdictions except Alexandria City. Among the jurisdictions, Prince George’s County had the highest growth in annual prices, increasing 11.6 percent from 2013.


Second consecutive year-over-year increase; increases for all property segments.  The number of new contracts increased 10.8 percent from December for a total of 3,192 contracts.  New contracts have now risen from the prior year for two consecutive months and reached their highest December-total since 2011.  All property segments had more contracts signed this December than last, with townhomes leading the growth.  New contracts for townhomes increased 21.3 percent, or by 155 contracts, from last December.  The number of new contracts for single-family detached homes increased 8.0 percent, or by 111 contracts.  New contracts for condo properties rose 6.1 percent, or by 46 contracts.  From last month, new contracts decreased 18.1 percent, which is in line with the ten-year average November to December change of -15.5 percent.


15th month of year-over-year inventory gains; double-digit gains in new December listings.  Active listings continue to rise and have now increased from the prior year for 15 consecutive months.  There were 8,267 active listings at year’s end, 19.1 percent more than the same time last year.  Active listings for townhomes had the highest increase, rising 27.5 percent.  Active listings for condos rose 19.8 percent and single-family detached homes listings ended the year up 16.0 percent.

There were more new listings in December 2014 than in December 2013, reversing the direction seen in November when new listings fell.  New listings increased 12.9 percent, or by 331 listings, from last year.  Of the property segments, new listings of townhomes had the sharpest increase and rose 22.8 percent.  New listings for single-family detached homes increased 16.2 percent.  Condo properties had fewer new listings than last year, falling 0.4 percent percent, or by three listings.  At 36 days, the median days-on-market (DOM) increased by 11 days from last December, but remains lower than the 10-year average December-level of 44 days.  Over the course of 2014, half the homes sold in less than three weeks. The median DOM of 20 days for the year was only five days higher than the 15-day median DOM of 2013.

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 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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