DC Metro sales down - Prices climb for 26th consecutive month

Posted on April 10, 2014 by Corey Hart



Highest March-level median sales price in seven years; Inventory up 21 percent


The Washington DC Metro Area continued to see winter weather well into March.  As in the previous months, the cold weather may have impacted buyer activity in the housing market.  Both closed sales and new contract activity decreased from last March, declining 11.2 percent and 6.8 percent, respectively.  While all property segments had a decline in closed sales, only single-family detached homes and townhomes had fewer new contracts than last year.  Seller activity jumped compared to last year as both active listings and new listings had year-over-year increases.  Active listings increased by 20.9 percent, with both condo properties and townhomes increasing by over 30 percent.  New listings increased 3.9 percent and were driven by new listings for condo properties, which increased 18.6 percent.  Even with the increases, inventory remains low and is just 29.4 percent of its peak-level. 

The median sales price continues to climb, increasing 4.7 percent from last March, reaching the highest March-level in seven years.  Buyer activity in the region has been subdued over these uncommonly harsh winter months, but is likely to return as spring arrives.

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Decrease in closed sales in all property segments; lowest March-level since 2009. For the third consecutive month, the number of closed sales in the Washington DC Metro Area decreased from the prior year. There were 3,168 sales in the region in March, 11.2 percent, or 401 sales, fewer than last year. This is the lowest March-level since 2009. The number of sales increased 22.3 percent from last month, which is a milder increase than the 10-year average February to March change of 30.8 percent. All property segments had fewer closed sales than last year. Condo properties declined the least, falling 8.9 percent, or by 90 sales, from this time last year. Townhome sales and single-family detached home sales decreased 11.1 percent and 12.8 percent, respectively.


Highest March-level since 2007; 26th month in a row of year-over-year increases.  At $389,900, the median sales price in the Washington DC Metro Area increased 4.7 percent, or by $17,400, from this time last year.  This is the 26th consecutive year-over-year increase and the highest March-level in seven years. The median sales price for single-family detached homes increased 7.5 percent, or by $35,000, from last year and led all property segments in price growth.  The median sales price for townhomes rose 5.5 percent, or by $20,000, from March 2013, to $385,000.  At $289,000, the median sales price for condo properties increased 3.8 percent from last year, which is a gain of $10,700.

Of the jurisdictions, Prince George’s County had the highest growth in median sale price, increasing 18.8 percent from March 2013.  The median sales price in Prince George’s County has now had double-digit increases from the prior year for the past 13 months.  These increases have driven the median sales price in the county to the highest price in any month since fall 2009.  The city of Alexandria had a lower median sales price as compared to last March, and was the only jurisdiction in the region to do so.


Fourth consecutive year-over-year decrease in new contracts driven by condo properties.  There were 5,012 new contracts signed in March, 6.8 percent, or 365 contracts, fewer than this time last year.  This is the fourth consecutive month of decreases for this indicator.  New contracts increased 32.2 percent from last month, which is in line with the ten-year average February to March change of 30.6 percent.  Condo properties were the only property segment to have more new contracts than last March, increasing 3.5 percent or by 46 contracts.  New contracts for townhome properties fell by 6.9 percent, or by 97 contracts, from last year.  Those for single-family detached homes decreased 11.9 percent or by 314 contracts.


Sixth consecutive year-over-year increase in active listings led by condo properties.  There were 7,604 active listings in the Washington DC Metro Area at the end of March, which is 20.9 percent, or 1,315 listings, more than this time last year.  Active listings have now increased from the prior year for six months in a row and all property segments have done so for three consecutive months.  Despite this increase, active listings are 70.6 percent lower than their September 2007 peak.  Active listings for condo properties had the sharpest increase, rising 35.1 percent, or by 519 listings.  Active listings for townhomes rose nearly as much, increasing 34.6 percent, or by 344 listings.  There were 4,264 single-family detached home listings, 12.0 percent, or 458 listings, more than last year.  There were 6,042 new listings in March, an increase of 3.9 percent, or 225 listings, from March 2013.  New listings of single-family detached homes fell 2.2 percent, or by 68 listings, from this time last year and were the only property segment to do so.  New listings of townhomes increased 2.4 percent or by 34 listings.  Those for condo properties rose the most, increasing 18.6 percent or by 259 listings.  The median-days-on-market rose by 3 days from last March to 18 days.  While this is the second year-over-year increase in a row, the number of days remains lower than its 10-year average March-level of 40.



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 subdivision 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 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 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 with business interests in the Mid-Atlantic region. The full monthly data report for all jurisdictions in the MRIS region, along with interactive charts and graphics, can be found at www.rbintel.com/statistics. RBI is the only company in the Mid-Atlantic region that provides timely, online access to statistical information directly from the MRIS Multiple Listing Service (MLS). Visit rbintel.com or www.facebook.com/rbintel to learn more.

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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