Icy weather chills January sales pace in DC Metro

Posted on February 10, 2014 by Corey Hart



Winter weather dampens buyer activity though price gains continue; Active listings increase across all property segments


The DC Metro Area was off to an unusually cold and snowy start, likely affecting buyer activity in the region.  Closed sales decreased 2.1 percent from last January with declines in both single-family detached home and townhome sales.  New contracts also decreased from last year, falling 10.5 percent with declines across all property segments.  However, seller activity continues to improve and both active listings and new listings increased from January 2013.  Active listings rose 11.5 percent from this time last year, marking the fourth consecutive month of increases for this indicator.  For the first time in over two years, there were gains in active listings for all property segments.  Even with this increase, supply remains tight and is only 26 percent of its 2007 peak level.  New listings increased 1.7 percent from last year which is a milder increase than in prior months.  The median sales price increased from the prior year for the 24th month in a row, rising 7.8 percent from last January.  While sellers are returning to the market, winter weather may dampen buyer activity in the remaining winter months.

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Decrease in closed sales driven by decrease in single-family detached homes and townhomes.  There were 2,444 closed sales in the DC Metro Area, 2.1 percent or 53 sales fewer than last January.  The number of sales decreased 32.9 percent from last month, which is slightly steeper than the 10-year average December-to-January change of -29.4 percent.  Condo properties were the only property segment to have more closed sales than in January 2013 and rose 6.8 percent, or by 44 sales.  Townhome sales and single-family detached home sales decreased 2.8 percent and 6.5 percent, respectively.


Highest January-median price since 2008, increase led by single-family detached homes.  The median sales price in the DC Metro Area increased 7.8 percent, or by $26,800, from this time last year to $370,000.  This is the 24th consecutive year-over-year increase in median sales price and the highest January-level in six years.  At $450,000, the median sales price for single-family detached homes was up 12.4 percent, or $49,500 higher, leading all property segments in median sales price growth.  The median sales price for townhomes in the region increased 8.8 percent, or by $29,950, from this time last year.  The median sales prices of condo properties rose 7.3 percent, a gain of $19,000 from January 2013.

Of the jurisdictions, Fairfax City had the highest growth in median sales price, increasing 16.5 percent from January 2013.  Prince George’s County increased by nearly as much, rising 16.1 percent.  Falls Church City had a 36.3 percent drop in median sales price, but with only 6 sales, this decline does not represent a drastic change in property values as comparing small sample sizes typically results in large swings in any median metrics.


Decrease in new contracts for all property segments.  There were 3,504 new contracts signed in January, 10.5 percent fewer than this time last year.  January’s cold and unsettled weather likely played a role in this decline, particularly as compared to last year which was relatively mild. New contracts increased 21.6 percent from last month, which is slightly higher than the ten-year average December-to-January change of 17.4 percent.  New contracts for single-family detached homes had the sharpest decline compared to last year, falling 15.0 percent.  New contracts for townhomes decreased 7.0 percent while those for condo properties decreased 5.9 percent.


Increase in active listings in all property segments; mild increase in new inventory.  Active listings in the DC Metro Area increased 11.5 percent, or by 696 listings, from this time last year to 6,745 listings at the end of January.  Despite this increase, active listings are 74.0 percent lower than their September 2007 peak.  For the first time in two years, every property segment had more listings than in the prior year.  Active listings for condo properties had the sharpest increase, rising 27.6 percent, or by 390 listings.  Active listings for townhomes rose nearly as much, increasing 25.0 percent, or by 245 listings.  There were 3,710 single-family detached home listings, 1.8 percent, or 64 listings, more than last year.  This is the fourth consecutive year-over year increase for both townhomes and condos and the first increase for single-family detached homes. 

Gains in new listings have contributed to the increase in active listings, but their pace of growth has slowed.  There were 4,071 new listings in January, which is an increase of 1.7 percent from last year.  This is the tenth consecutive month of year-over-year growth for this indicator.  Condo properties led all property segments in new listing growth, increasing 5.8 percent from last January.  New listings of townhomes increased 4.0 percent.  New listings for single-family detached homes decreased 1.7 percent from this time last year and were the only property segment to decline.  At 32 days, the median-days-on-market was unchanged from last year and remains lower than its 10-year average January-level of 50 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.


dc metro, market analysis, press release
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