Median Sales Price Increases Across the Board in the DC Metro Region

Posted on October 10, 2013 by Corey Hart



Double-digit growth for new listings for the sixth straight month


Activity in the Washington DC Metro Region continues to be steady and strong as we enter fall.  Sales increased in September as compared to this time last year.  Pending contracts also increased, but at a slower rate than earlier this year.  The increase in pending contracts was driven by condos and detached homes.  Total inventory continues to decline, but as in prior months, the pace of the decline is slowing.  Both townhomes and condos had year-over-year increases in active listings, but were offset by the decline in detached home listings.  Median sales prices reached their highest September-level in six years likely as a result of strong demand and tight supply.  Condo properties led the growth in closed sales while detached homes had the highest increase in median sales price.  Favorable market conditions continue to cause new sellers to enter the market, resulting in a 16.5 percent increase in listings from this time last year.  This is the sixth consecutive double-digit increase for this indicator.  Homes are selling quickly; the median-days-on-market was 17 days in September, which is the lowest September-level since the peak of the housing boom in 2005.  Federal uncertainty may play a stronger role over the coming months as the impact of the Federal Shutdown and debt ceiling are felt.

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Sixth consecutive month of double-digit sales growth for the region.  There were 3,651 sales in September in the Washington DC Metro Area, 12.1 percent more than a year ago, and the highest September-level since 2009.  The number of sales decreased 21.0 percent from last month, which is in line with seasonal patterns. The 10-year average August to September change is -17.4 percent.  Condos had the strongest sales growth of the property segments, increasing 19.2 percent from this time last year. The increase in condo sales from last year accounted for 41.0 percent of the increase in all sales.  “Strong demand has driven overall home prices up significantly over the past five years in the region,” Jonathan Hill, President of RealEstate Business Intelligence, said of this surge in condo sales. “The lower price-points and smaller unit size of condos may be attractive to first time homebuyers and investors, contributing to the strong gains in this segment.”  Townhome sales increased 10.2 percent from last September, the seventh consecutive month of double-digit growth for this segment.  Detached home sales increased by 9.6 percent from this time last year.


Slight increase in contracts driven by condos and single-family homes.  There were 4,260 new contracts signed in September, 1.5 percent, or 65 contracts, more than this time last year.  This is the highest September total in eight years.  New contracts fell 6.1 percent from August, which is in line with the ten-year average August to September change of -6.8 percent.  The year-over-year increase in new contracts was driven by condo properties and single-family homes.  The 1,196 new contracts for condo properties represented an increase of 7.8 percent, or 86 more contracts.  The 1,988 new contracts for detached homes represented a 2.4% increase. Contract activity for townhomes actually fell by 5.6 percent to 1,087 contracts, 65 fewer than September 2012.


Increases in active listings for condo and townhomes; detached home inventory continues to decline.  There were 9,340 active listings in the DC Metro Area at the end of September, a decrease of 1.8 percent, or 174 listings, from this time last year.  Detached homes were the only property segment that had fewer listings compared to this time last year, however, with an increase of 3.9 percent.  Active listings for detached homes are at their lowest September-level in eight years.  There were 1,764 townhome listings, 2.4 percent, or 41 listings, more than last year.  This is the first year-over year increase for townhomes in over two years.  Active listings for condo properties increased 0.3 percent, or 6 listings, from this time last year.  The year-over-year change in total active listings is the mildest decline in two years as the rise in new listings continues to play a role.  Active inventory is actually up in half of the jurisdictions, led by an 11.1 percent gain in Alexandria City. Fairfax and Montgomery, the counties with the highest sales volume in the region, both had annual inventory growth, up 4.7 percent and 4.8 percent, respectively.  Prince George’s County continues to experience the sharpest decline in inventory, 15.1 percent fewer active listings as compared to this time last year.   

The inventory freefall of the last several years has slowed due to the strong gains in new sellers entering the market outpacing contract activity gains.  New listings increased by 16.5 percent from this time last year, for a total of 5,967 new listings in September.  This is the sixth consecutive month of double-digit growth for this indicator and the highest September-level of new listings since 2010.  Condos continue to lead all property segments in new listing growth, increasing 26.5 percent from last September.  New listings of townhomes increased 18.6 percent, and single-family detached new listings increased 10.5 percent from this time last year.  The median-days-on-market remains historically low at 17 days and is the lowest September-level in eight years.  All jurisdictions saw a lower median DOM compared to last September. Montgomery County had the highest level, but with a median DOM of only 21 days, half of the homes sold there were on the market for three weeks or less.


Median sale price increases in all jurisdictions.  At $387,000, the median sales price in the Washington DC Metro Area is 7.5 percent higher than this time last year, an increase of $27,000.  This is the highest September-level since 2007.  Detached homes led all property segments in median sales price rate of growth, increasing 10.0 percent from September 2012 for a gain of $43,747.  The median sales price for townhomes in the region increased 6.6 percent, or $23,750, from this time last year.  Condo property median sales prices rose 5.5 percent, a gain of $14,900 from last year.

Among the jurisdictions in the region, Prince George’s County had the highest growth rate, increasing 18.2 percent from September 2012.  This was the seventh consecutive double-digit increase for Prince George’s County.  For only the third time this year, all jurisdictions in the region had year-over-year price increases.  The year-to-date median sales price for the region as a whole increased to $400,000 from $365,000, for a 9.6 percent gain over the 2012 year-to-date period.


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 Area, market analysis, press release
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