September Marks the 8th Consecutive Month of Year-Over-Year Price Gains in DC Metro

Posted on October 10, 2012 by Corey Hart



Persistent declines in active and new listings continue; Low inventory keeping prices above the 10-year average despite cooling demand


Activity has cooled in the Washington DC metro housing market as we end September, following typical seasonal market patterns. Closed sales, new pending contracts, and median prices all declined from August, however these indicators remain above September 2011 levels, and in many cases are at multi-year September highs, providing evidence of a stronger market. The median price is the highest September median price in...

five years, and the number of new contracts in September is the highest in three years. The inventory of active and new listings continues to shrink, which will likely keep prices stable, even as demand slows. Persistent declines in the number of homes for sale despite a strengthening housing market underscore the significance of continued economic uncertainty. Tepid job growth and slow improvement of the unemployment picture are likely deterring many would-be sellers from entering the market. While the condo market growth has slowed somewhat, townhomes have inched ahead in year-over-year sales growth and median price gains.

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Sales up from last year, but growth is slowing.  Seasonal Aug. to Sep. drop sharper than 10-year average for all property segments, evidence of cooling demand.There were 3,256 sales in September in the Washington DC Metro Area, a 4.7 percent increase from this time last year.  Sales slowed from August in line with seasonal patterns, though the nearly 20 percent decline from last month is the sharpest drop in five years.  All property segments continue to have stronger sales than last year, however the rate of growth has slowed, particularly in the condo market, which at 6.4 percent had the slowest year-over-year growth in six months.  Single-family home sales rose 1.9 percent from this time last year, and townhomes led all property segments with 8.0 percent sales growth from last year. 


The median sale price remains up from last year; low inventory will likely keep prices stable. At $360,000, the median sale price in the DC Metro Area is 6.5 percent higher than September 2011.The median price dropped $25,000 from last month; however this is in line with seasonal patterns. Most jurisdictions within the region continue to post year-over-year median price gains. Falls Church City leads the way with 12.7 percent growth, followed by Washington D.C. at 9.9 percent. Arlington had a 3.7 percent decline in median sales price from September 2011, which is likely due to a higher percentage of condo sales and a sharp drop in single-family detached sales in September. Region-wide, all property segments have higher median prices than this time last year. Townhomes lead the way, up 10.9 percent. Median prices of condos and single-family detached properties rose 8.0 and 4.5 respectively. Even as demand cools into the fall season, the low inventory of homes for sale will likely keep home prices relatively stable in the near-term.


New contract levels remain relatively strong compared to seasonal norms for all property segments.  There were 4,195 new contracts signed in August in the DC Metro Area, up 9.6 percent from the September 2011 level of 3,829. The number of new contracts declined 6.4 percent from last month, which is less pronounced than the 10-year average August-to-September drop of 7.0 percent. Condos led all property segments in new contract growth, up 18.1 percent from this time last year. New contracts on townhomes also rose, up 13.6 percent from September 2011, which is the strongest year-over-year growth the region has seen on townhome contracts in over a year. New contracts for single-family detached properties increased 3.0 percent from this time last year.


Declines in active and new listings persist, lowest number of active townhome listings on record for September.  There were 9,514 active listings in the DC Metro Area at the end of September, 35.7 percent below this time last year. The number of active listings is now more than 6,000 below the 10-year September average for the area. The shrinking inventory continues across all property segments, with townhomes accounting for the largest reduction, down 43.5 percent from this time last year. The 1,723 active townhome listings in the metro housing market represent the lowest September total on record, with region-wide data available back to 1997. New listings in the region are following a similar pattern. The 5,124 new listings entered are the lowest September level since 2000. The persistent decline in homes for sale will likely keep prices stable even as demand slows. The low inventory continues to drive down the median-days-on-market, which was 26 days in September, down 18 days from this time last year.

DC Metro Area, market analysis, press release
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