Low inventory continues to plague the D.C. housing market

September 10, 2013

(Steven Senne/Associated Press)

August is typically one of the slower months in the D.C. area housing market, and last month was no exception. With Congress out of session and nearly everyone on vacation, few people were looking to buy or sell a house.

Even though month-over-month numbers such as units sold, pending sales, active listings and new listings wilted in the August heat, there were still encouraging signs when looking at the year-over-year numbers, according to the latest data from RealEstate Business Intelligence. Except for active listings, all the other numbers showed increases from August 2012.


(RealEstate Business Intelligence)

Low inventory continues to plague the D.C. housing market but relief may be on the horizon. Although the number of properties for sale continues to decline, the free-fall seems to be abating. After 24 months of double-digit year-over-year declines, the pace has slowed to a single-digit year-over-year decrease. The 8,301 active listings last month were down 9.7 percent from August 2012 and down 1.1 percent from July. While that is encouraging news, the number of active listings is still 34.5 percent below the five-year average for August (12,673).

Active listings of single-family detached homes are at an eight-year low for the month of August; active listings for condos are at a nine-year low for August. The 1,420 town house listings were an all-time low for August.

Part of the reason inventory isn’t catching up is because buyer demand remains high. Although mortgage rates have been rising, they haven’t risen enough to cool most buyers’ desire to own a home, as of yet. There were 4,621 sales in August, the most for that month since 2006. The number of sales in August was 13.8 percent more than a year ago, marking the fifth consecutive month of double digit sales growth.

Because buyers are eager to purchase before rising rates make it unaffordable for them, the few homes coming on the market are being snapped up quickly. The median days on market last month was 14, up from 12 in July, but down from 26 in August 2012.

The median price for the D.C. metro area reached its highest level for the month of August in six years. At $415,000, it is up $30,000 or 7.8 percent higher than August 2012. Prince George’s and Loudoun counties showed the biggest year-over-year median price growth. Prince George’s median price last month soared to $209,000 from $175,000 in August 2012, a 19.4 percent year-over-year increase. Loudoun’s median price last month jumped to $435,000 from $377,000 in August 2012, a 15.4 percent increase.

Prince William and Montgomery counties also had double-digit year-over-year median price games. Prince William’s median price last month climbed to $310,000 from $275,500 in August 2012, a 12.5 percent increase. Montgomery’s median price rose to $417,500 from $374,728 in August 2012, an 11.4 percent increase.


(RealEstate Business Intelligence)

(Note: RBI, which produces the chart, does not include Prince William or Loudoun. The numbers above are from separate reports on the counties.)

 

Kathy Orton is a reporter and Web editor for the Real Estate section. She covers the Washington metropolitan area housing market.
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Kathy Orton · September 10, 2013