The median price for a home in the D.C. region rose to $430,000 last month, a record high for the month of May, according to data released Tuesday by RealEstate Business Intelligence, a subsidiary of MRIS, the Rockville-based multiple listing service.
Although prices seem to be moderating — the year-over-year increase of $17,500 or 1.2 percent from May 2013 was the smallest in recent months — there have been 28 consecutive months of price growth in this region.
Condominiums experienced the biggest gains, rising 5.1 percent year-over-year to $310,000. Townhomes grew 5 percent year-over-year to $410,000, and single-family detached homes increased 2.3 percent to $552,634.
The price gains have mainly been in the District and Maryland, while Northern Virginia has been flat. Four Virginia jurisdictions – Alexandria, Fairfax City, Fairfax County and Loudoun County – had year-over-year decreases in median price. Falls Church City’s 24.1 percent increase had more to do with the small sample size (16 sales) than significant price fluctuations.
A decline in bank-mediated sales and tight inventory are what has been pushing home prices steadily higher. After years of creating a drag on the market, foreclosures and short sales are disappearing. There was a 35.3 percent year-over-year decrease in short sales and foreclosures last month, marking 39 consecutive months of double-digit percentage declines in bank-mediated sales.
Rising home prices have boosted the number of homes for sale, but listings remain well below peak. There were 10,446 listings last month, the first time inventory has topped the 10,000 level since June 2012, and active listings have shown year-over-year increases in each of the past eight months. But even with the rise in inventory, the number of homes on the market is nearly 60 percent lower than the peak in September 2007.
The high end of the market is showing the most growth, and that’s good news for luxury buyers. New listings in the $1 million and higher price range were up 23 percent last month compared to May 2013. First-time home buyers should also be encouraged. New listings for homes priced between $300,000 and $400,000 were up 17.7 percent. Move-up buyers face the toughest competition for homes. New listings for homes priced between $500,000 and $600,000 were up just 6.6 percent.
Another month of listless sales indicates that the market still has not recovered from its swoon set in motion by October’s government shutdown. The 4,511 sales in the region last month were 10.6 percent less than May 2013, marking the sixth time in the past seven months that home sales have had year-over-year declines. With pending sales — homes under contract but the deals have not closed — declining year-over-year for the sixth consecutive month, the trend is likely to continue.
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