The Washington Post

Report is good news for homeowners, but not homebuyers

Real Estate Business Intelligence’s latest housing update for the Washington metro area offered good news for homeowners, but not so good news for those looking to buy a home in the region.

RBI reported Tuesday morning that the median home sales price in the Washington metro area reached $400,000 for the first time in four years, a 1.9 percent increase from May and a 5.3 percent increase from June 2011. It was the fifth consecutive month of year-over-year gains.  

Falls Church continues to have the most expensive median price ($612,450) even though the median price fell by 7.1 percent from May ($659,000), the only jurisdiction not to have year-over-year growth in median sales price.

Virginia leads the region in median sales price with the top three spots located in that state — Falls Church ($612,450), Arlington ($550,000) and Alexandria ($482,700). Fairfax ($450,000), Fairfax City ($439,500) and Loudoun ($404,950) are also above the DC metro average.

A for sale sign stands outside a row house in Logan Circle. (Andrew Harrer/BLOOMBERG)

Montgomery County had the biggest year-over-year increase in median sales price, rising 8.4 percent from June 2011 ($381,150) to June 2012 ($413,000).

The condominium market showed the most substantial rise in median sales price, a $30,000 increase in value, which is up 12 percent from a year ago. Condos outpaced detached homes and townhomes in June on year-over-year growth in sales, median price gains and new contracts. The 1,133 condo sales in June are a 13.9 percent increase from last year and the second month in a row of double-digit year-over-year growth.

Those looking to buy a home not only have to contend with rising prices but also a diminishing inventory. The Washington metro area had its 16th consecutive month of year-over-year declines in active listings. The number of active listings in June shrunk to a historic low, falling to 10,374, which is down 33 percent from a year ago. The 5,588 new listings entered in June are the lowest for the month of June since RBI started tracking the data in 1997.

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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