Price growth is leveling out in the Washington area. That's good news for buyers -- not so much for sellers. (John Bazemore/AP)

Editor’s note: The local housing data supplied by Redfin as well as the conclusions reached in this blogpost were incorrect. After publication, the author, Redfin broker Marshall Park, said the firm encountered problems with the listings data it uses to analyze the market, which resulted in miscalculations. Specifically, Redfin says, duplicate listings caused its inventory and days on the market counts to be off.

Discrepancies in data between Redfin and Bright MLS, the local multiple listing service, also could be attributed to differing methodologies. For example, the geographic area Redfin defines as the Washington metro differs from Bright MLS. Redfin numbers indicated that in July the typical home in the Washington metro area was on the market 39 days before finding a buyer – 19 days longer than July 2017. But Bright MLS data shows that in July the typical Washington metro area home was on the market for 12 days before finding a buyer – two days fewer than July 2017.

Last summer, the Washington area real estate market was as competitive as ever, but the pace of the market has slowed considerably this year. In July, the typical home in the Washington metro area was on the market for 39 days before finding a buyer. That’s 19 days longer than last July, according to Redfin.

Of the Washington area homes that sold in July, 21 percent of them were off the market in two weeks or less, down from 43 percent during the same period last year. What is causing this slowdown?

The number of homes for sale is on the rise. After declining nearly every month in 2016 and 2017, the Washington metro area has seen year-over-year gains in the number of homes for sale every month this year. Inventory was up 9 percent in July compared with a year ago.

This much needed inventory has given buyers more options, alleviating some of the upward pressure on home prices. With more homes to choose from, buyers are feeling less frenzied and taking a bit more time in their home search. Price growth is leveling out. Home-sale prices in the Washington area grew less than 1 percent in July, compared with a year ago. Sales in the region grew 12.7 percent in July compared with last year as buyers took advantage of new inventory.

Advice for buyers: It’s still not a buyer’s market, but you may have more options than you thought.

If you stepped away from the market out of frustration over the lack of homes to buy, consider taking another look. Added inventory has created more opportunities, and buyers have a bit more leverage this year than they did in 2017. You can still expect competition and bidding wars for well-priced homes in popular neighborhoods, but a house that may have received 10 or more offers last year, may get two or three this year. Consider homes that have been on the market for two or more weeks. You may have an opportunity to negotiate.

Don’t expect to buy a property and be able to sell it within a year or two for a profit. The years of rapid price appreciation are now behind us, so buy the home that you want to be in for the long term.

Advice for sellers: Adjust your expectations and price conservatively.

While conditions are still competitive, the market has slowed and your home may take longer to sell than it might have a few years ago. Pricing conservatively is the best way to drive interest and offers in your home. We’ve noticed buyers are becoming a bit more demanding and particular when it comes to inspection items and repairs. If your home needs any repairs, it’s best to get those items taken care of before you list for sale, so you can control who does the repairs and manage those costs.

Curious about what’s happening in your neighborhood? Here’s the latest market data from around the Washington region:

  • Washington: Home prices rose 5 percent year over year in July to a median of $585,000. Sales were up 13 percent compared with last year, as inventory grew 20 percent. Homes that sold in July found buyers after 29 median days on the market. 
  • Alexandria: Home prices rose 9 percent year over year in July to a median of $520,000. Sales increased 8 percent compared with last year, as inventory grew 15 percent. Homes that sold in July found buyers after 85 median days on the market. 
  • Arlington County: Home prices rose 3 percent year over year in July to a median of $610,000. Sales declined 5 percent compared with last year, as inventory grew 13 percent. Homes that sold in July found buyers after 37 median days on the market.
  • Fairfax County: Home prices rose 6 percent year over year in July to a median of $528,000. Sales declined 3 percent compared with last year, as inventory grew 9 percent. Homes that sold in July found buyers after 40 median days on the market. 
  • Loudoun County: Home prices rose 2 percent year over year in July to a median of $472,000. Sales declined 2 percent compared with last year, as inventory grew 5 percent. Homes that sold in July found buyers after 40 median days on the market. 
  • Montgomery County: Home prices rose 4 percent year over year in July to a median of $451,000. Sales surged 47 percent compared with last year, as inventory grew 3 percent. Homes that sold in July found buyers after 35 median days on the market. 
  • Prince George’s County: Home prices rose 12 percent year over year in July to a median of $285,000. Sales surged 42 percent compared with last year, as inventory grew 8 percent. Homes that sold in July found buyers after 35 median days on the market. 

Marshall Park is a real estate broker at Redfin in Virginia who writes an occasional column on the local real estate market.