The 2,870 home sales last month represent 5.7 percent fewer sales than in February 2018, according to Bright MLS. (John Bazemore/AP)

The long drought of low inventory appears to be continuing to take its toll on the Washington area’s housing market. The number of sales decreased in February for the seventh consecutive month.

“The housing market has been very soft in the D.C. area for the last four or five months because inventory is so tight,” says Andrew Strauch, vice president of the Bright MLS multiple listing service, which released its monthly sales report on Tuesday. “Interest rates have been a little higher, although as they drop back a little I expect sales to increase.”

The 2,870 home sales last month represent 5.7 percent fewer sales than in February 2018, according to Bright MLS. New pending sales, which refer to transactions under contract but not closed, also declined by 1.6 percent last month compared with February 2018.

Prices are rising in most of the Washington area. The median home-sales price rose 4.1 percent to $427,000 last month compared with February 2018. In the District, the median sales price rose by 10.6 percent year over year in February to $589,000.

In Virginia, prices jumped 6.1 percent in Arlington County to $565,000 in February but declined 6.8 percent in Alexandria to $522,500. Fairfax County median sales prices remained steady at $492,500, a 0.5 percent increase.


(Bright MLS) ((Bright MLS/Bright MLS)

In Maryland, prices rose 4.0 percent in Prince George’s County in February to $289,000 and increased 2.3 percent in Montgomery County to $419,950 in February.

Rising prices correlate with a continuing limited supply of homes.

“In the D.C. region, there’s about a 1½-months’ supply of homes, which is extremely tight,” Strauch says. “In the District, there’s a 1.7-months’ supply of homes, which is a little unusual because D.C. proper is usually tighter than the rest of the area.”

In the Washington area, the number of new listings was down 7.3 percent last month compared with February 2018. New listings were down throughout the region with the exception of the District, where the 929 homes on the market represent an increase of 8 percent compared with February 2018, and Falls Church, where the 23 homes on the market represent an increase of 53.3 percent compared with February 2018.

“The price appreciation of 9 to 10 percent in the District over the last few months is probably pulling some more homes onto the market,” Strauch says.

The spring market has yet to begin, Strauch says. He anticipates home-price appreciation in the District to moderate during spring and summer and listings to multiply as the spring market gets going.