Between heat-induced lethargy, summer vacations and families getting ready for the school year, August tends to be a slightly slower month for home sales than the spring and earlier in the summer. But some data indicates that the housing market may be losing a bit more steam than just the typical end-of-summer slowdown in the D.C. region.

The median sales price for a home in the D.C. region dropped 2.4 percent from July to August to $536,800, according to Bright MLS. However, that median price is up 6.3 percent compared to August 2020. Townhouse sales prices dropped 4 percent from July to August to a median sales price of $505,000. Typically, townhouse prices drop 1 percent between July and August, according to Bright.

Comparing statistics year-over-year can be tricky because of the extreme disruptions due to the covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

Median sales prices for the D.C. region were up 6.3 percent from August 2020 to August 2021 and up 17.8 percent compared to August 2019. Median sales prices were flat in D.C. (up 0.4 percent) from August 2020 to August 2021, but they were up 13.8 percent compared to August 2019.

Median sales prices rose 14.6 percent in Montgomery County, Md., in August 2021 compared to August 2020 and were up 16.8 percent over August 2019. In Prince George’s County, Md., prices were up 25.8 percent from August 2019 to August 2021 and up 9.9 percent from August 2020 to August 2021.

In Fairfax County, Va., median sales prices were up 14 percent from August 2019 to August 2021 and up 4 percent from August 2020 to August 2021.

Homes stayed on the market across the region an average of eight days in August, which indicates brisk sales but is the longest since January 2021.

A forward-looking indicator of market demand is the number of home showings. That number dipped to 146,721 in August, down 17.1 percent compared to August 2020 and down 4.8 percent compared to July 2021. The limited availability of lower-priced homes could mean that buyers are giving up on their home search.

The Bright MLS T3 Home Demand Index, which measures a variety of factors to evaluate demand, was in the moderate range in July and August. In August, the Index was 12 percent lower than in August 2020. The decline in demand is primarily driven by reduced buyer demand for lower-priced single-family homes and townhouses. Demand also decreased for higher-priced condos but remained high for mid-to-upper-range single-family homes and townhouses.

Nationally, the latest figures come from July, when home sales were up by 2 percent compared to June and up 1.5 percent compared to July 2020, according to the National of Association of Realtors. The median sales price in July rose 17.8 percent compared to July 2020 to $359,900, the 113 consecutive month with a sales price increase.

According to NAR, the increase in sales was primarily among more expensive homes, with less growth in the mid- to lower-price range because of a lack of homes for sale. Sales of newly built homes rose 1 percent from June to July 2021 but were down 27.2 percent compared to July 2020. Prices of newly built homes rose 18.4 percent in July, according to Reuters, compared to July 2020 to a median of $390,500.

For more information on Bright’s D.C. area data, visit https://www.homedemandindex.com/

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