Mapping the D.C. region’s 2020 housing market

A scarcity of homes for sale has been driving up prices in the Washington region for several years now. The pandemic didn’t change that. Rather, it exacerbated the problem. With few potential sellers wanting buyers wandering through their homes, the number of houses on the market declined. Throw in low mortgage rates, which gave buyers more money to spend, and you had an ideal environment for price escalation.

[How the D.C.-area housing market fared in 2020 by Zip code]

Using data from Black Knight, a mortgage and real estate technology and data provider, we have mapped sales of single-family houses in the region’s 252 Zip codes. Condo sales were separated out of the data because they tend to drag down median sale price. However, that means Zip codes with less than 10 single-family house sales will appear as having no sales even though they may have had many condo sales. Below, explore three housing indicators – price, sales and change in price – for each Zip code.

Median sales price 2020

Median price is not the same as average price. When looking at all the homes sold in a Zip code, the median price represents the midpoint — meaning that half the homes sold for above the price and half sold below it.

Although prices can and do vary from neighborhood to neighborhood, knowing a Zip code’s median price gives you some sense of what homes cost in that area.

Change in median price 2019-2020

Median price is not the same as average price. When looking at all the homes sold in a Zip code, the median price represents the midpoint — meaning half the homes sold above the price and half sold below it.

The change in median price in a Zip code from 2019 to 2020 is shown. Although prices can and do vary from neighborhood to neighborhood, knowing the change in median price indicates whether prices are rising or falling in that Zip code.

For areas that saw a significant decrease in median sale price, inventory could have played a role. The few houses that were sold may have not been representative of the area as a whole.

Change in sales volume 2019-2020

The number of sales in a particular Zip code can be deceiving. Because of their density, some Zip codes will have a greater number of sales than others.

But by looking at the percentage change in sales from one year to the next, it gives an indication of how active or sluggish the housing market is in that particular area.

About this story

Editing by Tim Meko.

Sales of single-family houses in the region’s 252 Zip code data was provided by Black Knight. For Zip codes that crossed county lines, the Post calculated a weighted average from the median sales prices in each county.

Maria del Carmen Aguilar is a graphic reporter in the graphics department at The Washington Post.
Hannah Dormido is a graphics reporter and cartographer at The Washington Post.
Dan Keating analyzes data for projects, stories, graphics and interactive online presentations.
Joe Fox joined The Washington Post as a graphics reporter in 2018. They previously worked at the Los Angeles Times as a graphics and data journalist.
Kathy Orton is a reporter and Web editor for the Real Estate section. She covers the Washington metropolitan area housing market. Previously, she wrote for the Sports section. She came to The Washington Post in 1996 from the Los Angeles Daily News. She also worked at the Cincinnati Post.