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Where condo sales are hottest in D.C.

The Newport 21 is one of the newer condo buildings in Dupont Circle. (Benjamin C. Tankersley/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST)

David Charron, president and CEO of Rockville-based multiple-listing service MRIS, writes an occasional column about the Washington-area real estate market. 

The District condo and co-op market has seen such growth in recent years it is hard to drive more than a few miles without passing a sign saying new units are coming soon.

This type of dwelling makes up a full 50 percent of all the active listings most months out of the year and is showing no signs of losing popularity any time soon. Places like Capitol Hill and Southwest Waterfront are two areas that get a lot of attention for recently gaining momentum in the multi-family market, but there are other neighborhoods with a story to tell as well.

Our subsidiary, RealEstate Business Intelligence, dug into the data to find out what else was going on around the city. To keep it simple, we have broken things down by Zip code and used the word condos to refer to both condos and co-ops.

Where the condos are

Of all the condos and co-ops that have been listed for sale this year, nearly 75 percent of them are in the same eight neighborhoods. Dupont Circle/Adams Morgan (the parts in Zip code 20009) tops the list with 665 units that have come to market since Jan. 1.

To put that in perspective, for July (the latest month for which complete data is available) the entire city had a total of 643 units on the market, with the Dupont area having the most at 97 units for sale. The second neighborhood on the list is Shaw (Zip code 20001) with 424 units that came on the market this year, but after that the volume of condo inventory drops off considerably.

The next highest neighborhood, Woodley/Cleveland Park, has almost half as many units at 231 listings. After that the neighborhoods of Capitol Hill North, Cathedral Heights, Georgetown/Burleith, Columbia Heights/Mount Pleasant, West End/Foggy Bottom, the Southwest Waterfront and Logan Circle/Thomas Circle finish off the list of the top 10 locales that have had the most condos for sale this year.

Where the condos are right now

For the most part, the trends for the above year-to-date numbers hold true for where the most condos are on the market (as of July). There are a few neighborhoods that shift their ranking in the top 10, but the only additions are Anacostia/Hillcrest (Zip code 20020), Capitol Hill South (Zip code 20003), and 16th Street Heights/Crestwood (Zip code 20011).

The neighborhoods they replace are only a few listings shy of making it to the top 10 so there aren’t any drastic shifts in where to find the greatest number of condos.

Where the condos sell the fastest

 The most competitive place to buy a condo is Columbia Heights (Zip code 20010) where this year the average time units were on the market has been as low as only eight days. Even for the fast-moving market of Washington, that is an extreme. But the majority of condos are still selling in about a month or less which makes the city’s demand for multi-family housing some of the highest we have seen in recent years.

Looking back at July’s data, of the neighborhoods that have the highest number of units for sale the average days on market come in at 32 for Dupont Circle, 44 for Shaw, and 31 for Woodley/Cleveland Park. The neighborhood with the longest average days on market is Brookland/Catholic University at 68 days.

What the condos cost

Affordability is, as always, a big influence on market activity. This far along in 2014 the median sold price for D.C. condos overall is $415,000, a 2.2 percent increase over 2013. But that ranges from $527,000 for Logan Circle to $58,000 in Congress Heights.

Note that there is a strong correlation between price and public transportation. The only neighborhoods whose median condo sales price exceeds the median for the city overall are ones with access to major Metro stations or main bus routes. In addition to Logan Circle, they are West End/Foggy Bottom ($487,350), Shaw ($485,000), Dupont/Adams Morgan ($468,500), Downtown D.C. Zip Code 20004 ($451,000), and Columbia Heights/Mount Pleasant ($423,500).

Given that a significant portion of the city’s population often stays here for just a few years, there will always be a need for multi-family units but the interest has become even higher recently. For most of these units to go under contract in under 30 days signals a strong demand that will keep our real estate market ticking for years to come.

Previously from David Charron:

How first-time homebuyers can beat the odds

The three hottest D.C. neighborhoods for condos and townhouses

How buyers can stay competitive in a low-supply, high-demand market

Higher interest rates will slow housing market growth in 2014

What buyers and sellers need to know about the end-of-year market