Buyers in the D.C. metro region are snapping up homes at a pace not seen since the housing boom.
According to data released Friday by RealEstate Business Intelligence, a subsidiary of MRIS, more homes were sold last month than in any month since June 2006.
There were 5,652 sales last month, a 13 percent increase from June 2014. It was the seventh month in a row of year-over-year increases.
“Overall, I can see more hope in people,” Mary Bayat, owner of Bayat Realty in Alexandria and chair of the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors board. “People are more confident, happier. Maybe people are afraid interest rates will go up. They shouldn’t wait. They need to jump into that pool.”
Although home loan rates have increased slightly during the past month, they remain low. However, many economists expect the Federal Reserve to begin raising its benchmark rate later this year.
After a sluggish 2014, home sales have been brisk this year. Comparing the first six months of the year with the first six months of 2014, sales in the region are up more than 9 percent with all jurisdictions showing increases.
“Last summer was really slow,” said Jenn Smira, a senior vice president at Compass and a District of Columbia Association of Realtors presidential appointee. “This summer is really busy. I’m seeing a flow.”
Smira said one factor that could be contributing to the increased market activity is new loan products offered by lenders. Some banks are offering jumbo loans with a 5 percent down payment. Others offer loans with a 3 percent down payment and no mortgage insurance. She also says that homebuyers are more aware of lending requirements, such as credit scores and debt-to-income ratios, and are better prepared to buy.
The brisk pace is likely to continue. Pending sales – homes under contract but the deals haven’t closed – were at their highest level for the month of June in more than a decade. New contracts increased 11.6 percent from June 2014 and have risen for eight consecutive months.
The median price of homes sold in the D.C. area continues to slowly rise, reaching a near record high last month. June’s median price of $439,000 was just $1,000 below the all-time high reached in June 2007 and June 2013.
Based on a mid-year aggregate of sale prices, the median price in the region has appreciated 25 percent since bottoming out at $330,000 in the first half of 2010.
Although the prices are up in the region as a whole, the Virginia suburbs and parts of Maryland are seeing declines.
Falls Church, Fairfax City and County and Loudoun County each had year-over-year declines in median price. Falls Church’s median price fell the most, dropping to $568,500 last month from $745,000 in June 2014. The low number of sales tends to make the median price volatile in that city. The year-to-date median price in Falls Church is down just 2.4 percent compared to 2014.
Fairfax City’s median price slid to $496,000 from $500,000, while Fairfax County’s median price slipped to $495,900 from $497,500. Loudoun County’s median price dropped to $441,750 from $453,500.
In Maryland, Frederick County’s median price sank to $275,000 from $296,100, while Anne Arundel County’s median price slid to $322,000 from $328,250.
Of all the jurisdictions, the District had the biggest increase in median price, rising to $550,000 from $520,000.
The number of homes listed for sale is increasing but inventory remains low. There were 12,324 active listings last month, an 11.5 percent year-over-year increase. The largest number of active listings is in Fairfax County where 4,337 properties are on the market. There were 7,258 new listings last month, a 6.4 percent increase from June 2014.
Half of the homes on the market last month sold in about two weeks or less. That’s up slightly from June 2014. Homes are selling fastest in Falls Church, which had a median days on market of eight.