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Data shows what’s hot and not in D.C. real estate

Anacostia is one of the non-Northwest Washington neighborhoods whose housing market showed encouraging signs this year. (Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post)

Tim Savoy, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Dupont Circle, writes an occasional column about the Washington-area housing market. 

We are now a little over halfway through 2015, and the District’s real estate market is in full swing. As always, some neighborhoods have been big winners and some have struggled. The good news, however, is that the health of the District’s market as a whole is up.

While several upscale neighborhoods in Northwest Washington remained hot, the biggest news is that demand in several east-of-the-river communities grew substantially this year.

Here is a snapshot of D.C.’s real estate market according to four indicators:

• Average sales price

Defined: The price at which a property sells

In all, the average sales price for D.C. is up 1.9 percent from the same time a year ago (from $625,575 in 2014 to $637,452 in 2015). Across the board, sales prices are up in the majority of D.C. neighborhoods.

The biggest gainer in sales price this year is Wakefield (at the northern tip of Cleveland Park) with an average sales price up 42 percent from $573,433 to $814,045. Other big gainers in average sales price include Kalorama (41.9 percent increase), Congress Heights (35 percent), Fort Lincoln (27 percent) and Anacostia (27 percent). The last three have been expected to be larger gainers for several years because of an increase in developer presence in the area.

As for the losers, the greatest falls in the average sales price include Barry Farm, a small community just east of the Anacostia River, with a 24 percent decline. Other neighborhoods with declines in average sales price include Spring Valley (22 percent decrease), Wesley Heights (21 percent), Observatory Circle (17 percent), and Cleveland Park (16 percent).

• Average days on market

Defined: The number of days a property takes to go from active on the market to under contract

Seen as one of the biggest factors in a neighborhood’s health, the average days on market have decreased one day from 41 days in 2014 to 40 days at this point in 2015. Looking at the median days on the market, the best of 2015 so far goes to American University Park and Cleveland Park, both with a median of six  days on market. Close behind are Crestwood and Mount Pleasant, with a median of seven days on market.

It should be noted that Crestwood’s number represents an 84 percent decrease in days on market. Other massive decreases in median days on market were seen in Brentwood and 16th Street Heights. Popular neighborhoods such as Dupont and Logan stayed strong at a continued eight days on market at the median.

• Average price per square foot

Defined: The sales price of a property divided by its total livable square footage

The price-per-square-foot champion remains Georgetown at $818. Its neighbor to the north, Burleith, comes next with $755 per square foot.

However, our biggest gainer so far this year has been Massachusetts Avenue Heights with a 31 percent increase in the price per square foot. More interesting, though, is the increase in price per square footage seen in Congress Heights (23 percent increase), Crestwood (22 percent), Randle Heights (20 percent) and Fort Dupont Park (20 percent). Again, the District continues to see gains within the non-Northwest neighborhoods.

• Sales to list price ratio

Defined: The ratio between the price a property sells for and its original market list price

Finally, it is important to note where the bidding has been the highest. The percentage in the ratio indicates how much of the asking price the seller received in the final sale. For instance, 100 percent means the seller received all of his asking price; 105 percent means he received 5 percent above the asking price; and 95 percent means he received 5 percent below the asking price.

The sales price to list price ratio’s were highest so far this year in Eckington (103.4 percent), LeDroit Park (103.25 percent) and Crestwood (103.02 percent). In a city like Washington, where bidding wars and escalation clauses are quite common, development in traditionally noncompetitive neighborhoods is becoming more common.

So what does this all mean?

As for predictions, some might think that 2015 has left us with few surprises. The trend to move out from downtown D.C. is still transitioning, but high prices and competition remain prevalent in Northwest. Whereas traditional staples like Dupont and Logan Circle would make most headlines, the hottest parts of D.C. continue to move outward to provide more competitive pricing.

More interesting, however, is the emergence of Crestwood, Congress Heights and other non-Central neighborhoods, as the city has changed over the past six months. With more sales this year and a slight appreciation, the D.C. market continues to thrive.

Catch up on Tim’s previous columns:

RoomScan app lets you create a floor plan in no time

Five handy apps to help you buy, rent or renovate a home

Five ways millennial renters can become landlords

Tim Savoy can be reached at 202-400-0534 or by e-mail at