Tim Savoy, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Dupont/Logan Circle, writes an occasional column about the Washington-area housing market.
The District’s strong real estate market continued to soar in 2015. After a year of record-low interest rates, Washington continued to grow in nearly every indicator of real estate success, according to data from RealEstate Business Intelligence, a subsidiary of Rockville-based multiple-listing service MRIS.
While the three-year trend from 2013 to the present shows that the heat from recovery is definitely cooling, the market continued to show gains throughout the year.
Here are just a few updates from this year’s market:
In all, the median sales price across the District rose 5 percent this year to $524,000. This is comparable to the growth in 2014 (also about 5 percent from 2013). This year’s biggest gainers show a trend east of the Anacostia River with the median sales price in Congress Heights rising a staggering 37.1 percent from $155,000 to $212,450. Other notable appreciating neighborhoods include the West End (up 30 percent) and Anacostia (up nearly 27 percent).
In all, the highest sales price in the city can be found in the Northwest Washington communities of Kent, with a median sales price of $1.41 million, Spring Valley at $1.38 million and Georgetown at $1.21 million.
Days on market
As bidding wars and hot neighborhoods continue to pop up across the city, days on market — the number of days it takes a property to go from active on the market to under contract — have continued to fall. The biggest winners this year for median days on market (MDOM) were clearly Crestwood in Northwest (down 84.9 percent to just eight days on market) and Woodley Park in Northwest (also down significantly to eight MDOM).
American University Park, Shaw, Bloomingdale, LeDroit Park and Capitol Hill each saw just seven MDOM in 2015, a trend that will probably continue in 2016 in a supply-restricted market.
Price per square foot
Like most urban markets, the District’s home pricing per square foot can get pretty high. In 2015, the areas with the highest price per square foot were clustered together. The price per square foot in Washington remains the highest in the Northwest communities of Georgetown ($781), the West End ($733) and Burleith ($702).
However, the biggest gainers in price per square foot were in Southeast. Anacostia (up 27.7 percent), Marshall Heights (up 24.8 percent), Fort Dupont Park (up 24.0 percent) and Congress Heights (up 22 percent) all saw the biggest gains in 2015. With new construction going up across these areas, these gains show the investment potential in many parts of the District’s Southeast quadrant.
With properties selling fast and with competition, the sales-price-to-list-price ratio — the price for which a property sells compared with its list price — is very important in determining the most desirable places to live. Overall, the sales-price-to-list-price ratio for the District in 2015 was 98.9 percent, up 0.2 percentage points from 2014.
In 2015, the highest sales-price-to-list-price ratio was by far highest in Bloomingdale where homes sold for 105.4 percent of the listed sales price. Other high sales-price-to-list-price ratios were found in Shaw (102.85 percent) and Crestwood (102.4 percent). Moreover, Crestwood saw the biggest increase in the ratio, rising 9.1 percentage points from the previous year.
What does this mean for 2016?
As 2015 comes to a close, I believe we are left with a cautious optimism for 2016. With the Fed raising interest rates in the final weeks of 2015, the District could be in store for buyers who are looking for more based on days of record-low rates. Moreover, a cool-off should be expected.
The landscape of D.C. living continues to spread east from its traditional Northwest center. While prices are still hot near downtown, there is now a clear emergence of new neighborhoods of Southeast such as Congress Heights and Anacostia.
Catch up on Tim’s previous columns:
Tim Savoy can be reached at Timothy.Savoy@cbmove.com.