The median price of a home sold in the D.C. region soared to an all-time high last month, pricing some buyers out of the housing market even as mortgage rates tumbled to near-record lows.
Home prices in the region typically peak in June, and this year was no exception. Last month’s median price set a record at $446,000, according to data provided by ShowingTime RBI, based on information from MRIS, the region’s multiple-listing service. That’s $6,000 higher than the previous high set in June 2007 and matched in June 2013, and up $7,000 from June 2015.
After months of stagnant prices, June’s 1.6 percent year-over-year increase was the biggest jump since September, when the median price saw a 2.6 percent annual increase. For most of this year, median prices have been flat or lower compared with a year ago. Comparing the first six months of this year with the first six months of 2015, the median price is unchanged at $415,000, despite June’s increase.
Last month, the largest price increases were among single-family homes whose median price rose to $555,000 from $550,000 in June 2015. Prices of attached town homes remained the same as in June 2015 at $415,000, while prices of condos declined to $304,000 from $312,500.
Most but not all jurisdictions saw price increases.
The largest median-price gains came in Maryland’s Prince George’s, Anne Arundel and Frederick counties and Virginia’s Arlington, Prince William and Fairfax counties. Prince George’s County’s median price rose to $260,000 last month from $240,000 in June 2015. Frederick County’s median price jumped to $295,000 from $275,000. Arlington County’s median price rose to $623,500 from $597,450. Anne Arundel County’s median price climbed to $337,000 from $322,000. Prince William County’s median price went to $347,000 from $334,700. Fairfax County’s median price increased to $515,000 from $495,900. Falls Church’s median price spiked to $737,500 from $568,500, but that was based on only 26 sales.
Montgomery County, the District and Loudoun County had more modest increases. Montgomery County’s median price grew to $435,000 from $425,000. The District’s median price went to $560,000 from $550,000. Loudoun County’s median price moved to $445,000 from $441,750.
Fairfax and Alexandria cities and Howard County saw their median prices fall. Fairfax City’s median price dropped to $460,000 from $496,000. Alexandria’s median price fell to $500,400 from $514,750. Howard County’s median price edged down to $419,800 from $420,000. (ShowingTime does not provide data in its report for counties other than the ones noted.)
While rising home prices are a boon to those wanting to sell or refinance their mortgages, they can create a barrier to entry, especially for first-time buyers. Based on Realtor.com’s affordability calculator, someone wanting to buy a home in Alexandria (Zip code 22302), which had a median price of $500,400 last month, would need to make about $122,000 a year, assuming no other monthly debts and a $25,000 down payment. The median yearly income in 2014 for that Zip code was $96,234, according to the Census Bureau.
Rising prices so far haven’t cooled demand. Although area home sales typically slow as a presidential election approaches, sales have been brisk this year. Last month’s 5,938 sales were the highest monthly total since June 2006, a 5.1 percent year-over-year increase from June 2015. Comparing the first six months of this year with last year’s, sales are up nearly 8 percent.
Prince George’s and Montgomery counties saw double-digit percentage increases in sales last month, while Fairfax and Arlington counties had fewer sales than a year ago.
The robust pace is expected to continue into July. Pending sales — those homes that went under contract but the deal had not closed — set a new record for June with 5,979 homes under contract.
For the second month in a row, inventory in the area weakened. Although 7,502 new listings came on the market last month, the total inventory of homes for sale dropped to 11,301, down from 12,341 in June 2015. The District was the only jurisdiction to see the number of homes for sale rise.
Half the homes in the D.C. area sold in two weeks or fewer last month. Prince George’s County had the highest median days on the market, 18, while Falls Church had the lowest at seven days.