With one month to go, the D.C. region’s housing market is about to close out one of its strongest years since the housing boom.
Home sales have been vigorous. Housing prices have moderated since hitting a record high earlier this year. The only drawback marring an otherwise robust year is low inventory. The dearth of homes for sale is frustrating buyers.
Although fewer choices are available than buyers would like, they are still snapping up homes at a high rate. More homes sold in the D.C. area last month than any November in the past seven years, according to data provided by ShowingTime RBI, based on information from MRIS, the region’s multiple-listing service.
The 3,899 sales last month were 16.5 percent higher than November 2015 and beat the five- and 10-year averages for the month. Except for July, sales have increased annually every month this year. Sales are up nearly 7 percent overall compared to this time last year.
Pending sales — homes under contract but the deal had not closed — were down slightly, signaling the market may be slowing. The 4,157 homes under contract last month were 29 fewer than in November 2015.
Prices have essentially been flat in 2016. The median price of a home sold in the region crept up to $407,000 last month, a 0.5 percent increase from November 2015 but the highest it’s been for the month since 2005 when it was $412,000.
The jurisdiction with the most expensive median price last month was the District at $549,000, which is up $1,000 compared with November 2015.
Prince George’s County continues to be one of the more affordable places to buy a home even as its median price grew substantially to $260,000, which is up $21,000 from November 2015.
Frederick (Md.) and Charles counties, as well as Manassas City, also had considerable increases in their median prices. Frederick County’s median price swelled to $293,972 last month from $249,900 in November 2015. Charles County’s median price climbed to $285,000 from $250,000. Manassas City’s median price jumped to $285,000 from $255,000.
Falls Church City and Manassas Park each saw their median prices swing wildly in the other direction. However, their steep drops are based on a limited number of sales, which can skew the data. Falls Church City’s median price plummeted to $548,766 from $736,700. Manassas Park’s median price tumbled to $219,900 from $253,500. Each jurisdiction had 15 or fewer sales last month.
Arlington County and Alexandria saw their median prices decrease dramatically. Arlington’s median price sank to $525,000 from $569,000. Alexandria’s median price slid to $499,000 from $545,000.
Fairfax City’s median price rose to $462,250 from $445,000, while Fairfax County’s median price dropped to $456,328 from $460,000. Montgomery County’s median price slipped to $397,000 from $401,450.
Even though the 4,264 new listings on the market were the most for a November since 2008, the number of homes for sale last month was at its lowest level in three years. The 9,147 active listings were down 14.4 percent compared to November 2015. Townhouse inventory declined 20 percent, single-family home inventory fell 13.6 percent and condo inventory dropped 11.2 percent.
Half the homes in the D.C. area sold in 23 days or fewer last month, two days quicker than November 2015. Fairfax City had the highest median days on market at 32, while Falls Church had the lowest at nine days.