Nancy Itteilag, an agent with Long & Foster Christie’s International Real Estate, said she saw three of her firm’s six luxury home listings in Potomac’s exclusive Avenel community go under contract recently. The fact that this happened during the usually slow winter season shows the extent of the comeback taking place in the luxury market, she said.
The luxury market is “very steady,” Itteilag said, adding that “we had an unusually active November and December 2013.”
Houses in that upper price range have returned to the market, and prospective buyers are more ready and able to snag them.
Overall, sales of homes in the price range of $1 million to $2.5 million jumped 28.8 percent from 2012 to 2013, according to Rockville-based multiple-listing service MRIS. Moreover, MRIS data shows a 17.8 percent increase in cumulative new listings priced between $1 million and $2.5 million in 2013, compared with 2012.
“The main thing is that everyone is just comfortable in the housing market given the consistent gains we’ve seen in the past 24 months,” said Corey Hart, senior product manager at RealEstate Business Intelligence, a subsidiary of MRIS. “Buyers are gaining more confidence in the market and more homes in the luxury segment have more equity in them today.”
Susan O’Connor, an agent with Keller Williams who specializes in luxury homes in McLean, Arlington and Vienna, said she has also noticed a large increase in showings of homes in the upper price range since the beginning of the year.
“For a while, that price point was sluggish, but interest has certainly picked up,” she said.
Nationwide data show that the sales volume of homes sold for $1 million is almost 14 percent higher than a year ago, said Walter Maloney, an economist with the National Association of Realtors. In the Northeast region, the sales volume of such properties is up 23 percent from a year ago.
“It’s robust, with low inventory and high demand. There is tremendous interest at this price point,” said Mark McFadden, an agent with Washington Fine Properties.
Overall, the median sales price in the Washington area is up 20 percent since 2009, according to Hart. The median price in 2013 was $400,000, up from $332,000 in 2009.
“A healthy job market and lower interest rates have helped with that 20 percent gain,” he said.
With the strong performance so far this year, many realty agents are predicting that sales in the high-end market will be especially robust during the crucial spring selling season. Unlike the low supply of houses at the entry level, Hart says the high-end market has been more balanced between buyers and sellers.
“We don’t anticipate that trend changing in 2014,” he said.
While the most expensive home sold in the Washington region in 2013 went for $12 million in McLean, top-of-the-line luxury features — including swimming pools, gourmet kitchens with professional-grade appliances and stellar water views — can be snapped up for $1.5 million.
Potomac, among the most exclusive communities in the region, is home to huge single-family homes surrounded by manicured lawns. An estate at 10020 Chartwell Manor Ct. on a private cul-de-sac and half-acre lot features five bedrooms, five full bathrooms and two half-bathrooms and is listed for $1.588 million.
Christopher Itteilag, an agent with Long & Foster Christie’s International Real Estate and Nancy Itteilag’s son, said that “views from every room of Avenel’s world-class TPC golf course” enhance the appeal.
The traditional single-family colonial was built in 1990 and has nearly 5,000 square feet of living space. Features include a gourmet kitchen, first-floor master suite with doors that open directly onto a patio, a spacious lower-level recreation room and a temperature-controlled wine closet. “This is a very affordable price range for Potomac, which keeps interest high,” said Nancy Itteilag, the listing agent.
A one-of-a-kind custom-built house on a 13-acre site with a dramatic stone wall in the front and pond views from numerous vantage points is listed for $1.5 million in Ellicott City.
Guests entering the house at 3173 Saint Charles Pl. through a three-story rotunda in front will find a floating circular staircase and an indoor pool with a spa. Built in 1983, the house has four bedrooms, seven bathrooms, a four-car garage, multiple balconies and a sky lounge.
In Annapolis, a waterfront home at 1486 Downham Market overlooks Clements Creek off the Severn River. The house, on a cul-de-sac lot, has a deep-water pier, a gazebo in a park-like setting and a 2,500-square-foot deck that is ideal for outdoor entertaining. The 4,800-square-foot house is listed at $1.5 million.
Additional features in the six-bedroom and 41/2-bathroom home include dual fireplaces and ovens, a gas stove with eight burners and a breakfast room with granite counters. “This is one of the most prestigious communities in Annapolis,” said listing agent Janet Hunt, adding that residents have access to a neighborhood pool, tennis courts, a clubhouse and a children’s play area.
Want to be steps from the action in D.C.? How about a sun-drenched three-bedroom, 21/2 bath residence at 625 A St. NE within walking distance of the Capitol? The 1908 Victorian-style home has 3,291 square feet and a spacious kitchen with top-of-the-line, modern stainless-steel appliances, a center island and a built-in wine rack. Additional features include hardwood floors, a full basement and a two-car garage. The asking price is $1.495 million.
The house is in a high-demand neighborhood with trendy restaurants and shops and seasonal farmers markets.
A one-bedroom, two-bathroom penthouse with a den at 2900 K St. NW is listed for $1.395 million, reduced from $1.5 million.
The home, built in 2008, includes such luxury features as wide-plank mahogany floors, a gourmet kitchen with zebrawood cabinetry and an owner’s suite and den that both have marble bathrooms. The den can easily double as a second bedroom if needed.
“The level of finish far exceeds anything else you can find at this price point,” said listing agent McFadden, who added that the home’s location, adjacent to the Georgetown waterfront, and a 24-hour front desk are bonuses.
The 2,000-square-foot penthouse has walls of windows and a 27-square-foot terrace overlooking downtown.
A 1927 colonial at 4437 Klingle St. NW in the Wesley Heights neighborhood is selling for $1.545 million.
The 2,200-square-foot house has four bedrooms, three full bathrooms, two half-bathrooms, a large kitchen, a formal living room and a dining room. It also has a recreation room overlooking the patio and swimming pool. Additional features include a two-car garage and a private garden.
With its covered porch and stone and HardiPlank exterior, a custom Craftsman at 3021 N. Underwood St. in North Arlington has great curb appeal.
The 4,522-square-foot house, built in 2006 which lists for $1.59 million, has five bedrooms and 51/2 bathrooms.
The kitchen is the gathering hub, as it includes walls of white cabinetry, high-end appliances, an oversized center island that doubles as a breakfast bar and French doors that open onto a balcony.
“The design [provides] great use of space and natural light,” said O’Connor, the listing agent with Keller Williams Realty, who added that the home’s design helps facilitate intimacy and conversation.
Other amenities include a slate patio in the fenced yard and easy access to the Metro’s Orange and Blue line trains.
If you’re willing to go farther out, $1.55 million will get you a similar-size house on a larger lot.
A Williamsburg reproduction at 8521 Georgetown Pike in McLean, accessed via an extensive private driveway, sits on more than two acres. The house, built in 1985, is surrounded by mature landscaping.
The five-bedroom, 41/2-bathroom home has hardwood flooring, wood-paneled walls, high beamed ceilings and a brick fireplace in the modern kitchen. Other parts of the house include detailed millwork and moldings and built-in custom cabinetry.
Equestrians will likely be drawn to a 14-acre horse property in Middleburg on Takaro Farm, with its seven-stall state-of-the-art horse barn.
The $1.55 million house at 35650 Welbourne Rd. has been expanded and upgraded over the years. In 1993, a kitchen wing and attached two-car garage with a second-level private suite were added.
From the solarium, guests can directly access a slate terrace that wraps around the outdoor pool. Indoor features include a library, a master bedroom with a fireplace and sitting room, and an office suite with its own kitchen and bathroom.
Carisa Crawford-Chappell is a freelance writer.