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Double-digit year-over-year home sales across the Washington region in October brought the area ever so close to parity with the same period in 2019, while prices continued to climb with no sign of abating.

Having stalled over the spring for somewhat obvious reasons, the summertime real-estate rebound across the region continued into October, with median sales prices hitting an all-time high for the month and year-over-year sales up nearly 25 percent.

The decline in sales from September to October, which tends to run about 6.2 percent in a typical year, actually was an increase in 2020, with a number of records falling across the region.

A total of 5,511 properties in the metro region went to closing last month – up 24.3 percent from a year before – according to figures reported by MarketStats by ShowingTime, based on listing activity from Bright MLS, on Nov. 11.

(Figures represent market activity in the District of Columbia; Arlington and Fairfax counties and the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax and Falls Church in Virginia; and Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in Maryland.)

“October saw the continuation of the strong marketplace that started with the turnaround back in June,” said Brian Donnellan, president and CEO at Bright MLS. “Many homes in the D.C.-metro market sold inside a week and prices experienced double-digit year-over-year increases for the fourth straight month.”

Transactions were up in double digits in every jurisdiction in the reporting area, although most regions saw less of a jump compared to September’s report. (An exception was the city of Fairfax, which posted a modest year-over-year growth rate in September but then burst forth with a 65-percent growth rate in October.)

Among Northern Virginia’s portion of the region, sales were up 34 percent in Alexandria, 26 percent in Arlington, 28 percent in Fairfax County and 20 percent in Falls Church.

The regionwide median sales price of $510,000, though down a smidge from the median price recorded in September, was up 10.9 percent from a year before, the fourth consecutive month with double-digit sales growth. Among highlights: the median sales price of single-family homes in the District of Columbia topped $1 million for the first time, Alexandria set an all-time high and Montgomery County tied records set earlier in the year.

Prices rose in all three segments of the market:

• The median sales price of single-family homes rose from $567,000 in October 2019 to $647,500 in October 2020.

• The median sales price of townhouses rose from $443,000 in October 2019 to $494,500 in October 2020.

• The median sales price of condominiums rose from $330,700 in October 2019 to $346,500 in October 2020.

Over the past decade, the median sales price has grown 70 percent in the single-family market, 54 percent in the townhouse market and 41 percent in the condominium market.

In the early summer, as the region was beginning to wrap its head around the future after being batted around by COVID all spring, owners of high-priced homes in particular seemed skittish about listing their properties, while prospective buyers in those upper echelons of the market also were somewhat on the reluctant side.

But that has dissipated: Across the region, 643 properties changed hands for more than $1 million, compared to 349 a year before – an increase of 84 percent.

And buyers weren’t haggling – for the month, the median sales price represented exactly 100 percent of original listing price, and spent a median of just seven days on the market between listing and ratified sales contract.

The seeming non-stop spiral in home prices has been encouraging property owners to test the market; the number of new listings during October stood at 7,749, up just under 25 percent from a year before and up even from September 2020 (again confounding traditional norms, which see prospective sellers start to hold off until spring by the time October rolls around). New listings were particularly robust in Alexandria (up 63 percent) and Arlington (62 percent), and with the exception of Prince George’s County (up 7 percent) rose by double digits everywhere in the region.

Where is the market headed? Things still look solid, as the number of new pending sales were in positive territory in every jurisdiction except Falls Church (where it was unchanged), while the total number of pending sales (5,819) was running 18 percent above October 2019.

With the solid sales report of October, the question now is whether the market can complete its catch-up of 2019 despite the cratering of the market in the spring due to COVID and the resulting economic shutdown.

Things are looking good in that direction: The total number of sales reported across the region in the January-to-October period stood at 46,697, down just 0.3 percent from a year before. Among major jurisdictions in the region, sales were up in the District of Columbia, Alexandria and Montgomery County, but still down in Arlington and Prince George’s County. Sales in Fairfax County for the period are down just a fraction of a percent – within the margin of error, to borrow a political analogy.

The market has been on a fast track to catching up: In August, the year-to-date sales shortfall had been 6.9 percent, but it was cut to 2.8 percent by September and now is close to parity.

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[Sun Gazette Newspapers provides content to, but otherwise is unaffiliated with, InsideNoVa or Rappahannock Media LLC.]






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