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A combination of more sales and higher transaction prices led the Washington region to an 11.7-percent year-over-year increase in real-estate sales volume for 2020, according to new figures.

A total of $34.6 billion in residential real estate changed hands across the region, with sales up 3.3 percent to 57,266 and median prices up 8.7 percent to an even $500,000, according to figures reported Jan. 12 by MarketStats by ShowingTime, based on listing activity from Bright MLS.

(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.)

“Tight inventory levels will keep buyers locked in a competitive market that will benefit sellers,” a Bright MLS analysis suggested, but added that “the impact of the pandemic and potential economic changes could also  weigh on the market in the new year.”

“2020 overall was a historic year for the real estate industry in the D.C. metro area,” said Brian Donnellan, president and CEO at Bright MLS, pointing to a feeding frenzy that caused prospective buyers to pounce.

As a result, “homes up for sale went under contract in [an average of] just over a week,” Donnellan said.

Sales for the year were up in Alexandria (rising 8.9 percent), Montgomery County (6.1 percent), the District of Columbia (4 percent) and Fairfax County (3.7 percent). Transactions were essentially flat in Arlington (up 0.3 percent) and Prince George’s County (down 1 percent), and saw declines in the cites of Fairfax (2.2 percent) and Falls Church (4.2 percent).

Year-over-year prices were up in every jurisdiction except Falls Church (declining 5.7 percent). The year-over-year increase in median sales price ranged from 4.7 percent in the city of Fairfax to 12.6 percent in Alexandria, including jumps of 8.4 percent in both Arlington and Fairfax counties.

Just taking into account the single-family market, the median sales price regionally rose 10.1 percent to $738,300. The median sales price for attached units, such as townhouses, was up 7.1 percent to $490,300.

The results cap an unusual – to say the least – year in local real estate, one that saw the market start off relatively healthy, then experience significant (though perhaps not dramatic) dropoffs in activity during the heat of the COVID crisis, followed by a staggeringly strong comeback over the summer that lasted through the end of the year.

Indeed, the market ended the year in a prime position, with December sales up 25 percent (to 5,291) compared to a year before and median sales prices up 6.5 percent regionwide.

And the boom doesn’t seem to be abating. Pending sales reported in December were up significantly in nearly every component jurisdiction of the Washington region. Those pending sales usually translate into completed transactions within a month or two.

For more, see the Website at Find full coverage in the Sun Gazette’s Winter Real Estate Guide, coming next week.











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