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Pent-up demand from a spring market lost to COVID-19 and the resulting government-mandated economic shutdown continues to propel the region’s real-estate market, which saw sharp year-over-year increases in sales and an all-time record median sales price in July.

And it appears the sales boom will continue through the summer.

The total number of sales across the Washington region last month was 5,642, the highest for the month since the real-estate boom of more than a decade ago and an increase of 6.8 percent from the 5,282 sales in July 2019.

Sales data were reported by MarketStats by ShowingTime, based on listing activity from Bright MLS, on Aug. 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.)

The strangeness of the year was highlighted in a single fact reported in the data – for the first time on record, July home sales across the region were higher than those recorded the preceding June. In a typical year, July’s sales decline nearly 10 percent from June’s.

Sales prices were up, too, with the median home-sales price in July of $530,000 rising 12.8 percent from $470,000 a year before  and surpassing the previous all-time high of $507,000 set in April.

Median sales prices were up in all three segments:

• The median sales price of single-family homes rose from $592,600 in July 2019 to $657,800 in July 2020.

• The median sales price of townhouses rose from $438,000 to $505,000.

• The media sales price of condominiums rose from $322,900 to $359,000.

Homes garnered a median $276 per square foot in July, up 6.6 percent from $259 a year ago.

Median sales prices for July have risen each year since 2011, and now stand 43 percent higher than a decade ago, when the median sales price was $370,000.

That upward pressure on prices is clear when looking at various price points; in July, virtually every price segment under $500,000 showed declines due to lack of inventory, while price segments above $500,000 showed year-over-year increases.

Year-over-year median sales prices were up in each locality in the ranking, with the rate of growth ranging from 0.9 percent in Falls Church to 14.6 percent in Alexandria.

The period of courtship prior to consummation of transactions was brisk, with a median of just eight days from listing to ratified sales contract. That’s down from a median 11 days a year before. The range among localities in June was seven (Arlington, Alexandria, city of Fairfax) to 12 (Prince George’s County).

The largely positive data should come as no surprise; while portions of the spring home-buying season effectively were wiped out, both buyers and sellers began testing the waters in May and seemed to jump in the following month. The trajectory resulted in the solid July sales figures, and the number of pending sales reported for the month (up 12 percent from a year before) indicates the growth spurt is not abating, at least in the short term.

One factor propping up prices and causing prospective buyers to move quickly is the dearth of inventory. While the number of new listings coming onto the market in July was up 20 percent from a year before, the overall number of listings (5,976) was down nearly 25 percent from July 2019 figures.

While July’s sales figures were strong, the lost-to-COVID spring market means there is still some catching up to do. The total closed sales across the region in the first seven months of the year (29,708) was down 9.4 percent from the same period in 2019, with double-digit declines the norm in Arlington and Fairfax counties and the cities of Alexandria and Falls Church. No jurisdiction across the region posted a higher January-to-June sales total for 2020 compared to 2019.

Figures represent most, but not all, homes on the market. All figures are preliminary, and are subject to revision. For information, see the Website at www.brightmlshomes.com.

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Find full editions of the Sun Gazette, and bonus features, at https://sungazette.news.

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