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Despite the rising twin headwinds of affordability and inventory, the D.C. region’s homes market continued to show strength in February, with year-over-year sales and prices in positive territory.
A total of 3,952 properties went to closing across the region in February, up 21.8 percent from a year before, according to figures reported March 11 by MarketStats by ShowingTime, based on listing data from Bright MLS. Year-over-year sales were up in every jurisdiction except the relatively small city of Fairfax; the increases ranged from 14.3 percent in Falls Church to a whopping 68 percent in Arlington.
“Leading into the all-important spring real-estate-sales season, February 2021 set the stage for one of the tightest markets we’ve ever seen,” said Brian Donnellan, president and CEO of Bright MLS.
The median sales price of $460,000 was up 3.9 percent from a year before regionwide, with prices higher everywhere except Arlington, which saw a big bump up on condo transactions that held back its median total.
Across the region as a whole:
• The median sales price of single-family homes stood at $635,000, up from $552,000 a year before.
• The median sales price of attached homes, such as townhouses and rowhouses, stood at $512,700, up from $455,000.
• The median sales price of condominiums stood at $315,000 a decline from February 2020 but still the second highest ever recorded for a February in the region.
The rising prices are not being accompanied by similar increases in wages, creating a potential affordability gap in the region (and nationally). At the same time, inventory levels continued to narrow in the region, especially in the single-family market.
Both factors, but particularly the dearth of available properties, may be at play in the overall decline in new pending sales reported in the month, which were down 5 percent overall (although up in Arlington, Alexandria and Falls Church). Without pending sales in the pipeline, the number of completed transactions ultimately will fall.
Additional highlights from the February report:
• A total of 439 properties across the region sold for more than $1 million, a big bump up from the 293 properties changing hands at seven figures in February 2020.
• The townhome market hit an all-time monthly record, with a median sales price $512,700. Arlington’s median townhouse sales price of $875,000 was the second highest recorded in any month in the county. Alexandria was a record high for the month, townhouse-wise.
• Condominium sales for the month were up 73 percent in Arlington and 54 percent in Fairfax County. In Prince George’s County, condo sales tripled from a year ago.
• Homes that went to closing in February garnered an even 100 percent of listing price, unchanged from a year before.
• New listings coming onto the market for the month totaled 5,109, down 6.4 percent from February 2020. Alexandria, Arlington, Falls Church and the District of Columbia, however, saw year-over-year increases.
• It took a median eight days for properties to go from listing to ratified contract around the region, an improvement from 13 days a year before. Montgomery and Prince George’s counties posted a median of seven days, improvements of 15 and 21 days, respectively, from a year ago.
The region’s inventory tightness is likely to continue as spring moves in and prospective buyers begin to feel the need for more frenzied efforts. “Potentially, days on the market across all housing types could fall even lower than current levels,” the Bright MLS analysts noted.
Comparing homes on the market to the most recent monthly sales total, the D.C. region had a 0.91-month supply of properties available – a remarkably low figure. In Februaries of the past decade, the totals had ranged from 1.16 months (February 2020) to 2.95 months (February 2012) Figures represent most, but not all, home sales in the region. All February 2021 figures are preliminary, and are subject to revision.
For more information, see the Website at www.brightmlshomes.com.