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ArlingtonReal EstateArea's housing prices still rising in new data

Area’s housing prices still rising in new data

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Median home prices in the Washington region continued to rise by double-digit figures on a year-over-year basis to close out 2021, but the rate of growth was below the national average, according to new data.

The median sales price of all properties that went to closing in the October-November-December period across the Washington area was $537,400, up 11.1 percent from $483,400 during the same quarter in 2020, according to figures reported by the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

The D.C. area’s fourth-quarter figures were lower than the median reported in the second ($571,500) and third ($548,600) quarters, suggesting a return to more normal seasonality that sees higher prices in spring and summer, lower in fall and winter.

Nationally, a full two-thirds of the 183 markets included in the NAR’s national sales-price data reached double-digit price appreciation in the fourth quarter, although that was lower than the 78 percent in the prior quarter. Nationally, the median single-family existing-home price rose at a slower rate of 14.6 percent year-over-year to $361,700, compared to the year-over-year pace in the previous quarter (15.9%).


While the third quarter of 2021 witnessed all regions achieve double-digit price gains, the fourth quarter saw only the South experience double-digit price appreciation (17.9%), with single-digit price gains in the Northeast (6.8%), Midwest (8.6%) and the West (7.7%).

“Homebuyers in the last quarter saw little relief as home prices continued to climb, albeit not as fast as earlier in the year,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “The increasing prices are indicative of a seller’s market, with an abundance of eager buyers and very limited supply.”

Metros in the Sunbelt and Mountain states topped the list of areas with the highest yearly price gains: Punta Gorda, Fla. (28.7%); Ocala, Fla. (28.2%); Austin-Round Rock, Texas (25.8%); Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz. (25.7%); Sherman-Denison, Texas (25.1%); Tucson, Ariz. (24.9%); Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, Nev. (24.7%); Ogden-Clearfield, Utah (24.7%); Salt Lake City, Utah (24.4%); and Boise City-Nampa, Idaho (24.3%).

The top 10 most expensive markets in the fourth quarter witnessed prices surge, with nine of them doing so by double-digit percentages.

California led the way with five metros in the top 10, along with five other areas, including: San Jose-Sunnyvale-Sta. Clara, Calif. ($1,675,000; 19.6%); San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif. ($1,310,000; 14.9%); Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine, Calif. ($1,150,000; 23%); Urban Honolulu, Hawaii ($1,054,500; 16.8%); San Diego-Carlsbad, Calif. ($845,000; 14.2%); Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif. ($797,900; 15.9%); Boulder, Colo. ($775,100; 17.2%); Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash. ($700,000; 13.9%); Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, Fla. ($685,000; 21.2%); and Nassau County-Suffolk County, N.Y. (644,600; 9%).

“The strength of price gains are associated with the strength of the local job market, but the escalating prices took a toll on home shoppers, compelling many to come up with extra cash, and forcing others to delay making a purchase altogether,” said Yun. “A number of families, especially would-be first-time buyers, are increasingly being forced out of the market, and this is why supply is critical to expanding home-ownership opportunity.”

While mounting housing costs were problematic for the entire year, affordability worsened in the fourth quarter compared to one year ago. Making the marketplace even more of a challenge was the certainty of increasing mortgage rates.

“The good news is that home prices should begin to normalize later in 2022 as more homes come on the market,” said Yun.

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