Blame omicron, blame the holidays, blame the arrival of winter, blame a lack of inventory – heck, blame all four if you’d like – but homebuyer interest cratered across the region in December, according to new data.
But in Arlington, things remained, if not red-hot, at least reasonably warm.
The T3 Home Demand Index, created by the Mid-Atlantic multiple-listing service Bright MLS, uses a variety of data points to settle on a monthly score for the Washington region’s overall homes market all the way down to the ZIP-code level.
In new data reported Jan. 11, the regional index figure stood at 67, way down from 97 a month before and off from 90 a year ago.
The decline suggests that many prospective purchasers have found homes during recent months, while others may have decided to hold back for a variety of reasons, from the general seasonality of the market to pricing getting out of hand.
Throw in new COVID fears and add in the disinclination of buyers or sellers to consummate deals over the holidays, and it was a slow month.
The T3 data show a “significant decline in buyer activity compared to the very busy market earlier in the year,” Bright MLS analysts said.
“Prospective buyers are becoming discouraged by a lack of options.”
Buyer interest in the higher-priced single-family and condo markets took some of the biggest hits.
The factors used to compile the scores are activities that occur before the sales process transpires, so unlike monthly sales reports, the figures can be used as a forward-looking indicator. The baseline of 100 was in March 2021 after analysts looked at a year’s worth of data; there is no upper limit to how high a number can be reached.
Among all jurisdictions that make up the ranking, Arlington was the runaway winner with a countywide T3 index of 119 (albeit down from 164 a month before), followed by Alexandria at 111 (down from 149). Both are in the “Moderate” category.
Rounding out in the pack were Prince George’s County (81), Fairfax County (71), the District of Columbia (also 71), Falls Church (66), Montgomery County (61), Loudoun County (53) and Frederick County (45).
Among ZIP codes in the Sun Gazette’s Arlington coverage area, 22206 led the pack with a hot-hot-hot rating of 191, followed by 22213 (157), 22203 (147), 22204 (146), 22201 (145) and 22202 (115). By comparison, the highest rating for a community in the paper’s Fairfax area was in 22181 (areas around Vienna) at 102.