Newly released home-sales data from across the Washington region suggest that the market isn’t quite yet back to its normal seasonal ebb and flow, although it is headed in that direction.
Compared to a year before, sales in September were down from what had been a red-hot market that followed the immediate thrust of COVID into the local region earlier that year. But compared to the calm-before-the-storm month of September 2019, sales and prices were up significantly across the region.
A total of 6,352 residential properties went to closing in September, according to figures reported Oct. 12 by MarketStats by ShowingTime, based on listing data from Bright MLS.
That’s a drop of 9.3 percent from September 2020, for reasons noted above, but is an increase of a robust 21 percent compared to September 2019.
Figures represent transactions in the District of Columbia; Fairfax and Arlington counties and the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax and Falls Church in Virginia; and the counties of Montgomery, Prince George’s and Frederick in Maryland. Sales were down from a year before in all jurisdictions except Frederick County and the city of Fairfax; transactions were effectively flat in Prince George’s County.
The median sales price of all properties of all types selling in September stood at $515,000, up 2.4 percent from a year before. “While home prices continue to rise, the pace of price growth has slowed considerably,” analysts noted in the monthly sales report.
Sales were up in most jurisdictions, but saw dropoffs in the District of Columbia and Arlington, which could be due in part to two factors – prices (particularly in the single-family segment) beginning to outpace the ability of buyers to afford them, and a smaller mix of those single-family properties in the overall sales mix.
(While the median price was up just 2.4 percent from a year before, the year-to-date median sales price of $531,000 was up 8.4 percent.)
Despite the slowing market, sellers continue to have the upper hand, as September saw a miniscule 1.27-months’ supply of homes on the market.
Anything under a 3-month supply (something not seen in a September across the region since 2015) is generally viewed as a pro-seller environment.
Where is the market headed? Compared to a year before, pending sales for the month of September were down 2.2 percent across the region (although up significantly in Arlington and showing renewed strength compared to summer months in the District of Columbia.) Those pending sales generally translate into completed transactions within a month or two of posting.
Figures represent most, but not all, homes on the market. All 2021 figures are preliminary and are subject to revision.