January 17, 2018 | Josh Sullivan

December marked the 15th consecutive month of median sales price increasing and the 20th consecutive month of inventory decreasing. Although sales price continued to improve, there has been a noticeable lack of demand in recent months, with both new contracts and closed sales decreasing. Buyers have begun to push back against higher prices, and are waiting for inventory levels to rise again.

As you can see, December inventory levels barely surpassed the decade-low in 2012

Washington, DC
The District continued to set itself apart from the rest of the Metro area, with both median sales price and sales volume improving over last year. Sales price increased almost 3% YoY to reach $565,000 for the month. Sales volume in DC jumped 10% YoY with 695 closings, with the strongest growth among detached, single-family sales. 125 detached homes closed in December, while 272 townhomes and 298 condos sold as well, each improving 7.1% and 10.4% YoY, respectively.

Fairfax County, VA
Fairfax County followed the general Metro trend of rising median sales price, while sales volume regressed slightly. 1,024 homes sold in December, down 5.8% from last year, while median sales price improved 5.2% to $494,500. Most of the sales for December were detached, single-family homes with 533 closings, down 4.3% YoY. Townhome sales diminished the most with only 282 closings, a 12% decrease over last December. Condo closings remained virtually unchanged at 209.

Arlington County, VA
December proved to be even more of a challenge for Arlington County – both median sales price and sales volume fell short of last year’s levels. Median sales price for the county dipped only slightly to $553,000, a 2% decrease YoY. The lack of growth can be seen more clearly when looking at sales volume, as only 188 homes sold (-16%). Closings across all property types failed to improve, with townhome sales struggling to most. Only 20 townhomes closed last month, down 31% compared to last December. Detached, single-family homes and condos decreased as well, 14.7% ad 13.3%, respectively.

The lack of inventory in the market is affecting buyers and sellers alike with abnormally low sales volume and minimal price growth. I believe in 2018 we will see these trends revert back to typical market behavior due to an expected influx in inventory for the Spring. A combination of patient homeowners, who have been waiting to list their homes until Spring, and a surge of new construction deliveries will alleviate the constricted supply.

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