January 15, 2019 | Josh Sullivan
Market activity for the DC Metro during the month of December was a culmination of everything we had seen in the fall and early winter market; record-high prices, diminishing sales, and low inventory. Median sales price for the Metro area reached $445,000 last month, the highest level seen in over a decade, and an increase of 5.9% over last year. The negative effect of higher prices on buyers is evident based on a decline of almost 10% fewer closings during December YoY.
District proper posted a median sales price of $599,000 for December, an increase of 6% over last year. As expected, though prices rose, sales dropped almost 17% YoY with only 581 closings. The decrease in sales was seen across all property types, with detached single-family homes taking the brunt of it. Detached homes declined 26.4% YoY while townhome and condo sales decreased 17.6% and 11.1% YoY, respectively.
Arlington County, VA
It’s the same story, different month for Arlington County as well, moving in opposition of the greater DC Metro. Arlington County saw median sales price fall 0.4% YoY to $551,000, while home sales improved over 28% YoY. All property types saw closings increase over 20% YoY, with townhome sales improving the most at 45% YoY.
Fairfax County, VA
Back in-line with the greater DC Metro, Fairfax County experienced a gradual increase in median sales price in conjunction with declining sales. Median sales price for December dipped to $498,300 across 1,002 sales for the month. Though there was an uptick in townhome and condo sales from what we’ve seen in the past, detached single-family home sales outweighed the rest, resulting in a net decrease of 2% YoY for closings throughout Fairfax County.
There was been an obvious slowdown in the DC Metro housing market this fall and winter, driven by rising mortgage rates and home prices, along with low inventory. Though rates have stabilized in recent weeks, just a year ago buyers were looking at less than 4% for a standard 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. Experts expect rates to rise in 2019 and plateau around 5% and for home prices to rise, but at a slower pace. An easing in price appreciation and an expected influx of supply for the spring should result in rising sales figures within the DC Metro and relieve some of the tension we are seeing in the market.