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Murtagh Properties presents
The Evers & Co. Monthly Real Estate Reports
Statistics are taken from the Metropolitan Regional Information Systems for three areas:
Washington, D.C.; Montgomery County, Maryland; and Fairfax County, Arlington and Alexandria in Northern Virginia.

2016 Year End Report –The trend in the Metro area real estate market from the peak of the boom market in 2005 to this past year of 2016, shows a pattern of behavior that was simply never anticipated. When the market crashed in 2007 with an overload of foreclosures, the pundits forecasted a glut of housing on the market that would go on for years and drive prices down nationwide. Instead, the opposite has happened; there is a shortage of houses for sale throughout the country with prices nearly all the way back to what they were in 2005 and in some cases higher!”

Here’s the scoop on our close-in Metro marketplace. The biggest decrease in sales from 2005 to 2016 occurred in Fairfax County, which saw a 31.4% decrease in dollar volume of sales. Next in line, Montgomery County showed a 24% decrease in sales. These two areas also had less than 1% increase in average price since 2005. On the other hand, the District of Columbia showed a 14.5% increase in dollar volume of sales and a 22.3% increase in price.

This is a trend we have been witnessing since the beginning of the recovery: the city is hot and the suburbs are not. Supply is scarce in all the areas, but especially in the city, where there appears to be an endless supply of eager buyers for the short supply of properties that trickle onto the market each month. Will this trend continue? The desire of so many people to live in the District, with all of its amenities, proximity to Metro, entertainment and cultural attractions, and continuing low inventory will very likely keep this trend going for at least the next couple of years.

December 2016 –December area sales numbers were surprising. The DC publication, Urban Turf reported that the December 2016 housing market had the highest recorded median price for the whole year and that “the December price point is 28% higher than the low of $320,000 following the housing crisis in December 2009.”

As for the close-in Metro area, MRIS statistics revealed that the District saw a 4.3 % increase in average price, while Montgomery County had a 4.9% increase and Northern Virginia had a 4% increase. Since average price has been relatively flat all year, this was a significant increase, probably due to the very low supply in inventory which is expected to continue on into the spring and summer of 2017.

November 2016 –This November was an interesting month, with the suburbs finally outperforming the District. Montgomery County had a 9.5% increase in dollar volume of sales, Fairfax County had a 21% increase and Arlington showed a 36.8% increase, while the District only had a 2.6% increase in sales. Part of this is due to the extremely low inventory in the District and part is due to the softer prices in the suburbs. While buyers favor “walkability”, their primary focus is on price. Price reductions and a more sluggish market in some of the outlying areas have made for some very good buys, and purchasers are taking advantage of them.

Meanwhile, Arlington scored high because of walkability and convenience. They have lots of Metro stations, shops and restaurants. These features coupled with proximity to downtown and prices that are still lower than the District make Arlington very desirable.

October 2016 –The close-in Metro area market broke its recent recurring pattern in October. While the District has often led the pack with sales and price increases over the past several months, Montgomery County was the leader this past month with a 13.4% increase in dollar volume of sales over last year, a 5.8 % increase in average price and a 14 % decrease in days on the market. At the same time, sales and price increases in the District and Northern Virginia were moderate.

Buyers should be in the market now, because we anticipate continued rise in interest rates. The bond market has already caused an increase in rates, and the Federal Reserve is signaling that they are ready to promote a rate rise. While buyers are usually focused on the price of each property, the price of borrowed money often has a greater impact on the total cost of their purchase, so this is an excellent time to buy before the anticipated spring rate increase and the more competitive spring market.

September 2016 –In September, the District was strong, showing an 11.4 % increase in dollar volume of sales over last September and the average price also increased by 2.4%. However, Montgomery County saw a 14.1 decrease in dollar volume of sales and close-in Northern Virginia saw a 6.8 increase. Both saw decreases in average price.

It’s no secret why the District has steadily gained popularity. The area continues to nurture its culture with arts, sciences and technology. Back in 2011, Donna Evers, president and broker of Evers & Co. Real Estate, wrote an article for Washington Life Magazine titled “Get Ready, It’s the New Washington” in which she highlighted the evolving landscape.

She says, ”The fact of the matter is that the ‘new’ Washington is here. The District has embraced emerging local talent, employed culture producers and invested in trendsetting neighborhoods. The real estate market has been seeing high demand and low supply for months because we’re in a hot ticket area that will continue to strengthen.”

August 2016 –While the numbers for July were negative across the board, August is a completely different story, with the exception of Alexandria, which was negative in sales and prices. Once again the District had the most positive showing with the dollar volume of sales up 14% over last August and the average price up 11.3%. Both Montgomery and Fairfax counties had a better than 16% increase in dollar volume of sales, although each showed little increase in average sale price.

A strong August usually means good fall sales. In addition, interest rates are very low, and the variety of loan products available means that buying will be much easier this fall season than it was last autumn. However, we still have the problem of low inventory in desirable areas. In fact, the more desirable area, the lower the inventory. When a well-priced, good looking property comes on the market this fall, in a close-in “hot” area in the price range up to one million, you can be pretty sure there will be competitive offers.

July 2016 –In the close-in Metro area marketplace, average prices were 2.7% lower in July than a year ago and that was not too surprising, since average price hasn’t showed much movement all year. However, the dollar volume of sales also decreased 4.7% from last July and this downturn is a change in pattern; except for January, we have seen a steady uptick in dollar volume of sales this year over 2015, with February, April and May hovering around +10% or better.

The District, which has been the leader in our area, showed the biggest drop in dollar volume of sales at -9.3%, which was also surprising. Part of the problem is that inventory is very low and we don’t see any relief in sight, since August is usually a flat month. Any improvement in sales volume will probably occur in September and October, which are our two best fall months.

June 2016 –We are seeing a stronger summer season compared to last year’s numbers, which is encouraging as the Greater Washington Metro area continues to flourish. In June, the District showed a 9.2 percent increase in dollar volume of sales over June 2015, while Montgomery County came in highest in the region, with an increase of 13.6 percent. The average price for both areas also increased with Montgomery County at 3.9 percent over last June and the District with a 3.3 percent increase. This is a strong showing since average price had been relatively flat all year up until now.

Virginia showed no change in dollar volume of sales from last June and their average price was also flat year over year. The District has been the leader in sales volume and average price for several years now, with Montgomery Country coming in second and Northern Virginia usually coming in last, so June’s ranking is not unusual.
May 2016 –The close-in Washington Metro area real estate market showed an 11.2 % increase in dollar volume of sales compared to May 2015, with a 5.4% decrease in days on the market. The District proved to be the top performer, showing a 15% increase in dollar volume of sales, while Montgomery County came in second with an increase of 12.9%.

This data supports the fact that spring sales were strong in many areas of our marketplace, and it is no surprise to those who work in these areas that the National Association of Realtors put out a news release ranking the District among the top ten best purchase markets for millennial buyers. With steady job growth and low mortgage interest rates, they cited Washington, D.C. as one of the country’s metro areas “that offers a smoother path to homeownership”.
April 2016 –The close-in Washington Metro area market showed a 9.5 increase in dollar volume of sales compared to April 2015; Montgomery Country led the way with an 11.4% increase, the District showed a 9.8% increase and Northern Virginia trailed with a 6.9 increase. Despite the fact that the market is short on product, sales have moved up considerably this spring.

With the low inventory, we are still seeing multiple contracts submitted on many properties, from downtown condos in the $300,000’s, to Bethesda and Arlington homes priced over $1 Million. Consumer confidence is strong, mortgage money is varied and plentiful, and buyers’ incomes are still in line with area real estate prices. With no foreseeable changes in the way, this strong market should continue well into the summer months.
March 2016 –The spring real estate season for the close-in Metro area got off to a slow start in March, with mostly negative numbers in dollar volume of sales and average price, with the exception of the District, which showed a strong 17.1% increase in dollar volume of sales as well as a 4.5% increase in average price over last March. While the numbers from February looked like the suburbs were finally getting increasing activity, the District is the overall leader in sales and price this past month.

There are two big reasons for this. First, there’s the desire to be close to public transportation and avoid the increasing gridlock on the area’s roads and highways. Secondly, there is heavy duty buying on the part of millennials in the District. While the Baby Boomers were previously predicted to account for the success of our current market, the millennials are by far outpacing them. And, with strong demand and limited supply in the hot “close-in” areas, the number of multiple contracts for properties is on the rise and will be a factor for the entire spring/early summer season.

February 2016 –The close-in Washington metro real estate market showed a 10 percent increase in average dollar value of sales when comparing to February 2015 data, with a one percent increase of days on the market. The District showed a two percent increase in average price over last February. Yet, the real show-stopper was Montgomery County with a whopping 32 percent increase in average dollar volume of sales.

“It comes as no surprise that the suburbs are catching up again,” said Donna Evers, president and broker of Evers & Co. “Evers & Co. reported on the trend back in summer 2015 and it looks as though it’s going to be another great season for the suburbs.” The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently reported in their Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trend Study that millennials are increasingly buying in suburban areas.

“It’s encouraging to see the suburbs catching up to the District. Areas like Bethesda and Chevy Chase have a lot to offer Millennials that are looking for great investments,” said Donna Evers. “With an abundance of hot neighborhoods and new development listings, the 2016 spring season is looking great, possibly even better than last year.”

Year End 2015 –In the close-in Washington Metro marketplace, the suburbs finally had their spotlight moment in 2015. There was a much-needed bump in dollar volume of sales, with Northern Virginia showing a 9% increase in dollar volume of sales, year-over-year, and Montgomery County showing a 10.5% increase.

While the close-in real estate market has been relatively stable for the past few years, the overall 2015 numbers showed an increase of 8.8% in dollar volume of sales, which was a big improvement over the 1.3% decrease in 2014 over 2013. The average price increased 1.76% in 2015 compared to the 2.8% in 2014. The District, which has been the sales leader in the area for several years, had an increase of only 7% in dollar volume of sales, but this is due in part to the extremely low inventory in the city. Prospects for this year will probably include a continuing shortage of product, modest pressure on price, and stable-to-strong consumer demand.

November 2015 –There is very good news in the November statistics for the close-in Metro area, with a 20% increase in dollar volume of sales, a 7% increase in average price and a 6% reduction on days on the market. We haven’t seen numbers up this high over last year in many months, and it bodes well for the coming spring market.

Once again, the leader in the three jurisdictions we track was the District of Columbia with a 26.5% increase in dollar volume of sales, a 9.8% gain in average price and an 18% reduction in days on the market. With its shortage of inventory and continuing high demand levels, the District continues to have the most successful real estate market in our area.

October 2015 –The close-in Washington real estate market showed a relatively flat month, with 3.6 % decrease in average dollar volume of sales since October 2014 and a 6 % increase in days on the market. While there was an overall 6.2% gain in average price in the District, Fairfax led dollar volume of sales with an 8.5 % increase, which is a continuation of the outlying areas finally catching up in sales.

Overall, a flatter market means that buyers have a better chance to make a good buy in a less competitive situation. This is always the case in the fall months, and buyers who may be less equipped to compete in the highly charged spring market should take the time to shop now, find a good property that meets their needs and…go for it!

September 2015 –The close-in Washington Metro real estate market continued to flourish in September 2015, showing a 21.1% increase in the average dollar volume of sales over September 2014, and the District led with an increase of 25%. While there was an overall 4.5% gain in average price, the District again led these price gains with a 9.1% increase over last September. In short, the District continues to be the big success story in our area.

Since there is more product on the market this fall- even in the District, there should be less pressure on price, so buyers should have a better chance of making a purchase. However, houses that show beautifully and are priced well are still going to get multiple offers, so here is a tip for buyers: if you want to avoid highly competitive situations where you end up spending more than you want, don’t shop at the top of your budget. In that way, you will have room in the competitive bidding process to be successful. Also, if you find a house that needs some updating, you can set aside money for improvements and buy for less in a much less stressful situation.

August 2015 –In August 2015, average sale prices for the close-in Washington metro real estate market increased, showing a 6.5 percent gain while dollar volume of sales also increased by 11 percent. This summer has seen strong sales without any of the typical seasonal lulls for both the District and the outer lying suburban areas.

Fairfax County showed a 10.6 percent increase in dollar volume of sales as well as Montgomery County with a 7.6 percent increase. As the market continues to pick up steam and more properties are becoming available, it’s expected that the momentum will continue through the fall months.

July 2015 –The change we saw in June with dollar volume of sales increasing in the suburbs was even greater in July. Fairfax County showed a 24.8% increase in dollar volume of sales in July, year over year, compared to an 18.3% increase in June. Montgomery County had a 22.3% increase in July compared to its 12% increase in June. The suburbs had been experiencing pretty sluggish sales in the last several months compared to the District, but now they are finally gathering some steam and catching up.

Average price has been relatively static, with the close-in Metro area showing only a 1.8% gain in average price over last July. This is not so bad, since properties are now selling at or above their all-time high in late 2005 and early 2006. Sellers who have been waiting for prices to go up don’t have to wait any longer, and while buyers may still have to compete in the hot neighborhoods, they now have many more good loan alternatives coupled with still very low interest rates, and this should make buying in today’s market easier.

June 2015 –In June 2015, the close-in Metro areas marketplace saw an 11.4% increase in dollar volume of sales, and for the second month in a row, most of it occurred in Fairfax County and Montgomery County. Even though these areas have bigger populations and much more real estate on the market than Washington, DC, they have trailed the District all year, and now they are finally experiencing some catching up.

None of this changes what everyone in real estate knows about this year: no matter where your property is located, price is king, and if you want to get your property sold, price it right. P The second most important thing is to make sure your property looks its best when you put it on the market. The first impression buyers have of price and presentation is by far the most influential.

May 2015 –The dollar volume of sales in the close-in Metro area rose only 3.6% in May and the average price rose only .4%. Taking a closer look, sales were + 6% in Montgomery County and +6.3% in Northern Virginia, but they fell 1.5% in the District. This represents a change in pattern, since the District has been the strongest sales area for the past several months. Now finally, the outlying areas of Fairfax and Montgomery County, which have not been performing as well as the District, are beginning to show more strength.

While average price was up only .4%, this probably does not signal a general slowing in the market, because the close-in neighborhoods are still experiencing strong demand and low supply, and properties that are priced correctly continue to get multiple bids.

April 2015 –The big news for April was the 10% rise in dollar volume of sales in the close-in Metro marketplace, which is encouraging, because we are experiencing a serious shortage of supply versus demand.

A whopping 38% decrease in dollar volume of sales from the peak of the market in 2005 to 2014, has created tremendous pressure on prices and resulted in average price at the end of 2014 to increase 7% higher than at the “price peak” in 2006. This low inventory has created a highly competitive market with multiple bids on many properties, as well as increasing prices. While the pick-up in supply indicated in April could continue, we can still expect the current highly competitive marketplace to prevail in the foreseeable future, and certainly throughout the summer months.

March 2015 –The close-in Washington D.C. Metro area saw a 14.4% increase in dollar volume of sales over March of last year, which is the first big increase in sales in many months. For buyers and sellers, it seems that the spring market has finally begun. The other notable increase was in average price, which has been flat in all areas for months, but showed a 4.7% increase in the District in March. For many reasons the District has been the economic leader in the close-in jurisdictions. Besides being the darling of millennials, Washington D.C. is flourishing with new restaurants- always a sign of prosperity- a good public transportation system, and relative to New York and San Francisco, real estate that is still relatively affordable.

In her recent “State of the District” report, Mayor Muriel E. Bowser stated that the District was the economic engine of the area, and that it would continue to grow, even adding a streetcar system to enhance public transportation, both to the H Street corridor and to Georgetown. We can see the effect of both growth and confidence in the area reflected in the strong sales numbers that the District has shown for the past several years.

February 2015 –The bad weather in February coupled with low inventory had a negative impact on the close-in Metro area marketplace, which showed a 3.3% decline in dollar volume of sales from last February, and a 17% increase in “days on the market”. While the District had a hearty 5% increase in average price and Northern Virginia had a 3.8% increase, Montgomery County showed a minus 5.4% in average price.

Although there are plenty of buyers in the marketplace, the low inventory has created a tough market for buyers who don’t have enough extra money, experience or confidence to drop contingencies and be able to compete with all-cash, contingency-free competitors. As we move into spring, inventory will get better, but so will the number of buyers. In addition, the highest price rise usually occurs between January and June, with greater increases taking place as the weather gets better. The lesson in this for buyers is not to wait, but to buy now if they find a desirable property they can afford.

January 2015 –January numbers this year were much better than January 2014, with the close-in Metro area experiencing a 9% gain in dollar volume of sales and a 4% gain in average price. So, despite the cool 2014 market in Northern Virginia and Montgomery County, the overall January 2014 numbers bode well for the spring real estate market.

Year End 2014 –In 2014, sales in Northern Virginia and Montgomery County trailed behind 2013 sales with a 5% decrease in dollar volume of sales, and a less than 1% increase in average price compared to a 7% increase in average price in 2013. The District of Columbia, which had a 5% gain in sales volume and a 5.5% gain in average price was the only jurisdiction to show significant gains, which kept the performance numbers for the close-in Metro area from dipping below the 2013 levels.

December 2014 –There were significant bright spots in the December report for the close-in Metro area. Montgomery Country and Northern Virginia showed an increase of 13.5% in dollar volume of sales over last December, and the District of Columbia had a big 10.4% increase in price. The fact that these numbers were as high as they were this December is a bullish sign for the coming year. As for the greater Metro area, MRIS reported that prices for the greater Metro area are now within 2% of what they were at the area’s market peak in 2007.

On top of all of this positive news, rates are at one of their lowest points in history. Any buyers who have been hesitating should buy now while rates are low and before the spring rush starts. And, sellers can rest assured that they aren’t “leaving any money on the table” when we are within 2% of our all-time high price level in the Metro area.

November 2014 –As the temperature cools off each year and we move into winter, so does the real estate market. Numbers for November were flat or down, year-over-year, except in the close-in markets. The District of Columbia and Arlington showed the only increase in dollar volume of sales, with the District at a 6.8% rise over November of last year and Arlington at a surprising 18% rise. Meanwhile, while most areas showed a 40% increase in “days on the market”- that is, the amount it time before a new listing goes under contract, the District actually had a 2.5% decrease in the time it takes for properties to sell. In short, the urban “walkable” neighborhoods continue to lead the hit parade in sales, as they have for most of this year.
October 2014 –The biggest news for October was the discrepancy between the sales performance of the District versus Montgomery County and the close-in Northern Virginia suburbs. While Montgomery County had a 1.7 % decrease in sales compared to last October and Northern Virginia experienced a 6.3% decrease, DC showed a whopping 25.5% increase! In addition, the median price was flat for both Montgomery County and Northern Virginia, and the District had a 5.1% increase over last October.

These are significant differences in performance, and it indicates what the real estate agents already know – that the market in the close-in areas is much stronger than in the outlying areas, and DC is once more the star of the show. The District is now considered a top city for attracting millennials, empty nesters and investors, both local and foreign. The beauty of the city’s architecture and streetscapes, the rich cultural offerings and the general walkability of city neighborhoods will probably continue to influence this situation for the foreseeable future.
September 2014 –The market in the close-in Metro area was slightly negative from last year at this time, with -1% in dollar volume of sales and -1% in average price. This means that buyers may actually be able to purchase at the price they were planning and it means that sellers have to be very careful not to overprice their properties.

The hottest areas are the neighborhoods where young people are buying, while the move-up areas in the suburbs have slowed down. Downtown DC and parts of Arlington are going strong, and it seems that all the hype about Washington becoming a “mecca for milennials” is really true. Washington, D.C. is now leading Seattle, Portland and Houston in many polls, due to the increase in social attractions for millennials, such as restaurants, wine bars and coffee houses, as well as the high number of theaters and music venues, the incredible cultural opportunities and free museums, access to Metro, and the large number of “walkable” neighborhoods all over the city. We look for this trend to be on the increase as we go through winter and into the spring of 2015.
August 2014 –In August 2014, the Northern Virginia suburbs fared the best price-wise with a 5.2% increase in price, with the rest of the numbers for August level with last year or slightly below. Since we have been seeing flat numbers for a few months running, it is useful to take a look at the whole year-to-date and see what has transpired.

In the close-in Metro area, Washington, D.C. is the star so far this year, with a 6.3% rise in average price over the first eight months of last year. In addition, while Montgomery County, Fairfax County, Arlington and Alexandria had only 90-95% dollar volume of sales in 2014 compared to 2013, the District of Columbia did 10% better in 2014 over 2013! This may well be due to the city’s growing popularity as a place to live, but it is also a reflection of homebuyers’ increasing concerns about having to spend too much time driving to work, schools and stores, so that Metro access and walkability have become a top goal for buyers.
July 2014 –Prospective D.C. home buyers will see less competition in the real estate market this August, since many competitive buyers are enjoying the final weeks of summer out of town.

The July 2014 real estate statistics show that the close-in Metro area experienced a 9% increase in dollar volume of sales over July 2013, a 2% increase in average price and a 16% increase in days on the market, all of which is consistent with a slight decline in the competitiveness of this high-demand market. This means buyers have a rare opportunity to place a bid on a home with much less competition. Buyers should take advantage of this golden opportunity in next few weeks before the market resumes in the fall. In addition, mortgage rates are still low and there is a greater variety of loans available, which is added good news for buyers.
June 2014 –The statistics for June look a lot like May 2014, with numbers down in close-in Northern Virginia and in Montgomery County, but with the District of Columbia once again gaining in both dollar volume of sales and price. The dollar volume of sales was up 13% over last June, and the average price was up 6% in DC. One of the reasons is that the District offers “walkability”, and since gridlock has become a major issue for our Metro area, getting around easily and being able to walk to Metro, stores, work and entertainment is very desirable for people buying homes in our area. In addition, the Metro area is a good job market, and the young people filling these jobs are particularly interested in an urban lifestyle.

Because of the resilience, success and stability of Washington, D.C. foreign investment will probably increase and we will be tracking what we believe will be increasing interest, especially from the two biggest foreign investors in U.S. real estate, Canada and China.
May 2014 –When we compare home sales in the close-in Metro area from May of 2013 to May of 2014, the District of Columbia was the bright light of the area. Numbers were generally flat in close-in Maryland and Virginia compared to a year ago, but the District showed a 13 % increase in dollar volume of sales and a very big 9.7 % increase in price.

The popularity of DC has a lot to do with the increasing population of young buyers with good jobs who want to live downtown where they can walk or Metro to work and have easy access to cultural attractions, restaurants and night life. And, as downtown Washington continues to blossom, we can expect prices to go up faster there than in the suburbs, with the close-in neighborhoods seeing more gains than the outlying areas.

April 2014 –While the average dollar volume of sales was flat overall in the close-in Metro area for the first time in several months, the District showed a nearly 10% year-over-year rise in sales. The District also showed a big 12.4 % increase in average price, compared to the 4.75% increase in Montgomery County and the less than 1% increase in close-in Northern Virginia, which further underscores the fact that the close-in areas are doing better than the outlying areas. And, in our Metro area, as in the entire country, there is a genuine shortage of product, with not enough properties on the market to satisfy demand.

This month’s news for sellers is that it’s time to sell; sales prices are within a few percentage points of what they were at the peak of the market in 2005, and there are plenty of buyers out there waiting for homes to come on the market. As for buyers, they should arm themselves with a good agent and lender, in order to know what property values are and what they can afford, so that they can make a smart purchase in this product-short marketplace.
March 2014 –The bad weather has taken a toll on the real estate market in the close-in Metro area, with March sales being a minus 8.8% from the previous March, the first time in well over a year that we’ve seen a reduction in sales volume from the same month the previous year. In addition, the average price showed less than 1% increase over March 2013. At the same time, almost half of the sales this month in all price ranges at our firm were competitive, so these numbers indicate strong purchase demand, but an unprecedented lack of product to sell the multitude of buyers.

Our advice to sellers is to make the move that they have been deferring, since prices are near what they were at the peak of the market in 2005. Buyers, on the other hand, should consider choosing houses that don’t show well and need updating, because the acquisition price plus improvements will probably be less than the final price of the perfectly staged house that other buyers will be bidding on. This requires extra time and effort, but it’s a good way to make a smart investment in a very competitive marketplace.
February 2014 –The February 2014 sales numbers were lower than we might have expected at the end of last year, but not surprising in view of the bad weather we’ve had so far this year. Dollar volume of sales was up only 6.6% from the previous year, but prices were up 10.5 % over last February, due to exceptionally low inventory and high demand.

Because bad weather slowed down the market, there will very likely be compression during the rest of the spring, with tremendous activity in the second half of March, April, May, June and probably even July. Buyer demand is strong and the inventory is still relatively low, so pressure on prices will very likely result in an annual price increase closer to 10% in 2014 over 2013, instead of the 5.6% we saw from 2012 to 2013. In short, it will be a “wild ride” for agents and buyers. Sellers need to understand that they still cannot overprice their properties, since the asking price for a property remains the most important single element that buyers consider.
End-of-Year 2013 –The end-of-year numbers were impressive and showed a dramatic improvement in the close-in Metro area marketplace. The average price in this area is now within 5% of what it was at the peak of the last boom year in 2005, and dollar volume of sales is within 16% of the peak of the market.

While we are experiencing a strong sellers’ market with high demand and limited inventory, buyers should know that most of the price increases take place between January and June, so it is better to make the purchase as early in the spring as possible. Although buyers can expect stiff competition because of the low inventory, they should meet with their real estate agent and lender now in order to be better prepared to make a strong offer when they find the property they want to buy. Sellers can do very well in this market if they take the time and care to make their properties look good, and price according the latest comparable area sales.
December 2013 –When we look at the December 2013 numbers and compare them to the previous December, we come up with a report which is very much like what we have been seeing each month of this year. But when we look at the whole year as compared with 2012, we can see a more dramatic change, with prices going up 10.4% and dollar volume of sales up 20% over 2012. To illustrate the point, if you bought a property in January 2013 for $650,000, that same property in December 2013 would cost you $717,600.

All market conditions point to a strong market again this year, with the same or even higher increases in prices, due to greater buyer demand and relatively low inventory. And, because price increases occur mainly in the first half of the year, if you purchase property in January of this year you will probably get a much better buy than you will in June.
November 2013 –It looks like the October federal government furloughs had a negative effect on the November dollar volume of sales, which went down for the first time in well over a year. While October sales were up 28.4%, November was down 7.7%, and this was probably due to complications resulting from sales that were pending and not able to close because of the sequester and furloughs.

However, this was a brief interruption and didn’t seem to have a big impact of overall consumer confidence. With the existing shortage of listings, we can expect to see continued upward pressure on price. In the close-in Metro marketplace, the average price in November was up 6.75%, and days on the market were down 24% from last year at this time.
October 2013 –The market this fall continues to be strong, and at the end of 10 months, the dollar volume of sales was as high as it was for all of 2012. With that said, sales volume is still only at 60% of what it was the peak of the market in 2005. Despite predictions to the contrary, the recent government furlough didn’t have a significant effect on the area marketplace, probably because it didn’t last very long.

The good news for sellers is that the continuing shortage has pushed prices up and they are now within 96% of what they were at the peak of the market. The combination of buyer enthusiasm and shortage of product may encourage more sellers to enter the market and eventually help to end the shortage of product which has been a dominant feature in the market for the past three years. However, the present balance of more buyers than sellers in the close-in Metro area marketplace will certainly continue through the winter and into the spring.

September 2013 –Our steadily improving market was once again reflected in the September 2013 numbers, which showed a 7% increase in dollar volume of sales and a 31% decrease in days on the market. The 9% increase in average price was surprisingly high for September and supports our earlier prediction that we would have an unusually strong fall market this year, because of the continuing low inventory and increasing buyer demand.

Even though inventory is tight, buyers should know that if they can find a property they want to purchase, buying now will be cheaper than waiting for spring, when prices are sure to be higher if we continue the current upward trend. Equally as important, the cost of mortgage money will be higher because of the anticipated increase in interest rates. For those two reasons, buying now would be a smart course of action.

Sellers will do well, now and in the spring, to price their properties according to the most recent similar “sold” properties, which will put them is a position to get the strongest response from buyers.
August 2013 –The August numbers support a strengthening market with dollar volume of sales up 26%, prices up 6.4%, and days on the market down 33% compared to last August.

Consumer confidence continues to grow, and with more buyers and the relatively low number of listings, prices are on the rise. As it is, we live in one of the most expensive Metro areas in the country; the median price of single family homes nationwide is $214,000 and in our area it is $600,000! Nevertheless, there are many buyers for this expensive real estate and we are used to having competing bids on well-priced homes, sometimes even for those priced at $1,000,000 and above.

Even with the new homes that are currently being built, we still expect a shortage of product for the rest of this year and next spring. And, if interest rates stay in the ranges where they have been for the past four years, we can fully expect this robust market to continue.

 

July 2013 –The numbers for July were as strong as June in the close-in Metro area, with a big 32% increase in dollar volume of sales over July of last year, a 7.6% increase in average price and a 40% decline in days on the market, showing that properties continue to sell much faster than last year.

The same factors that have driven the market all year are still in place, with increasing buyer demand and a shortage of product which puts upward pressure on prices. However, July is usually a much slower month than June, so the fact that the two months are on a par shows the increasing strength of this robust real estate market.

 

June 2013 –We experienced the highest year-over-year rise in average price so far this year in the month of June, with a 9.2% increase over last year at this time. In addition, days-on-the market were down a whole 41% from last June. The dollar volume of sales was up an encouraging 24%, which should help boost sales, since the shortage of listings has hampered sales in general. Buyer demand is still strong despite the recent rise in interest rates, and we are finally seeing more product in all price ranges on the market.

We are still looking at the same factors for success: properties that are priced correctly and show well are selling quickly, and often, with multiple bids. Unless mortgage interest rates continue to rise this fall, we expect this market to continue right through to next spring.
May 2013 –The May housing market saw steady growth and continuing strength in the close-in Metro area during this traditionally busy month. Dollar volume of sales was up 23.8% over last May, the average sales price was up 4.8%, and the number of days on the market was down 28.6 %.

With very low inventory and increasing buyer demand, housing prices continue to rise each month. The “shadow inventory” of distressed and foreclosed properties that many forecasters predicted would hit the market last year and this year never occurred, and it will take some time for new construction to feed more product into the marketplace. If interest rates remain relatively low, we can expect these current market conditions to continue for the foreseeable future.

April 2013 –The real estate market in the close-in Metro area continues to move at a robust pace with dollar volume of sales up 21% over last April and average sales price up 6%. The number of days on the market was down a significant 35% compared to last April as more buyers enter this very competitive DC area marketplace.

The biggest news to come out this month in the greater Metro market is the incredibly low 1.9 months supply of inventory! To get some perspective, a 6-month supply is considered normal in many parts of the country. This acute shortage is likely to continue throughout 2013, because even though more sellers are entering the market, they are greatly outnumbered by enthusiastic buyers, who have renewed confidence in the housing market and who want to take advantage of the record low interest rates and the variety of favorable mortgages available.

March 2013 –The big news for March in the close-in Metro marketplace was the surge in dollar volume of sales to 21% over March 2012, and 46% over what it was last month! This is good news because we have been experiencing a great increase in buyer demand and not nearly enough supply to satisfy that demand. The reality of a strong real estate market has finally influenced homeowners to make their move now, and renovators and builders who have recently re-entered the market will soon be adding to the supply of homes for sale.

The other encouraging data that will spur would-be sellers to act is this past month’s 8.5% rise in price over last March. However, even with the increase in listings and sales, the inventory has been so historically low that we will still be experiencing a relatively tight supply for the next several months.

February 2013 –The numbers from February for the close-in Metro area marketplace were identical to January 2013, with the dollar volume of sales up 9.7%, the average price up 5% and the days on the market down 22%. Although we are seeing an increase in sales, the inventory is still much lower than demand, so what has become a seller’s market will continue throughout the spring.

Buyers have to think competitively, and they should know that it is probably better to buy now than to wait until June. If sellers price their properties correctly, they will sell quickly, and they can expect to see multiple bids on well-priced properties between $300,000 and $800,000 in the hot “walkable” neighborhoods. So, we are on course for a busy spring market with low supply, increasing demand and rising prices.

January 2013 –The data from January 2013 indicates that the spring market is already in full swing. The dollar volume of sales for the close-in Metro area is up 9.74% over last January, and the average price is up 5% from last year at this time. The days-on-the-market is down 21.77% from last January.

This means that more property is selling faster and at higher prices than last January, which is no surprise to real estate agents who are currently working with buyers and sellers. Increasingly, buyers are faced with a highly competitive marketplace, where reasonably-priced properties have more than one bidder. And, sellers are in a position to be selective and require higher prices and cleaner contracts with fewer contingencies.

As we mentioned last month, with the combination of the current low inventory and strong buyer demand due to historic low interest rates and increasing consumer confidence, the spring market will continue to grow in favor of sellers.

December 2012 –December numbers were strong, with dollar volume of sales 15.6% higher and average price 12% higher than December 2011. Tracking the market from it’s highest point in 2005 to its low point in 2008 and then comparing it to 2012, we can see that prices in the close-in Metro market are within 3% of what they were at the peak of the market, but dollar volume of sales, which fell in 2008 to 55% of the market’s peak, is still only 61% of the volume reached in 2005.

The combination of low supply, high demand and record-low mortgage interest rates have made prices climb rapidly in the past few years. This means that the spring market will be very competitive for buyers, and many listings will draw multiple offers. This year we can expect to see a noticeable rise in prices even between January and June, so buyers will do well to get into this market as early in the spring as possible. Sellers will do best by preparing their properties to show well and pricing them competitively.

November 2012 –The most newsworthy feature about the market in the close-in Washington Metro area is the big shortage in inventory. We haven’t had this little inventory since the peak of the market in 2005, when everything was being snapped up as soon as it hit the market.

The current shortage is because we have had almost no new construction for the past seven years and up until this year, many people were staying in place rather than moving. But, this past month alone we saw a 21% increase in dollar volume of sales over last November and a 5.5% increase in average price. More properties are coming on the market and when they do, they are selling. Low inventory always puts pressure on price, and we are seeing prices steadily rising.

Advice to buyers: now is the time to buy, before prices go up significantly and while we still have interest rates below 4%. Advice to sellers: You may be pleasantly surprised as to what you can get for your property. Buyers and sellers, call your favorite real estate agent today. Now is the time to make a move.

October 2012 –The Washington Metro area marketplace remains strong this fall, with a 28% increase in dollar volume of sales over October 2011. The area market also saw a 6% increase in the average home price and the average “days on the market” dropped by 30% compared to last October. This is a clean sweep of good numbers for the three major indictors we watch and report on each month.

Consumer confidence is also much stronger, evidenced by a genuine surge in the number of builders and renovators searching for lots and houses to renovate. The search for lots and tear-downs is running strong in both Montgomery County and Fairfax County, and contractors are combing through D.C. neighborhoods to find viable projects where they can buy townhouses to renovate and sell, or buy small rental buildings to renovate and convert to condominiums. This aspect of the market is expected to grow as we move into spring 2013.

September 2012 –We are looking at a continuation of a genuine recovery, with some of the strongest numbers we’ve seen all year, led by a 14% increase in dollar volume of sales over September 2011, in the close-in Metro area. Average price was up a full 5% and days on the market down 18.5%. Contrary to earlier fears about a shadow inventory as a result of foreclosures emerging and slowing the market, the Washington Metro marketplace continues to see just the opposite- low inventory which is pushing prices up.

Across the country, the shadow inventory dropped 10% in July 2012, compared to July 2011. For the 11th month in a row, Fannie Mae surveys show that Americans are positive about the housing market and expect prices to go up.

 

AUGUST 2012 – The market in the close-in Metro market stayed strong through out the summer, with August home sales up 6.4% and days on the market down 20%, compared to the same time last year. While August sales contracts rose to their highest levels in three years, they were still down 57% from the peak of the housing market in 2005, which underlines the current market’s very low inventory of listings. This tremendous shortage of inventory pushes prices upward and creates an increasingly competitive market with many instances of multiple bids, especially for the properties between $300,000 and $900,000 that show well and are correctly priced.

 

Buyers are entering the market in ever-increasing numbers, spurred on by record low mortgage interest rates. Since most home purchases are made with at least 80% of borrowed funds, the cost of money greatly impacts the total cost of the purchase. These trends of low inventory, increasing buyer demand, rising prices and low interest rates are likely to continue through the fall season.

 

July 2012 – The housing market throughout the country is in recovery, with the close-in Washington Metro area marketplace leading the most successful metropolitan markets with a 7.4% increase in dollar volume of sales over last July and a 20% decrease in days on the market.

While prices didn’t go up much in July, they had risen in the greater Metro area this spring to within 80% of the peak bubble prices. There is a continuing shortage of product, since very few new homes were built over the past six years and some sellers are still keeping their homes off the market, waiting for prices to get closer to what they were in 2005. This is creating situations with multiple bids on popular properties. With limited product, an expanding local labor market, high prices on rentals and record low interest rates, we can expect that this Washington area marketplace will only continue to improve.

 

June 2012 – The close-in Metro market is continuing to trend upward, with a 5% increase in dollar volume of sales over June of last year, prices up 1%, and days on the market down 3%. With record low interest rates and national statistics showing a continuing improvement in the housing market, buyer confidence is back, especially in our Metro area which is one of the strongest real estate markets in the country.

 

Low inventory, due to very limited new construction and reluctance of potential sellers to put their property on the market, is creating an increasingly competitive market for buyers, resulting in multiple offers for properties that are well priced, show well and are located in the popular areas of NW Washington, Arlington and close-in Montgomery County.

 

These trends are expected to continue through the summer and fall, and an increase in inventory would be positive for the market given the number of interested buyers in the D.C. Metro area and the enthusiasm in the marketplace.

 

May 2012 – The May market in the close-in Metro area was strong, with the edge on market control continuing to shift from buyers to sellers. The area averages showed an impressive 25% increase in dollar volume of sales, a 7.5% increase in average price and a 22-day reduction in “Days on the Market.” The biggest increase in price occurred in the District with a 13.8% rise in average price over May of 2011.

 

The market across the country continues to improve according to the National Association of Realtors, with the most current nationwide statistics showing that home sales rose 10% from April 2011 to April 2012. The greater Washington Metro area is one of the most successful markets in the country, and prices here are continuing to rise because of the shortage in product and ever-increasing buyer demand.

 

April 2012 – The brisk spring market heated up in April in the close-in Metro area. The dollar volume of sales increased 13% over the previous year, and the average price went up 5% over April 2011. The area showing the biggest increase was Arlington with a huge 38% increase in dollar volume of sales and an 18% increase in price over the previous year.

 

Of the hot real estate market areas, Arlington offers many walkable neighborhoods with good Metro access, at slightly lower prices (for now) than NW Washington and lower Montgomery County. It also has many neighborhoods with smaller houses that serve as perfect first time homes for young people moving up from their first condo or rental apartment.

 

Numbers show most of the greater Metro-area marketplace doing better than last year, and with the existing strong momentum, this should continue into summer.