Washington home market: Buyers are back
The buyers are back in the Washington-area home market, according to a market trends report released Tuesday morning by MRIS (the local multiple listing service) and real estate research firm Delta Associates.
Sales volume and prices rose in the first three months of this year in the D.C-area market, the report said. Sales volume was up 9.2 percent from a year earlier; the average price, at $357,983, was up 4.9 percent.
The strongest price gains occurred in some areas hit hard by the foreclosure crisis: Loudoun and Prince William counties. Compared with a year ago, average prices in Prince William rose 26 percent, while in Loudoun they rose 11.9 percent. However, Prince George's County remains behind the curve: Prices there fell 17.6 percent compared with last year.
Homes are selling faster than a year ago. In the inner suburbs (Fairfax, Montgomery and Prince George's counties) homes stayed on the market an average of 73 days, which is slightly below the area's long-term average of 76 days. In the outer 'burbs, (Loudoun, Prince William and Frederick counties) homes typically stayed on the market 61 days. In the core of the region (the District, Arlington and Alexandria) time on market averaged 77 days.
Throughout the area, there was a 5.7-month supply of housing on the market in March. "In recent years, Washington area average prices tend to rise when the ratio of inventory to sales is below six months' worth," the report said. "Lender constraints may hinder a quick rise in prices, but the gap between supply and demand is closing in the Washington area." Again, Prince George's is the laggard: It has 7.4 months' worth of inventory. Arlington had the least supply, with only 4.4 months' worth.
Condo market: Across the region, new condo prices (taking the value of sales concessions into account) were down 6.4 percent from a year ago. (In Arlington and Alexandria, prices rose 1 percent.) In March there were 5,226 unsold new condo units on the market--the smallest supply since 2003.
Here's where it gets interesting: Developers are offering fewer sales concessions in the 'burbs, but they're offering more in the District. And it's not because there's a boatload of supply in the city, either.
"The actively marketing pipeline has declined to a point in the District that most of the new inventory left is considered 'dogs,' which necessitates steeper concessions in order to sell those units with inferior views or layouts...Before price increases become the norm again, the leftover 'dog' inventory of condos in most submarkets needs to be absorbed and new, more desirable product needs to be introduced to the market. We look for this to be the metro-wide norm by 2011," the report says.
So, if you value drama over dollars, it looks like you need to wait until next year to buy a condo in the District.
April 27, 2010; 8:00 AM ET
Categories: Statistics , The economy , The market
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