Metro DC Housing Analysis Overview 2011 02

Montgomery County Market Suffers in February

March 9, 2010                                                                                    Contact: Rosemary deButts, REALTOR, MIRM

For immediate release                                                                  540/338-2212; rosemary@atokaproperties.com

(Washington, DC) – For unknown reasons, the housing market suffered mightily in Montgomery County last month.  Total sales declined 6 percent from revised January totals to 533 units (the lowest monthly total sales figure since February 2008); the median sales price fell 11 percent to $300,000 (a five-year low); and the average days on market reached 93 days (the highest average since May 2009).  Metro DC sales advanced slightly (3 percent) to 3,162 units across the region.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Only two local associations reported sales declines during February (Montgomery County and Washington, DC) while NVAR led the region with an 11 percent increase compared to January’s revised sales figures.  Loudoun had a 7 percent increase.  Prince George’s County had a 12 percent increase compared to last February.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

For the third consecutive month, the metro DC median sales price declined in February.  The February median was $290,000, down 3 percent from $299,900 in January. The median also posted the first month-over-year decline since October 2009 (-1 percent).  Compare it to the 2010 annual median of $325,000.  On the flip side, Loudoun’s median increased 11 percent to $360,000 but Prince George’s median declined 15 percent compared to its median in February 2010.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

According to Loudoun-based real estate consultant Rosemary deButts, “After sustained month-over-year increases in the median sales price, decreases in the second and third largest sub-markets (Prince George’s and Montgomery counties) were enough to drag the rest of the region down.  By contrast, the Virginia sub-markets and Washington, DC all posted 5 to 6 percent month-over-year median sales price increases last month.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

The average days on market indicator varied significantly across the region last month.  PWAR had the lowest average (59 days) while Montgomery County had the highest.  The region average rose (for the ninth consecutive month) by 2 percent from 80 days in January to 81 days in February, reaching the highest point since June 2009.  Compare February’s 81 days to the 2010 average of 62 days.                                                                                                                                                                      

Following two months of decreases, the average close price to original list price ratio improved to 93.2 percent in February from 92.9 percent in January.  The ratio was 94.5 percent last February and the 2010 average was 94.3 percent.  The lowest ratio, 90.2 percent, was found in Prince George’s County and the highest ratio was in PWAR (95.5 percent).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Single family detached prices declined for the second month in February while attached and condominium prices rose.  The metro DC regional average price was $429,525 for detached homes, the lowest price in the last 13 months.  Detached home prices averaged $648,857 in Washington, DC last month and $208,269 in Prince George’s County, a variance of 211 percent.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

The share of distressed sales (short sales and foreclosures) exceeded 40 percent in February across the region for the first time since February 2010.  The highest concentration of distressed sales was once again in Prince George’s County with 69 percent.  The sub-market with the lowest share of distressed sales was Washington, DC at 23 percent.                                                                                                                                                                                                 

 Rosemary deButts further commented, “February’s statistics were consistent with typical cyclical trends in the metro DC area.  Based on historical precedents, the spring market should begin its yearly ascent in March.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Rosemary deButts is a consultant in the home building industry and a REALTOR® associated with Atoka Properties, a division of Middleburg Real Estate, in Purcellville, Virginia.  She serves as the housing analyst for the Virginia Association of REALTORS®. Rosemary is certified by the National Association of REALTORS® as a Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource.  With a long career in the housing industry, she is also a Member, Institute of Residential Marketing (MIRM), a prestigious new homes marketing designation issued by the National Association of Home Builders.

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