Sales Slump; Median Sales Prices Hang On
September 8, 2011
(Washington, DC) – So far this year, sales volume in the metropolitan Washington, DC existing home market is outperforming 2008, when the home sales bottomed out in this region, but cannot seem to build a head of steam. The region consists of Loudoun, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties; the cities of Manassas, Manassas Park, and Prince William County (PWAR); Arlington and Fairfax counties, the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, and Falls Church (NVAR); and the District of Columbia. The table below lists the January through August sales volume for each area for every year since 2006. Sales in the entire region are about 9 percent behind 2010 (recall though that the market was artificially stimulated during the first half of 2010 by the First Time Buyers Credit) but roughly 3 percent higher than at the end of August 2008.
Since 2006, sales volume in Loudoun County and NVAR have consistently declined, falling in 2011 by 21 percent and 22 percent respectively behind the January through August volume in 2006. The highest monthly volume is typically found in NVAR and Montgomery County; these two areas account for 51 percent of the region’s total sales volume in 2011. Both have seen volume declines in the last two years, strongly affecting the region totals.
The District and Virginia suburbs seem to be faring better than the Maryland suburbs. Montgomery County’s January through August sales volume is off by 31 percent compared to 2006 and in Prince George’s County, sales volume has declined 37 percent. The District has the best record with a decline compared to 2006 of only 17 percent. The Virginia suburbs’ declines range from 21 percent in Loudoun County compared to sales in 2006 and 27 percent in PWAR.
With the exception of Prince George’s County, the 2011 January through August median sales price beats both the 2009 and 2010 medians at the same time of year everywhere else in the region. The regional median of $330,000 is $85,000 less than it was at the end of August in 2006 but $20,000 higher than it was two years ago. The largest percentage increase since last year has been in Loudoun where the year-to-date median is now $380,000. NVAR leads the region with a median of $418,000 followed in second place by the District with a 2011 median of $399,900.
It takes longer to sell existing homes this year compared to last throughout the region. Last year the average days on market was 62 days in metro DC; this year the average is 71 days. The largest leap was in PWAR where an extra two weeks was added to the expected time to sell this year. It is interesting that even with the big jump, PWAR still has the lowest average in the region. Prince George’s County’s average exceeded 100 days four of the last eight months resulting in the highest average in the region.
The share of distressed sales so far this year has declined in every area except in Prince George’s County where 63 percent of 2011 sales were either short sales or bank owned properties. The lowest share is found in the District (14 percent) and it is below 30 percent in Loudoun, Montgomery and NVAR.
Given the disappointing sales in metro DC this year, it is encouraging to see that the monthly sales volume actually increased in August compared to July (albeit by only four units). With the exception of Loudoun, the component areas followed the usual trend – steady monthly sales volume declines through February of the following year. Since sales volume was alarmingly low in the second half of 2010 (following the expiration of the First Time Buyers Credit June 30th), it would be nice to see month-over-year increases through the end of 2011. The District and the northern Virginia suburbs did their part but August sales in Montgomery and Prince George’s fell behind August 2010 totals (-5 and -12 percent respectively).
For more detail, please see Metro DC EH Analysis 2011 08.
It Takes Longer to Sell Homes in 2011 Throughout the Metro DC Region
The graph below compares the 2010 average days on market for the metro DC region and its component jurisdictions to the year-to-date average through July in 2011.
In every case, the 2011 average days on market has increased compared to last year:
- Metro DC + 16.9%
- Loudoun + 25.3%
- Montgomery + 17.4%
- NVAR + 17.1%
- Prince George’s + 8.1%
- PWAR + 34.0%
- District of Columbia + 10.4%
PWAR (Prince William County and the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park) has the lowest 2011 average in the region at only 54 days. However, it has also seen the largest increase from 2010 (40 days, +34 percent). Prince George’s County had the smallest jump compared to last year and it’s the only area with less than a 10 percent increase. However, its 2011 year-to-date average days on market far outpaces the average in other areas in metro DC (81 percent higher than PWAR).
Prince George’s County Continues to Struggle
August 9, 2011
(Washington, DC) – Prince George’s County is one of the components of the Metropolitan Washington, DC region (which also includes Montgomery County in Maryland, Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William counties in Virginia and the cities of Alexandria, Falls Church, Fairfax, Manassas and Manassas Park in Virginia and Washington, DC). Since 2006, Prince George’s has generated 14 percent of the region’s total existing home sales volume. Even though it has always been known as an affordable alternative to the more costly DC suburbs, Prince George’s County is an anomaly in this region; its housing market is in a steep and steady decline.
Consider the fact that the entire metro DC region has suffered a 21 percent decline in its year-to-date median sales price (January through July each year) since 2006. Bad enough, to be sure, but the comparable decline in Prince George’s County is a whopping 50 percent and still falling. While the year-to-date median sales price has seen modest increases throughout the metro area in 2010 and 2011, Prince George’s County has had six consecutive years of median price decreases.
Metro DC Jan-Jul 2006 MSP = $415,000; Metro DC Jan-Jul 2011 MSP = $330,000
PGC Jan-Jul 2006 MSP = $320,000; PGC Jan-Jul 2011 MSP = $160,000
So far this year, the median sales price in Prince George’s County has declined 7 percent whereas the median has increased 18 percent for the entire region and while the metro area had three decreases in the last seven months, Prince George’s has had five.
Metro DC Jan 2011 MSP = $299,900; Jul 2011 = $355,000
PGC Jan 2011 MSP = $171,900; Jul 2011 = $160,000
Compare the July average days on market in the metro DC area of 64 days to the comparable average in Prince George’s County – 104 days. The average across the region declined 19 percent from January to July 2011 while it increased 17 percent in Prince George’s County.
Metro DC Avg Days on Market Jan 2011 = 79 days; Jul 2011 = 64 days
PGC Avg Days on Market Jan 2011 = 89 days; July 2011 = 104 days
Metro DC YTD Avg Days on Market 2011 = 72 days
PGC YTD Avg Days on Market 2011 = 98 days
The year-to-date average close price to original list price ratio in the metro DC area was 94.2 percent (as of July 31st) with five consecutive months above 94 percent. In Prince George’s County, the year-to-date average is 89.3 percent and it’s had five consecutive months below 90 percent.
Another troubling aspect of the Prince George’s County market is its share of distressed sales (short sales and bank-owned properties). The ratio is trending down but it is still strikingly high. Roughly 23 percent of metro DC’s sales in July 2011 were distressed. About 57 percent of Prince George’s sales were distressed in July. Through the end of July, the 2011 average share of distressed sales in the metro area was 32 percent; it was 64 percent in Prince George’s County. Further, for the last two consecutive months the metro DC share was less than 25 percent; it was above 55 percent in Prince George’s County since May 2010.
By contrast, the other component jurisdictions and realtor associations in the metro DC area have all seen year-to-date median sales price increases in 2011 compared to 2010; the 2011 average days on market is below 80 days elsewhere in the region; the 2011 average close price to original list price ratio exceeds 93 percent everywhere but Prince George’s County; and the 2011 average share of distressed sales exclusive of Prince George’s ranges from 15 percent in the District of Columbia to 43 percent in the Prince William realtor association (PWAR).
For more detail, please see Metro Dc Housing Analysis 2011 07
YTD 2011: Lowest Total Sales Since 2008
June 7, 2011
Contact: Rosemary deButts, REALTOR, MIRM
For immediate release
(Washington, DC) – In the first five months of 2006, total sales in the metropolitan Washington, DC area amounted to 29,312 units. Like the rest of the country, the housing downturn cut sales activity in 2007 and hit the metropolitan Washington, DC market especially hard in 2008 when the total number of existing home sales from January through May only totaled 18,656 units (-36 percent vs. 2006). In 2009 and 2010, metro DC sales advanced from the 2008 low naturally and as a result of the government’s First Time Buyer’s Credit program. But through May 31, 2011, only 20,387 units have sold in the region this year reflecting a 13 percent decline from the same time period in 2010 and a 2 percent decline from January through May 2009. The graph below shows monthly sales activity for the first five months of each year since 2006 here in Washington, DC.
Monthly Sales: Jan-May 2006/2011
The graph also indicates that total unit sales in 2011 reached the lowest point for May over the last six years (4,838 units; +5 percent vs. April but -20 percent vs. May 2010). The First Time Buyer’s Credit program was in full swing last year at this time explaining why the 2011 sales
figure was lower than in 2010. However, sales were expected to outpace 2008 and 2009, at least. It is disheartening that the sales volume in May wasn’t more robust. Following the normal bell curve characteristic of this cyclical industry, sales volume in June will represent the monthly sales peak in 2011. From June to December, sales typically decline on a monthly basis meaning that without a very strong June, sales in 2011 are likely to register below corresponding 2008 levels – below the lowest point of the recession.
Typically, the market is considered to be in equilibrium (there is enough supply to satisfy demand) when the available inventory is between four and five months in this market. The month’s supply of inventory remained unchanged in May at 3.7 months and has not met or exceeded
four months since February. Low inventory is therefore a contributor to stubbornly slow sales.
Sales increased on a month-over-month basis in all local Realtor Associations with the exception of Loudoun and Prince George’s County (-3 and -2 percent vs. April respectively). NVAR saw a 12 percent gain and Washington, DC had an increase of 10 percent compared to
April. All Associations had sales decreases compared to last May though, ranging from -14 percent in Washington, DC to -28 percent in PWAR.
According to Loudoun-based real estate consultant Rosemary deButts, “Existing home sales in the region are struggling this year as are other indicators in the market. For example, median sales prices have not reached corresponding 2010 levels since January.”
The median sales price increased for the second consecutive month across the region in May to reach $311,000, reflecting a 5 percent gain over the revised April median. However, the median in May 2010 was $327,000 (+5 percent vs. May 2011). Washington, DC’s median reached $425,000 in May, up 10 percent from April and + 11 percent from last May. The median in Prince George’s County remained flat at $165,000 but that was a 16 percent decline from May 2010.
On a positive note, the days on market indicator took a dive from 75 days in April to 65 days in May. While this was good news, at 65 days it was still 29 percent higher than the average of 51 days last May. Prince George’s County posted another 100+ average; the May average days on market there was 103 days (down from 108 in April). The homes in PWAR and NVAR sold at the fastest pace in May; 52 and 53 days on average respectively.
With the exception of Montgomery County, all area Associations’ close price to original list price ratio improved in May. The high was 97.2 percent in Washington, DC and the low was 88.4 percent in Prince George’s County. The average across the entire region was 95.2 percent, up from 94.5 in April but down from 95.8 last May.
Average close prices for detached homes advanced to the highest level in the last five months ($494,461); average townhome prices reached the highest point since last July at $348,513; and condominium prices climbed to $296,189 across the region in May.
The share of distressed sales (short sales and foreclosures) receded well below 30 percent for the first time since July 2010 to reach 27 percent in May region-wide. In fact, the share of distressed sales has been below the share in the corresponding month in 2010 every month this year. The range though is wide; 61 percent of sales in Prince George’s County were distressed last month while only 11 percent were distressed in Washington, DC. All Associations reported declines in the share of distressed sales compared to the share in April.
Rosemary deButts further commented, “Metro DC sales activity was discouraging in May…after a discouraging April. Sales and median sales prices, the two most important indicators, are still lagging behind where they should be at this time of year.”
Prince George’s County Can’t Catch a Break
April 12, 2011
(Washington, DC) – Spring has sprung along with the cherry blossoms in the nation’s capital but the housing market in nearby Prince George’s County had yet another rough month in March 2011. Of the six local markets, only Prince George’s posted a decline in its year-to-date median sales price. It fell from $164,000 as of February 28th to $159,900 as of March 31st. Compared to March 2010 when the median sales price was $190,000, the March 2011 median was only $155,000. Further, the average days on market increased 11 percent to 98 days in March. Prince George’s had the only close price to original list price ratio that declined and at 80.3 percent was also the lowest in the region. Prince George’s biggest problem though is the share of distressed homes sold each month. In March it was 71 percent, easily the highest share in metro Washington, DC.
Normal cyclical sales trends are at play – preliminary sales increased 36 percent across the region to 4,460 units in March compared to February’s revised total of 4,925. The advance was not enough though to reach the March 2010 level (when the First Time Buyer’s Credit was in full swing). The largest month-over-month percentage increase occurred in Washington, DC with a whopping 49 percent increase. The smallest was in Loudoun with 21 percent. For the first time this year, the median sales price exceeded the $300,000 bar at $305,000 measuring a healthy 6 percent increase over the February median. Montgomery County had the highest monthly increase last month to reach $331,900 (+11 percent). Washington, DC had the highest percentage increase compared to last March with $378,000 (+7 percent).
According to Loudoun-based real estate consultant Rosemary deButts, “As is often the case, February’s housing statistics were somewhat disappointing. While March is following normal cyclical patterns and had healthy increases, the sales pace and median sales prices seem to look more like 2009 than 2010 — before the First Time Buyer’s Credit artificially stimulated demand.” After nine months of consecutive increases, the average days on market indicator had a slight decline to 80 days in March. The 2011 average is also 80 days; compare that to 62 days in 2010. The low point was 51 days in May 2010. Loudoun had the highest month-over-month decrease to 77 days (-9 percent) while NVAR had the highest month-over-year increase to 71 days (+40 percent).
For the second consecutive month the close price to original list price ratio improved. It was 94 percent in March, 93.2 percent in February 2011 and 94.4 percent last March. Loudoun had the largest increase last month to reach 94.5 percent while Washington, DC had the largest increase compared to March 2010 to reach 93.2 percent. Average close prices advanced for all product types. The average for detached units was $462,242 in March; attached units posted an average of $324,659; and the average close price for condominiums was $275,028. The average close price for detached units in the Washington, DC market was $807,644, the result of 43 properties that sold for over $1,000,000 each last month. The highest sold price was $4,000,000.
The share of distressed sales (short sales and foreclosures) receded below 40 percent in March across the region after a sharp increase in February 2011. All local areas saw decreases in the share of distressed sales except for Prince George’s County and PWAR. The sub-market with the lowest share of distressed sales was Washington, DC at 15 percent. Rosemary deButts further commented, “March was the first month of the spring market. Disregarding 2010, sales were right on target compared to March sales in 2008 and 2009. While I don’t expect 2011 monthly sales to exceed the corresponding month in 2010 until the second half of the year, the market is behaving as expected.”