D.C. home prices climbed to a 2½-year high in September



D.C. home prices spiked in September for the first time in more than two years, while the value of sales from June to August jumped by as much as 26 percent.

The 10.5 percent rise in the value of sales from June to August, according to data released Friday by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, was the highest since January 2012. Homes sold at a median price of $298,500 in the D.C. area last month, up from $262,500 in August.

The Washington Metropolitan Area Council of Governments, which tracks the housing market for the Maryland, Virginia and Washington area, reported it was the slowest month in almost three years for new listings, with 3,646 new properties coming onto the market last month, down from 4,678 a year earlier.

The downward trend was a welcome prospect for buyers, as prices continue to rise in the region. “It has gotten tighter and more people are trying to get into the market,” said Dan DePasquale, the director of real estate at the Greater Washington Board of Realtors. “It’s definitely a good thing.”

“The affordability is off the charts,” he said. “What we need is another 12 to 15 months of that to keep up with the pace of what we are seeing now.”

The metro area’s September sales, compared with the same period last year, represent a 19.5 percent increase. In contrast, sales of all types of homes have increased by a relatively more modest 6.8 percent in the entire county since January.

Sales of homes that cost $400,000 and over rose by 24.8 percent since September 2014. That’s no small feat in Washington, where median home prices have now surpassed $400,000 in 38 of the city’s neighborhoods, up from 28 neighborhoods a year ago.

The rising cost of a home has also become an issue in Annapolis, as lawmakers discussed a proposal Thursday that would require local governments to hold workshops on affordability issues before accepting new developments and existing ones will not have their taxes reduced further if their sales prices drop by 20 percent over five years.

A bill in the Maryland legislature requires counties to hold such workshops. The workshop proposal was drafted in response to the concentration of single-family houses, townhouses and condominiums in areas of the state such as the D.C. suburbs, where prices are higher and incomes lower than in some other parts of the state.

“We do not want to have a continued widening of the wealth gap in the community,” said Del. Anu Kishore, a Democrat and state senator who proposed the bill in Annapolis.

There are 650,000 apartments, condos and townhouses in the tri-county area, including 35,000 units in Arlington, the largest such development in the country, along with the Washington suburb of Montgomery County.

“It’s a small slice of the overall housing pie, but the slice is growing,” Kishore said.

Low interest rates are giving the local housing market a boost. One open house Thursday night drew 50 prospective buyers to a $900,000 two-bedroom townhouse in Annapolis.

The Met Council data shows that year to date, sales in the D.C. area are up 2.2 percent, the first positive sign since the spring of 2015.

The 10.5 percent rise in the value of sales from June to August, according to data released Friday by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, was the highest since January 2012. Homes sold at a median price of $298,500 in the D.C. area last month, up from $262,500 in August.

The Washington Metropolitan Area Council of Governments, which tracks the housing market for the Maryland, Virginia and Washington area, reported it was the slowest month in almost three years for new listings, with 3,646 new properties coming onto the market last month, down from 4,678 a year earlier.

The downward trend was a welcome prospect for buyers, as prices continue to rise in the region. “It has gotten tighter and more people are trying to get into the market,” said Dan DePasquale, the director of real estate at the Greater Washington Board of Realtors. “It’s definitely a good thing.”

“The affordability is off the charts,” he said. “What we need is another 12 to 15 months of that to keep up with the pace of what we are seeing now.”

Leave a Comment