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Washington Real Estate Market Cooling Off in Spring

Home prices continue to go up, but the pace of sales appears to be decreasing.

Photograph via Shutterstock.

Local home prices continue to go up, according to an analysis of recent real-estate listings. Just because houses in Washington are getting more expensive, that doesn’t mean it’s getting even better for would-be sellers.

According to RealEstate Business Intelligence, part of Rockville-based listing service MRIS, sales in April were down from a year earlier, continuing a slide that began in January. Just 3,883 housing units around Washington were sold last month, a decline of 350, or 8.3 percent, from April 2013. Although sales generally pick up as the weather gets better, every month so far this year has shown year-over-year declines. Cementing that trend is a five-month streak of year-over-year drops in pending sales of homes that are under contract but not yet closed.

However, it’s still very much a sellers’ market. While housing inventory last month was up nearly 25 percent over a year before, at 8,871 properties listed, buyers continue to come in aggressively. Prices reflect that: The median home price across the area was $412,500 in April, up from $400,000 in 2013. The biggest local jump came in Prince George’s County, where the median price rose nearly 17 percent from $185,000 to $216,000 in just 12 months.

Via RealEstate Business Intelligence.


The median number of days a home spends on the market throughout the region remains relatively short, spanning from 21 days in Prince George’s County to a mere nine days in Arlington, with some neighborhoods selling even faster.

Still, with the number of listings ticking up—April was the seventh consecutive month with a year-over-year increase in listings—a larger trend could be at play. Washington’s housing market is still very hot compared to other metropolitan areas, but even withsmall increases in the number of dwellings for sale and slight decreases in sales figures, the area could be reaching a plateau.

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.