Real Estate

It Appears the DC Housing Market Has Finally, Actually Calmed Down

Local real estate cooled over the summer, which isn't so unusual. But the trend has lasted into fall.

Photograph by Flickr user NCinDC.

The Washington housing market has been nuts throughout the pandemic, with prices breaking records, listings attracting dozens of bids, and buyers routinely paying six-figures over asking. But according to the latest data from local multiple listing service Bright MLS, things appear to have turned a corner, with the real-estate frenzy finally settling down

The trend began over the summer, with the area’s prices and number of sales dropping. Still, it’s typical for activity to decrease as Washington empties out and folks put big decisions on hold until fall. Thus, it wasn’t clear if the slowdown was only temporary. But stats from September seem to confirm that the cool-down was for real.

The number of listings that went under contract in the DC-metro area last month was down nearly four percent from August. Meanwhile, homes spent a median of two days longer on the market. The area’s median sales price of $515,000 in September also represented a four percent decrease from August.

Though the local inventory of available homes remains extremely low, the situation for buyers improved on that front, too. Compared to August, the number of new listings spiked 15 percent last month.

Although September 2021 was, by nearly all key metrics, much calmer than September 2020, the Washington housing market remains significantly more competitive than it was pre-pandemic. Compared to September 2019, for instance, the area’s median sales price was up nearly 20 percent last month, almost 23 percent more listings went under contract, and homes lasted six fewer days on the market.

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Senior Editor

Marisa M. Kashino joined Washingtonian in 2009 as a staff writer, and became a senior editor in 2014. She oversees the magazine’s real estate and home design coverage, and writes long-form feature stories. She was a 2020 Livingston Award finalist for her two-part investigation into a wrongful conviction stemming from a murder in rural Virginia.