DC’s luxury-home market takes a hit

WASHINGTON — Residential sales in the District are brisk and prices continue to climb modestly, but the high-end of the market is starting to stumble.

Real estate firm Redfin says Washington is one of the worst-performing markets for luxury real estate right now, at least based on pricing. The average sale price in the top 5 percent of the market is just shy of $2.3 million, down 4.1 percent from a year ago.

The high-end housing market in D.C. is influenced by international buyers and politics more than many large cities.

“There’s a lot of global instability right now, with increasing security concerns in Western Europe, tensions rising with Russia and a Chinese economic slowdown, “says Dan Galloway, a Redfin agent in D.C. “But we’re also tied intricately to the health of the federal government, and I think there’s a lot of unease with how the election is going to shake out this year.”

At all price points, Washington’s housing market is always influenced by potential turnover at the White House and on Capitol Hill, but Redfin says it’s more pronounced for more expensive properties.

Redfin says it makes sense for high-end sellers to wait until November to list, when the lay of the land becomes more clear.

And high-end sellers, regardless of timing, need to be patient.

“It takes a little bit longer to sell luxury homes, just because there aren’t as many people who can afford them, [but] if you’re at the right price and you have a little bit of patience, you will find a buyer,” Galloway says.

The average selling price in Alexandria within the top 5 percent of listings is $1.215 million, down 5.7 percent from a year ago. Other cities seeing a big decline in luxury residential prices are San Francisco, Long Beach and Scottsdale.

Where are luxury residential real estate prices rising?

Redfin says the average sale price within the top 5 percent of the market in Miami is just over $8.5 million, up 21.6 percent from a year ago. Luxury prices in Boston are up 15.7 percent, and, in Portland, Oregon, up 15.2 percent from a year ago.

You can see the 10 most expensive home sales in Washington in June here.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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