Small sign of shift away from a seller’s market, but maybe not in DC

Two of D.C.'s neighborhoods topped a list of the nation's hottest neighborhoods within reach. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

WASHINGTON — The share of home listings with a price cut is on the rise across the country but that is not the case in the Washington area.

Real estate listing firm Zillow reports 15.4 percent of listings in the D.C.-area in June had a price cut from the original list price, down from 16 percent a year earlier. In the Washington market, the average reduction from original listing price was just 2.5 percent.

The share of price cuts from original list nationwide is less than in the Washington area — at 14 percent — but that is also up from a recent low of 11.7 percent at the end of 2016.

Almost half of the largest metropolitan areas have seen a slowdown in home value growth, and Zillow’s economists say that the increase in price cuts is a preliminary sign that the housing market may be shifting ever-so-slightly in favor of buyers.

In the Washington metro area, home value appreciation has picked up since the beginning of the year though. The median home value here has increased by 4.2 percent in the last year, compared to 3.9 percent in January (though still more modest than the national appreciation pace of 8.3 percent).

The median price of what sold in the D.C. region in June was just shy of $400,000.

Some of the nation’s most expensive housing markets have seen the largest share of price reductions from original listings.

In San Diego, 20 percent of all listings had a price cut in June, up from 12 percent a year ago. The share of price reductions in Seattle was 12 percent, the biggest share of owners who lowered their original list price since October 2014.

Portland, Oregon, Sacramento and Riverside, California, have all seen an increase in the same of listings with a price cut.

“The housing market has tilted sharply in favor of sellers over the past two years, but there are very early preliminary signs that the winds may be starting to shift ever-so-slightly,” said Zillow senior economist Aaron Terrazas.

“A rising share of on-market listings are seeing price cuts, though these price cuts are concentrated at the most expensive price-ints and primary in markets that have seen outsized price gains in recent years.

Zillow says it is far too soon to call it a buyer’s market, with home values still expected to appreciate at double their historic rate over the next 12 months. But the frenetic pace of the housing market over the past few years is starting to return toward a more normal trend.

In the Washington metro, Zillow forecasts home prices will appreciate by 3.8 percent over the next year.

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