In DC area’s seller market, Amazon HQ2 brings ‘packs of investors’ to open houses

WASHINGTON — It is not unusual for sellers in the most sought-after neighborhoods in the District or Arlington to get full list price or above, but last month was one of the best months in years for sellers across the region getting what they wanted.

Listing service Bright MLS says the average percent of original list price received at sale in January was 97.2 percent — the highest list-to-sale for a January in the D.C. metro in a decade.

And the median price of what sold last month across the metro area was $420,000. That’s up 5 percent from a year ago and the 28th consecutive month of year-over-year price increases. It’s also the third month in a row that price appreciation has exceeded 5 percent.

In Northern Virginia, January was an especially strong month for sellers.

The Northern Virginia Association of Realtors says “new under contracts” — which includes those with contingencies — were up 70 percent from last January, even with the number of listings down 20 percent.

For the Northern Virginia region, the anticipation of Amazon HQ2 and the new Virginia Tech campus may be driving elevated interest.

More Amazon HQ2 news

“For condo listings in the Pentagon City and National Landing area, we saw packs of investors on tour at our open houses,” said Rachel Cater with Coldwell Banker in Alexandria.

Christine Richardson, president of the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors said Amazon HQ2, and a relatively mild winter, seem to have brought out the buyers earlier this year.

“Open house traffic has been brisk in January and early February, and many properties have been sold with multiple offers,” she said.

It bodes well for sellers as the spring thaw approaches.

“With mortgage interest rates at a 10-month low, and our regional home sales at a 10-plus year high, Northern Virginia Realtors anticipate an active spring market,” said Ryan Conrad, CEO of the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors.

While the D.C. region remains a seller’s market, the dynamics that have plagued the local housing market for months persist.

Sales volume across the D.C. metro was $1.4 billion, down 3.2 percent from a year ago, according to Bright MLS. Closed sales declined 7.7 percent, the sixth month in a row for year-over-year declines.

Pending sales, or contracts signed in January but sales not yet closed, also fell 3.3 percent from a year earlier.

The local market needs more sellers, and a few more are testing the market.

Bright MLS says new listings were up 4.9 percent from a year ago and active listings were up 2.7 percent.

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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