Row-house chop jobs are keeping DC’s housing inventory afloat

Turning one home into many may be one of the reasons D.C.’s inventory woes aren’t as bad as elsewhere. (Getty Images/iStockphoto/Jodi Jacobson)

The D.C. region’s housing market continues to suffer from a severe inventory shortage, with the number of active listings around the region hovering close to 20% below this time last year.

In some markets, such as Arlington County and Alexandria, inventory is half what it was a year ago.

In the District itself, however, active listings are just 7% below where they were this time last year. Turning one home into many may be one of the reasons D.C.’s inventory woes aren’t as bad as elsewhere.

“It is largely reflective of the amount of developer activity in the city,” said Larry Foster, president of Long & Foster Real Estate.

“People are coming in and buying row homes that they transform into condos, effectively creating a few new homes out of what used to be one home,” he said. “This creates more inventory. However, this type of home is lower-priced, causing the median sale price in D.C. to decrease year-over-year.”

But not by much. The median selling price in the District in October was $575,000, down 1% from last October. The number of sales in D.C. was also down 7% from a year ago.

By neighborhood, the median price in Columbia Heights hit $680,000 in October, up 8% from a year ago. The median price of what sold in Chevy Chase D.C., based on just 18 sales, was $1.1 million — a 25% increase.

Sellers in D.C. got, on average, 100% of the original list price, or very close to it, in October.

Below is a snapshot of D.C.’s October housing market activity, courtesy of Long & Foster Real Estate: (Click to enlarge)

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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