DC-area housing market was already slowing in March

April 13, 2020

house for sale
The median price of what sold metro wide in D.C. in March was $490,000, up 8.9% from a year earlier, according to listing service Bright MLS. (WTOP/Mike Jakaitis, File)

The coronavirus impact on the D.C.-area housing market became evident in the second half of March, with a drop in listings and sales, even as the median price of what did sell hit a 10-year-high.

Listing service Bright MLS said the median price of homes sold area-wide in D.C. in March was $490,000, up 8.9% from a year earlier.

On average, homes that sold under contract in just eight days — four days faster than March 2019 — and at full asking price.

Closed sales, or contracts signed several weeks before settlement, were up 15.3% from a year earlier, just shy of the March 10-year high set in 2017.

But when you factor in the entire 31 days of potential March activity, pending home sales, or contracts signed to buy a home, were down 15.9% from a year ago.

The number of new listings coming on the market fell to the lowest March level in five years, down 7.4%.

“Currently, home sellers are checking the temperature of the real estate market in the D.C. area, and the month was strong,” said Chris Finnegan, chief marketing and communications officer at Bright MLS. “The metro area hit a 10-year-high for median home sale price, but new listings were down.”

Pending sales were down 16.7% in Alexandria, down 18% in the District and down 20% in Prince George’s County.

A further decline in listings and sales is expected, though most in the local real estate business don’t expect prices to fall, because of the coronavirus effect and because prices of what sold in March were healthy.

In Arlington County, the median selling price was $637,5000, up 7.8% from a year ago. The median selling price in the District was $610,000, up 6.1%.

The median price in Fairfax County was $574,500, up 8.9%. The median selling price in Prince George’s County was up 10%, to $329,900.

Below is a snapshot of the D.C.-area housing market in March, from MarketStats by ShowingTime based on listing activity from Bright MLS.

Chart of DC area housing sales and median prices for March 2020
(Courtesy MarketStats by ShowingTime)

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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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