Worst May for DC-area housing sales in a decade, but prices are still up

The D.C. region has been plagued by a lack of homes for sale but new listings rose in May. (AP Photo/J. David Ake)

May is usually one of the best months for housing sales, but the COVID-19 pandemic and a lack of listings sidelined many potential buyers. The D.C. area had its slowest May for sales in a decade.

But more sellers stepped up from April and prices continue to rise year-over-year.

Listing service Bright MLS said pending sales — or contracts signed to buy a home — in May were down 19.8% from last May. And closed sales were down 34.2% from a year ago, though both pending and closed sales were higher than in April.

The median price of what sold throughout the D.C. region in May was $500,000, and that was up 4.2% from May 2019, the second-highest month ever on a median sales price basis. May was a 10-year best for condo prices.

The median price of what sold in Alexandria, Virginia, posted the biggest year-over-year increase in May, up 10.7% to $567,000.

The median selling price in the District was up 9.9% from a year ago to $660,000.

The median price of what sold in Arlington County was $622,500, up 1.2% from last May.

The region has been plagued by a lack of inventory, or homes for sale, but new listings rose in May. Though still down 33.2% from a year ago, new listings did rise 12.2% from April. The number of total active listings is still down both year-over-year and from the prior month. New listings were still the lowest in 10 years for the month of May.

Below is a snapshot of area selling prices in May, courtesy MarketStats by Showing Time:

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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