No urban flight in the DC area

While many large cities, particularly San Francisco and New York, have seen a decline in the pace of rising home sales and home prices, and an exodus in renters — the number of vacant apartments in Manhattan rose to 15,000 in August, nearly triple a year ago — there is evidence that is not the case in the District and the close-in Washington suburbs.

Part of that evidence is in the mix of homes that are selling here.

“When you look at the D.C. region, it is different. You are seeing a 10-year high for condo and co-op sales, which are up 43% over last year. So that goes to show that just because you’re seeing less of an emphasis on urban living elsewhere, that is not the case in Washington, D.C.,” said Chris Finnegan, chief marketing and communications officer at mid-Atlantic residential listing service Bright MLS.

That does not mean there hasn’t been an increased interest in farther-out locations. A recent Redfin report ranked Fauquier and Spotsylvania counties, in Virginia, among the top 10 outlying counties near large metro areas in the country where sales and prices have risen significantly this year.

But the D.C. region’s urban core remains strong for home sales and rising prices, including areas that have generally trailed the District and Arlington County for the pace of sales and rising prices.

“When you look around the D.C. region, two areas that really stand out are Fairfax County, Virginia, where the median price of a single family home has gone up almost $100,000 on average in the last year, and Montgomery County, Maryland, where single family home sales and prices have hit a ten year high,” Finnegan said.

Sales in Alexandria in September were up 32% from a year ago in August, with the median price up 18%, and the median price of what sold in Prince George’s County, Maryland, was up 13% from a year earlier, according to Long & Foster Real Estate.

The Northern Virginia Association of Realtors reported nearly $1.5 billion in residential sales in September, up 58% from a year ago, a number it called “truly staggering.”

Bright MLS reports the D.C.-area housing market remains extremely competitive, with homes for sale going under contract in an average of seven days in September, a record pace of sales.

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