DC metro housing market ends 2021 with lower sales, showings

The final report on the D.C. metro area’s housing market for 2021 shows a year-end slowdown, and less activity when compared to the final month of 2020.

Listing service Bright MLS reports home showings by real estate agents in December dropped sharply, down 20% from November. Showings were also 5.9% lower than December 2020.

Fewer potential buyers looking also translated into a drop in contracts signed to buy a home. Pending sales in the D.C. metro total just over 4,200. That’s a 29% drop in contract signings compared to November, and down 8.6% from a year earlier. Closed sales also slowed, with 6,100 sales that closed in December. That’s down 3.8% from November and down 8.4% from December 2020.

What did sell took a little longer to go under contract, spending an average of 12 days on the market — four days more than a year earlier.

The slowdown in sales did not translate into lower year-over-year prices. The median price of what sold in December came in at $520,000. That was 7.8% higher than December 2020, though it was down 2.2% from median selling prices in November.

Bright MLS also runs a monthly Home Demand Index, measuring the strength of buyer demand based on Internet searches and requests for viewings. Its Demand Index in December was down 28.9% from November, and 23.3% lower than a year ago.

The biggest drop in buyer interest was among higher-priced single-family homes and higher-priced condos. The weakest demand, now considered “Limited,” was for lower-priced and mid-priced single-family homes.

Below are median selling prices for jurisdictions around the D.C. metro in December, courtesy of Bright MLS.

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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