Latest twist in the DC housing market: More price cuts

Selling a home in the D.C. area is no longer a slam dunk. Zillow reports almost 30% of listings in the D.C. area on the market in October had lowered their price at least once.

More sales are falling through as well. Redfin said a record 17.9% of contracts in October were canceled. Sellers do not want that to happen.

“For whatever reason that buyer and seller fall out of agreement, generally speaking, when it comes back, the terms of that second contract are going to be a little bit different — normally a lower price,” said Harrison Beacher, president at the Greater Capital Area Association of Realtors (GCAAR).

Beacher said it is more important now for sellers to scrutinize the offers they are receiving and choose to accept.

“Sellers are having to pay more attention to the details of the terms and all of the people involved. What type of loan is it? Who is the lender that is involved? Who is the title company? Whereas in the past, everybody was moving so fast and the probability of it falling out was so low that it didn’t matter as much,” he said.

GCAAR, whose members cover residential sales in the District and Montgomery County, reports new listings in October fell 21.7% compared to September. In Montgomery County, the average time it took from listing to a sales contract was 22 days last month. In the District, it was 31 days.

Sales and listing activity is down in the D.C. area, but sales activity hasn’t stopped.

“We’re lucky that the D.C. area still has stable income and stable demand. Even though that demand has decreased slightly, it has not fallen off a cliff,” Beacher said.

The typical value of a home in the D.C. metro in October was $552,639, according to Zillow data. That’s up just 0.4% from September, but up 27% from October 2019.

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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