More homes are for sale in the DC region, but not because there are more sellers

The number of active listings in the region is almost 31% higher than it was a year ago, which would be a good thing for potential buyers. But it’s not because there are more sellers now.

“We’re in a very unusual market where we are seeing a pullback not only on the demand side, but on the supply side,” Lisa Sturtevant, chief economist at Mid-Atlantic residential listing service Bright MLS. “There are fewer sellers in the market, but inventory is growing in our region, simply because homes are sitting on the market longer than they used to.”

New listings joining those on the market were down 30.9% from December 2021, according to Bright MLS.

The number of pending home sales in December, representing buyers signing contracts, was down 35.8% and tracking at the lowest level since 2008.

Homes in the region are taking longer to sell. What sold in December had been on the market an average of 22 days, which is 10 days longer than the average days on market a year earlier.

Home prices in the D.C. metro have been falling modestly for several months, but in December, the median price of what sold was lower than it was a year earlier. That hasn’t happened since 2016.

The median price of what sold was $513,315 — 1.3% lower than December 2021.

“This is the first time we’ve seen negative price growth year-over-year. And that is pretty telling in terms of the state of the market and how the market has slowed down so considerably,” Sturtevant said.

Home prices in the D.C. metro peaked in May 2022, and the median price is now 15% below that peak level.

Nonetheless, Sturtevant is optimistic about 2023, at least for the D.C. area housing market.

“The underlying fundamentals in the housing market in the D.C. area are quite strong. The economy is doing well, demographic fundamentals are good. I expect we’ll see more buyers coming back to the market in the spring, along with sellers,” she said.

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.

Like WTOP on Facebook and follow WTOP on Twitter and Instagram to engage in conversation about this article and others.

Get breaking news and daily headlines delivered to your email inbox by signing up here.

© 2023 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up