DC-area housing market enters ‘cooldown period,’ even with record high prices

Some fundamentals are moving in the right direction for frustrated would-be homebuyers in the D.C. metro, namely a significant increase in homes now listed for sale, but prices continue to rise and sales are falling.

The median price of a home that sold in the D.C. metro in May was $640,000, tying the record high set in April, and up 6.7% from a year ago, according to listing service Bright MLS.

Prices are rising, even with more sellers entering the market. There were almost 7,400 active listings in the D.C. area at the end of May, 32% higher than a year earlier.

Last month, there were about 5,100 closed sales, 2.2% lower than last year and the number of new pending sales was down 6.4% from a year earlier.

“The slowdown in pending sales suggests that the Washington, D.C. area housing market may be in a cooldown period this summer. The biggest challenge in the market right now is affordability,” Bright MLS said in a statement accompanying its monthly market report.

“Some buyers — particularly first-time and moderate-income buyers — may sit the market out, waiting for rates to come down later this year. Expect price growth in the region to moderate.”

The slowdown in buyer interest may be evident in the number of real estate agent showings, which was down 12.4% from last May.

For buyers who can afford the D.C.-area market, competition remains brisk. Half of the homes that sold in May had been on the market for six days or less.

Below is a snapshot of the May housing market in the D.C. region, courtesy of Bright MLS:

Chart of May housing numbers
Chart of the May housing market in the D.C. region. (Courtesy Bright MLS)

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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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