The housing markets set 10 different records in 2021, many in DC

The U.S. housing market continued to be strong in 2021, but there were more records set than just the number of sales and median selling prices.

According to real estate listing firm Redfin, there were at least 10 records set for the housing market this year. Among them, a record number of investment buyers, who accounted for nearly one in five sales in 2021.

“Investors are noticing how much home values have gone up. They are anticipating that rents will go up. Interest rates are at record lows, so it easy for them to borrow money to buy investment property homes,” said Daryl Fairweather at Redfin.

Nationwide, 18.2% of all residential sales in 2021 were investment buyers. The D.C. metro actually trailed that statistic, with just 7% of sales to investment buyers, partly because of few bargains in the area.

In March of 2021, the D.C. region had a record for the most homes selling in fewer than 14 days, at 65%. The D.C. metro also set an all-time high for median selling price in June of 2021, at $500,000. Nationwide, the median selling price in 2021 is $386,000, also an all-time high.

Tight inventory remained a problem throughout 2021, with home supply falling to its lowest level in history, and down 23% from 2020. And more than half of homes that went under contract in 2021 — 56.6% — sold above list price, also a record. The average home sold for 2.6% more than list, according to Redfin.

Another record set both nationwide, and in the nearby Maryland and Delaware beach communities was sales for second homes and vacation homes.

“People were able to refinance their current homes and have money left over and people were out there buying second homes,” Fairweather said.

“I think on top of that, because of COVID, the limitations on travel, especially international travel, made more people think about having a vacation home to escape too. And remote work meant more people could just pick up and go someplace else for a few months.”

Rounding out the top 10 records was the 25% year-over-year jump in the median price of a luxury home that sold, and a record 31.5% of Americans looking to move to a different metro area.

Redfin’s full report of records set in 2021 is online.

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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