Busy at the Top: What is Driving a 45-Day Surge in DC's Luxury Housing Market

  • December 2nd 2021

by UrbanTurf Staff

✉️ Want to forward this article? Click here.

River View. Photo by Sean Shanahan.

The DC area is not known for the level of home prices that buyers see in New York or Los Angeles, where home sales above $15 million are common. But one wouldn’t necessarily know that based on recent activity in our region.

In late October, River View, a portion of George Washington's Mount Vernon estate, sold for $48 million, becoming the most expensive piece of residential real estate to ever sell in the DC region. 

Days later, the McLean home of former Washington Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer hit the market for $15 million and then found a buyer the very next day.

And then ten days ago, a three-bedroom penthouse at the Ritz-Carlton in DC's West End neighborhood sold for $9.15 million, making it the most expensive condo to ever sell in the city.

“We view the market above $6 million as ultra luxury and there has been a significant uptick in that segment over the last 45 days,” Robert Hryniewicki of HRL Partners at Washington Fine Properties told UrbanTurf. “Four of the top ten sales of the year have happened in the last 30 days.”

The statistics reveal that it is not just the last several weeks that is setting 2021 apart when it comes to the highest priced real estate in the region. The number of sales in the DC area above $2.5 million this year is double what it was in 2019, according to Bright MLS. The number of homes selling above $5 million has tripled during that time.

“Higher-end housing was particularly in demand from high-income buyers in the region who had secure jobs during the pandemic and saw their personal financial situations improve,” Bright MLS Economist Advisor Dr. Lisa Sturtevant told UrbanTurf. “Overall savings rates surged, as these households had less to spend their money on. As a result, they had more to put towards a home.”

DC's Piano Estate sold earlier this year for $10.9 million.

Tax scenarios are also playing a role.

“Clients in the upper brackets are focused on two things right now: lifestyle and taxes,” Mark Lowham, CEO of TTR Sotheby’s International Realty, told UrbanTurf. “Virginia offers a relatively attractive tax structure, so we are also seeing movement into Virginia from higher tax states like California.” Of the top ten home sales in the region so far this year, 60% of the buyers lived in the area, two were from New York, one was from Silicon Valley and one was from London.

Owners of other high-end homes in the region seem to be taking notice of recent sales. Not long after the Mount Vernon estate sold, Mark Lowham listed Easter Hill, a 4-acre estate in McLean overlooking the Potomac River, for $21 million.

And it appears the interest level remains. 

“I just got off the phone with a buyer in another part of the country who will be in town in the coming months,” Robert Hryniewicki told UrbanTurf. “Their budget is anywhere from $8 million to $20 million.”

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/busy-at-the-top-what-is-driving-a-45-day-surge-in-dcs-luxury-housing-matket/19008.

DC Real Estate Guides

Short guides to navigating the DC-area real estate market

We've collected all our helpful guides for buying, selling and renting in and around Washington, DC in one place. Start browsing below!