DC's March Home Sales Surge Represents Return to Normalcy

  • April 11th 2011

by Mark Wellborn

DC's March Home Sales Surge Represents Return to Normalcy: Figure 1

Pending home sales jumped 34.3 percent in the DC area between February and March, according to data released today by RealEstate Business Intelligence (RBI), the research arm of Metropolitan Regional Information Systems (MRIS).

Specifically, 5,432 homes went under contract in the area last month compared to 4,044 in February. The area that MRIS analyzes includes DC, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, Alexandria City, Arlington County, Fairfax County, Fairfax City, and Falls Church City.

While the increased sales activity is positive news for the region, RBI analyst Jonathan Miller sees the sales surge as a return to the seasonality of the market, not a second coming of the housing boom.

“I would describe this as a signal of a more normal, seasonal market,” Miller told UrbanTurf. “Compared with what we have seen in recent years, this data is representative of a market that is far less manic.”

DC's March Home Sales Surge Represents Return to Normalcy: Figure 2
Courtesy of MRIS. Click to enlarge.

Nevertheless, Miller was not surprised by the pending sales numbers (homes that went under contract), which were the highest for March since 2006. He noted that much of the housing data from indexes like Case-Shiller are representative of the market several months ago.

As for where the local market is heading, Miller was cautious with his predictions.

“Nobody really knows,” he said. “The success of any local housing market will depend on what happens with mortgage financing, the availability of credit and unemployment.”

Here are a few other highlights of the report:

  • Median home sales price rose 3.2 percent in the DC area between March 2010 and March 2011.
  • New listings represented 49.5 percent of the active inventory for the region in March.
  • The highest subsequent total number of contracts signed in a month during the last few years was 6,150, reached last April during the final month of the federal homebuyers’ tax credit program.

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/dc_home_sales_surge_in_march_represents_return_to_normalcy/3307.

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