Despite Rising Inventory, DC Area Remains a Seller's Market

  • June 5th 2014

by Lark Turner

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Despite Rising Inventory, DC Area Remains a Seller's Market: Figure 1
Active inventory in the DC area over the last year.

Though active inventory in the DC area has risen about 25 percent year-over-year, that increase won’t make for a buyer’s market any time soon, according to RealEstate Business Intelligence analyst Corey Hart.

“It’s a sign that could be positive for buyers, but the fact is there’s still far more demand than there is supply in the DC area,” Hart told UrbanTurf this week as reports about more inventory began circulating. “The attached property market, in particular, remains the tightest.”

In other words, if you’re looking to buy a condo, a co-op or a rowhouse, the inventory remains historically low. And buyers for those type of properties describe many of the real estate hunters in DC proper. RBI measures “months of inventory” to determine how balanced the market is and whether it’s tipped toward buyers or sellers. If, for example, there’s two months of inventory, that means that if no new homes came on the market, the number of homes currently for sale would last two months at the current sales pace. A balanced market typically has 4-6 months of inventory.

At the end of April, the DC area had 2.3 months of supply; the supply in the attached property market sat at 1.8 months.

Despite Rising Inventory, DC Area Remains a Seller's Market: Figure 2
Median sale prices in DC proper over the last year.

Another metric that shows that the scales are still still tipping in favor of sellers is the number of days homes spend on the market. Any time that number is under two weeks, Hart says, “that portends a very hot market.” Half the homes sold in the region in April were on the market for 13 days or less.

“It might not be quite as hot of a market as last year at this time when inventory was extremely low, but it’s still very tight,” Hart said. “We’re still 23 percent lower than the five-year average (of available inventory).”

Home prices also remain high, which explains the demand in the attached market, Hart said. First-time buyers are being pushed toward attached homes because of their lower price point. As for what’s next, Hart said that if current trends continue, the DC market could become more balanced soon.

“It’s not as hot as last year and inventory has been rising, which could relieve some of that pressure on pricing,” Hart said. “The double-digit price increases that we were seeing last year likely won’t continue through this year because things are relatively — I don’t want to say they’re evening out, but it’s less toward a seller’s market.”

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/dcs_inventorys_heating_back_up_but_its_still_a_sellers_market/8577.

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