The Return of DC’s Housing Inventory

by UrbanTurf Staff

The Return of DC's Housing Inventory: Figure 1
The porch at 5368 27th Street NW, which recently hit the market.

It has been quite awhile since the area housing market favored the buyer, as demand has long outpaced available homes for sale in the region. But that could be changing.

For the sixth month in a row, the inventory of listings for sale in the DC area increased compared to the previous year, according to a report out from RealEstate Business Intelligence on Thursday.

There were 7,604 active listings in the DC area at the end of March, a 21 percent increase over March 2013. Condo supply rose at the fastest clip, increasing 35.1 percent (or 519 listings), followed closely by townhouses, which rose 34.6 percent or 344 listings.

The Return of DC's Housing Inventory: Figure 2

Prices increased right along with inventory, rising on an annual basis for the 26th consecutive month to $389,900, reaching the highest March level in seven years. Prices rose the most in Prince George’s County, Fairfax and Falls Church. In DC proper, prices were up about 3 percent over March 2013, and in Montgomery County and Arlington, they remained flat.

While inventory and prices headed north in March, buyer activity was still experiencing a bit of a winter hangover. Activity on closed sales and new contracts fell 11.2 percent and 6.8 percent, respectively, compared to last March. It was the third consecutive month that closed sales fell off from the previous year.

“Buyer activity in the region has been subdued over these uncommonly harsh winter months, but is likely to return as spring arrives,” the report noted.

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/housing_inventory_returns_to_dc_area_in_march_as_prices_rise/8342


  1. cash buyer said at 4:06 pm on Thursday April 10, 2014:
    Phew, we have been outbid numerous times on SFH's in DC since we began looking 4 months ago. Recently decided to wait until the fall. I smell another bubble anyways, just my opinion.
  1. Hattie McDaniel said at 5:05 pm on Thursday April 10, 2014:
    Agree with 'cash buyer' abouta bubble. There are only so many two-lawyer families to go around. Prices can't rise to infinity, sooner or later they will outstrip what buyers are capable of paying, and then they will crash.
  1. StringsAttached said at 8:21 pm on Thursday April 10, 2014:
    Hate to break it to you "bubble people" but it's gonna be a while before we see this bubble burst...it's just getting started. http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/22265/dc-population-grows-more-than-any-other-local-county/ In DC the issue is the "affordable housing" kick that the city council is on. They talk about affordable housing but those "poor people" already have places to live. They need to build properties in the 300-400k range so normal working families can get into homes and build up neighborhoods. They may not be in the best neighborhoods but go take a look at what the City of Alexandria is doing on Route 1 and tell me you can't have million dollar condos next to public housing...
  1. jj said at 9:23 pm on Thursday April 10, 2014:
    Seems there are more properties hanging around longer on the market too due to price. Particularly in Dupont. There are 3 places on S Street alone within two blocks that have been sitting on the market (or have been pulled off and on to restart the clock)1732 S (9 months), 1707 S and 1810 S...all not selling because of pricing. Then there's 4 sitting at 17/Q also pricing. Houses that rare just sitting there "raise" the inventory when new houses are added.
  1. James said at 9:51 am on Friday April 11, 2014:
    Lots and lots of two-earner families in our hood, and no, it is not necessary that both be lawyers. Properties north of $1M are selling to these two-earner families, who seem to be finding the money somewhere. Sorry, one can hope for a bubble, but hoping won’t help. When the last housing “bubble” burst, price scarcely budged (except upwards) in desirable DC neighborhoods. The carnage was in Virginny and PG.
  1. Jay said at 3:20 pm on Friday April 11, 2014:
    The mortgage on a million house can be as little as $4,000 a month if you have a downpayment, perhaps from a previous sale. That's not a trivial amount of money, but if you have a couple each earning $100,000 it's more than manageable. This market doesn't need two lawyer families -- or insane, unimaginable inherited wealth, etc. -- to survive.
  1. Juanita said at 4:28 pm on Friday April 11, 2014:
    <i>if you have a couple each earning $100,000</i> The median household income in DC is $64,267. There is a limit to the number of people who can afford these prices. To pretend otherwise is burying your head in the sand. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/where-we-live/wp/2014/04/10/homes-sales-in-d-c-region-fall-for-third-straight-month/
  1. James said at 1:11 am on Saturday April 12, 2014:
    @Juanita Can't agree with you, sorry. People can find the money to buy pricey homes, and are finding it. Prices are rising, and will continue to do so until working professionals stop pouring into this city, which won't happen any time soon.
  1. Payton Chung said at 4:40 pm on Sunday April 13, 2014:
    And 44% of DC households are single persons (most of whom are presumably among the majority of DC households who rent), so a median HH income figure isn't indicative of what two-income couples earn. @StringsAttached: much of the affordable housing being built is at a "workforce" level, not public housing stock. There are a surprising number of units available at just that price point, particularly EOTR, which is doing a great job of building up neighborhoods.
  1. Juanita said at 2:07 pm on Monday April 14, 2014:
    <i>Prices are rising, and will continue to do so until working professionals stop pouring into this city, which won’t happen any time soon. </i> http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/washingtons-population-growth-slows/2014/04/11/796d6fce-c1a7-11e3-b195-dd0c1174052c_story.html
  1. James said at 9:39 am on Tuesday April 15, 2014:
    @Juanita: If you are going to participate in a discussion, please at least read the article you put forth as a reference. It contradicts you, as do I: "The District, however, stood out among its neighbors. It gained 13,000 residents over the year, driving the population to over 646,000, according to the census figures. That was more new residents than any other jurisdiction in the region. Loudoun County also gained population, almost as much as the District. More significantly, births were not the only reason the District had population gains. Last year, as in each of the previous three years, the city got more than 6,000 newcomers from outside the District, and almost 3,000 from other countries. Frey called the District the region’s demographic bright spot."
  1. soulshadow55 said at 10:28 pm on Wednesday April 30, 2014:
    In 1996 I purchased a 3 bed, 2 1/2 bath rowhouse in Columbia Heights for $159K. People with money didn't want to live in Columbia Heights back in 96' and the folks who lived in the neighborhood at the time still couldn't afford a house for $159K. Fast forward to the Columbia Heights subway opening and all heck breaks loose. Now we get phone calls, letters in the mail, letters stuffed in our mail box from real estate agents wanting to buy the house. We are a secretary and a postal worker, people who have traditional lived in Columbia Heights. Now the only housing being built in Columbia Heights is in the high $200K for a studio. Developers snatch up any house that's for sale and flip it into two or three units, thereby decreasing the number of single family rowhouses to be bought. Some city's have regulations that any foreclosure has to be offered to city residents first, developers second. This is something D.C. should consider but won't because the City is drunk on the increased tax revenue. The City is also happy (but won't say it) that so many low income residents are being pushed out. Middle class/working class people cannot buy in Columbia Heights any more. When the City tries to build workforce housing the new upper income residents of the neighborhood have a seizure. Their feeling is that diversity is living next to a doctor and a lawyer, not a secretary and a postal worker. Whenever workforce housing in mentioned, they assume they're going to have to live next to a welfare mother with 5 kids or a crack addict. For the past 50 years middle income people built this city into a place that higher income people now want to settle. Moving EOTR isn't an option for some people, for others it's a bitter pill to take.

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