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The Shutdown Effect: DC-Area Home Sales Fall Off in January

by Nena Perry-Brown

The five weeks that the federal government was shutdown were quite taxing to the local economy, and the January numbers for the regional housing market aren't much better. 

While closed home sales dropped year-over-year in the region for the sixth month in a row, the drop was not as pronounced as expected given that a large portion of the workforce wasn't working last month. Closed sales fell by 7.7 percent in the region and 6.2 percent in DC proper. However, the number of homes that went under contract last month reveals a home-buying public that pressed pause. Pending sales fell by 10 percent in DC proper, 15 percent in Alexandria and almost 24 percent in Arlington County. 

Annual change in pending home sales.

As has been the case in recent months, the drop in sales also may be related to home prices which remained quite high in January. According to data provided by MarketStats by ShowingTime based on listing activity from Bright MLS, January was the 28th consecutive month where the median home price in the region increased year-over-year, rising by 5 percent to $420,000. Prices in DC proper saw a heftier increase, rising by 6.5 percent year-over-year to hit $537,500. 

Regionwide, there were 4.9 percent more new listings on the market compared to January 2018, contributing to a 2.7 percent increase in active inventory over the same period. For DC proper, there were 7.8 percent more new listings and an impressive 23.7 percent increase in overall active inventory.

February's housing data may be more indicative of the shutdown's impacts — particularly because the government may be poised to shutdown again on Friday.

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/the-shutdown-effect-dc-area-home-sales-fall-off-in-january/14997

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