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2008 DC Real Estate Market Stats plus hipchickindc predicts The Future


In real life, hipchickindc is licensed as a real estate broker in the District of Columbia and Virginia, and as a real estate salesperson in Maryland.  Unless otherwise noted, the source of information is Metropolitan Regional Information Systems (MRIS), which is the local multiple listing system.  Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

It might seem a bit anticlimactic to be talking 2008 market numbers in February.  For what it’s worth, Metropolitan Regional Information Systems (MRIS) unceremoniously rolled the official numbers out last week.  (Agents had until the end of January to update all 2008 listing information, hence the timing).  I figured the numbers would still be of interest, so here they are.

First of all, let’s be clear at what we’re looking at.  This is Pure DC, people.  Most media sources that describe the “Washington DC Metropolitan Area Real Estate Market” are giving you DC, Loudon County, Gaithersburg, with the kitchen sink thrown in, too.  Right here we are talking only District of Columbia and all District of Columbia.

You’ve heard, “Location.Location.Location.”  The second rule of real estate is that all markets are local.  Of course, we could get intensely specific and look at the numerous micro markets within the District.  Intuitively, most people get that the Petworth market is different from Georgetown.  For a moment, however, let’s step back and look at the overall performance of the residential real estate market for DC as a whole.

Not surprisingly, there was an almost 25% reduction in the dollar volume of settled sales from 2007 to 2008.  The total dollar volume of sales declined from $3,988,755,576. to $3,001,913,863.    Additionally, the number of units sold (a whole house equals a unit, as does a condo or co-op unit) decreased from 7,422 in 2007 to 5,563 in 2008.  That is a 25.05% drop.  Average days on market went up from 69 in 2007, to 80 in 2008.   Continues after the jump.

What did that mean for prices?  Given that we saw a tightening, rather than the glut of inventory that is plaguing many areas outside the Beltway, prices held their own.  The average sold price of a DC property actually went UP, a smidge of .41% up, but still, up!  In 2007, an average transaction in DC was $537,423., while in 2008, it was $539,621.  The median price showed a small lag, at $409,000. for 2007. and $399,990. for 2008.  Buyers were able to negotiate, but not as outrageously as one might have thought.  The average Sale Price to List Price ratio for 2007 was 95.15%, while in 2008, it moved to 93.26%.

One other piece of information I feel is important to point out is the increase of the use of FHA loan products.  In 2007, only 57 real estate transactions in DC involved a loan product backed by the Federal Housing Administration.  In 2008, that number rose to 754.  I expect that in 2009, that number will rise sharply again.

I tried dusting off my crystal ball, but it doesn’t seem to be charged up right now.  I’ll go out on a limb, though, and predict that the number of real estate transactions in DC for 2009 will see an uptick.  My sense is that people are starting to realize that if they try and wait for “the bottom”, they’ll miss it.  At the same time, I do not expect to see an increase  in prices any time soon.  To end on a positive note, I’ll say that I believe that overall, the Washington, DC real estate market is quite stable.

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