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January’s Market Hits Decade Highs for Prices, Sales and Contracts

The mild weather across the DC metro region last month could have helped play a role in the decade high numbers seen in the housing market. Both sellers and buyers were not snowbound this year and could actually connect and settle, making it a record January for both closed and pending sales.

Inventory, however, remains historically low with active listings down. However, new listings did increase compared to last year, and perhaps a sign of what’s to come as we approach spring.

Buyer demand and low inventory appears to be keep pushing prices up and could explain the decade high median sales price for this January.

Here’s a recap of the analysis by RealEsate Business Intelligence (RBI):

January 2017 Highlights

  • The median sales price of $390,000 was up $14,500 or 3.9% compared to last year.
  • Sales volume across the DC Metro area was nearly $1.5 billion, up 19.5% from last January.
  • Closed sales of 3,014 were up 11.5% compared to last year, also the highest January level in a decade, exceeding the 2,702 sales recorded last January.
  • New contract activity also reached a ten-year January high, increasing by 15.5% versus the snowy January of 2016 to 3,954 contracts.
  • New listings of 4,541 increased 12.8% compared to last year.
  • Active listings of 7,224 are down 12.7% compared to last year and down 3.1% compared to last month.
  • This is the ninth consecutive month of declines in year-over-year inventory levels, and inventories are at the lowest January level since 2014.
  • The average percent of original list price received at sale in January was 97.0%, up from last year’s 96.0%, but the same as last month.
  • The median days-on-market for January 2017 was 34 days, ten days lower than last year.


Median Sales Prices

All property types saw increases in price, with townhomes up 5.0% to $389,000, condos up 4.9% to $300,000, and single-family detached up 3.3% to $465,000.   

  • January’s regional median sales price rose to $390,000, the highest January level in a decade, which was a 3.9% or $14,500 increase over last year, although 4.9% lower than last month.
  • January prices are above the 5-year average of $372,740 and the 10-year average of $346,450.
  • The January overall regional price of $390,000 is 34.5% above the January 2010 low of $290,000, and 1.3% above the prior January high of $385,000 seen in 2015.
  • Falls Church City remains the most expensive location in the region, with a median sales price of $610,000, which is down 18.3% from last year. Prince George’s County is still the most affordable area in the region, with a January median sales price of $260,000, up 7.9% from last January.

Closed Sales

January’s closed sales were up 63% compared to the market low of 1,849 seen in January 2008.

  • January’s closed sales of 3,014 were up 11.5% or 312 units from last year and down 25.1% from last month.
  • All property types experienced increases in sales this month, with condos up 13.4% to 844, townhome sales up 12.2% to 763, and single-family detached sales up 10.1% to 1,407.
  • Sales were well above both the 5-year average of 2,642 and the 10-year average of 2,457.
  • Across the region, all jurisdictions showed increases in January sales, with the smallest increase in Fairfax County, where sales rose 6.9% to 794.

Pending Sales

New pending sales of 3,954 were up 15.5% compared to last year, the highest January level in a decade. 

  • Pending sales were up 11.8% compared to last month.
  • All property types saw increases in pending sales, with condos up 21.0% to 1,136, single-family detached up 17.2% to 1,830, and townhomes up 7.0% to 987.
  • Pending contracts were above both the 5-year average of 3,703 and the 10-year average of 3,411.
  • January 2017’s new pending sales were 63.8% above the January 2008 low of 2,414 and were 1.0% above the prior high of 3,916 seen in January 2013.
  • Pending sales activity across the region is universally up, with the largest percentage increase in Falls Church City (+183.3%), which was up from 6 units to 17. The smallest increase in new pending sales was in Montgomery County, where they were up 11.1% to 848.

New Listings

All property types saw increases in new listings, with townhomes up 14.7% to 1,075, single-family detached also up 14.7% to 2,128, and condos up 8.4% to 1,334.

  • There were 4,541 new listings in January, a 12.8% increase over last year and a 47.0% increase compared to last month.
  • New listings are above the 5-year average of 4,178, but are below the 10-year average of 4,729.
  • January new listings are 13.4% above the 10-year low of 4,004 seen in January 2013, and 36.2% below the January 2008 high of 7,120.
  • Across the D.C. Metro, all jurisdictions saw increases in new listings, with the largest in Falls Church City (+60.0% or 6 units) and the smallest in Fairfax County (+9.4% or 105 units).


Active Listings

January active inventories decreased 12.7% compared to last year.

  • Inventories were down 3.1% compared to last month.
  • All property types showed decreases in inventory levels over last year, with townhome inventories down 17.2% to 1,241, condo inventories down 13.4% to 2,002, and single-family detached inventories down 10.9% to 3,972.
  • Inventories are below the 5-year average of 7,249, and well below the 10-year average of 11,487.
  • January inventory levels exceed the 2013 low of 6,049 by 19.4%, but are down 67.5% from the peak of 22,201 seen in January 2008.
  • In the Falls Church City area, inventory levels remained steady, while in all other jurisdictions they declined, with the largest decreases in Fairfax County and Alexandria City, where they dropped 17.4%.


Average Sales Price to Original Listing Price Ratio

Townhomes have the highest January SP to OLP ratio of 97.6%.  Condos have a ratio of 97.0% and single-family detached homes have a SP to OLP ratio of 96.8%.

  • The regional average sales price to original listing price ratio (SP to OLP ratio) for January was 97.0%, the same as last month, but up from last year’s 96.0%.
  • January’s SP to OLP ratio exceeds the 5-year average of 96.3% and the 10-year average of 94.3%
  • Over the last decade, the region’s January average sales price to original listing price ratio ranged from a low of 90.0% in 2009, to this January’s high of 97.0%. The prior highest January level in the last ten years was the 96.6% seen in 2014.
  • On average, homes in Prince George’s County sold at 98.3% of their original listing price in January, the highest in the region, and up significantly from last year’s 96.5%
  • The largest gap between original listing price and sales price was in Falls Church City, where the average ratio was 94.8%, up from last year’s 93.2%.


The median days-on-market (DOM) in January was 34 days, down ten days from last year but up five days from last month.

  • Single-family detached homes and condos both had median DOM of 35, while townhomes had a median DOM of 29.
  • January’s median DOM was three days below the 5-year average of 37 days, and was 16 days below the 10-year average of 50 days.
  • The lowest January DOM recorded in the past decade was 32 days in 2013 and 2014, and the highest was 85 days in 2008.
  • Regionally, the highest median DOM in January was recorded in Falls Church City at 60 days, down from 92 days last year.
  • The lowest median DOM is still in Washington D.C. where it is 23 days, down from 26 days last year.