Thursday, December 28, 2006

WaPo: $1M Condos built over a soup kitchen

Yesterday's Washington Post had an article about PN Hoffman's latest project, which involves building a 150-unit building on top of a church that runs a soup kitchen for the less fortunate among us. PN Hoffman is confident the building will sell ("I don't think I'm going to have any problem finding 140 families who want to call this building home," DeSantis [PN Hoffman's vice president of sales and marketing] said.)

While one can debate the likelihood of a buyer willing to plunk down $1M for a condo and deal with homeless folks hanging aroung the building, the article included an interesting statement:

Charles Klein, a managing broker in the District for the real estate firm Re/Max, said buyers will be interested if the "units are a knockout" and because they're downtown.

But Klein said so many condos are on the market that buyers have many choices. More than 18,000 condominium units are under construction, planned or proposed, according to the Washington DC Economic Partnership.

"You don't need the soup kitchen to make it a tough sell," Klein said. "It's a tough sell because it's a condo, and if there's anything we need less of now, it's condos. It's like overkill. There must be five years' worth of supply in the pipeline."

So here we are in a tough market for condos and PN Hoffman decides to roll the dice and, to make it even more exciting, adds a soup kitchen to the mix. They're daring or nuts, I don't know which.

Monday, December 11, 2006

MRIS November Housing Report: DC Declines in all categories

MRIS' report on sales of existing homes in DC in November came out last week; I returned from vacation this weekend and have just now had a chance to analyze the data.

Highlights of the report (comparing YoY data):

  • Dollar sales volume: -26.06%
  • Average sales price: -10.96%
  • Median price: -6.82%
  • Days on market: +123.23%
  • Total units sold: -16.96%
  • Average list price for solds: -8.26%

To summarize: fewer houses are selling; those that sell, sell for less; and houses are staying on the market more than twice as many days as last year. This is the first month in 2006 that average prices and sales volume have declined across all categories of housing units (detached, attached, and condos).

Average condo prices declined 13.24% and sales volume declined 2.49%. My operating assumption this year has been given the fact that condos represent such a large share of the District's housding market (49.1% of all units sold in November), the severity of the downturn in the sales of exsiting detached and semi-detached housing units has been masked and is actually worse than reported by MRIS. When condos are excluded, we see that the statistics are bleaker:

  • Dollar sales volume: -31.65%
  • Average sales price: -17.69%
  • Total units sold: -27.37%

On another topic, the District has finally finished posting its data for September (!), so I hope to upload new housing data to shortly.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Fortune article on economic impact of housing

An interesting and scary article appeared in Fortune earlier this month entitled "Can the economy survive the housing bust?". It starts:

Tucked away in the briefcase of Liz Ann Sonders, chief investment strategist at Charles Schwab & Co., is a chart so scary she's hesitant to show it to investors. It plots the National Association of Home Builders' Housing Market index - a monthly measure of builder confidence - against the Standard & Poor's 500 stock market index, with a one-year lag.

It turns out that the mood of builders is a terrific stock market bellwether: The correlation between current builder confidence and future stock market returns over the past ten years is downright unnerving.

The chart is below.

Friday, November 10, 2006

MRIS October Housing Report: DC Experiences Significant Declines

MRIS' report on sales of existing homes in DC in October came out today and it presents sobering YoY data for the housing market in the District. Highlights of the report:

  • Dollar sales volume: -37.73%
  • Average price: -10.26%
  • Median price: -11.76%
  • Days on market: +103.13%
  • Total units sold: -30.61%
  • Average list price for solds: -7.4%

This is the first month in 2006 that both average and median prices have declined.

Average condo prices declined 8.41% and sales volume declined 20.14%. Are condos to blame for the state of the market? Further analysis of the data show that when condos are excluded:

  • Dollar sales volume: -43.38%
  • Average sales price: -18.4%
  • Total units sold: -38.91%

This indicates that entire market is suffering.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

DC 2006: Year to date sales

Through August 31, 2006, DC has recorded the sale of 6023 housing units (type by 2006 sales volume):

  • Condo: 2813 units
  • Rowhouse SFH: 1477 units
  • Detached SFH: 793 units
  • Semi-detached SFH: 511 units
  • Multi-family: 429 units

Note that there is some uncertainty whether properties DC lists as multi-family are not actually single family homes. I have a friend whose house is definitely a rowhouse yet the city records it as multi-family. Conversely, I'm aware of properties listed as rowhouses that have been serving as multi-family housing.

The table below provides average and median prices and sales volume for sales in DC, organized by zip code; the data include all types of housing units.

The tables below detail YTD average sales prices and sales volume by zip code for each type of housing unit.

August Sales by Type by Zip Code

OK, one more slice at August's data while I wait for DC to finish uploading September's data. Here are August average prices by zip code for condos and houses (rowhouses, detached and semi-detached).

Friday, October 27, 2006

August Sales by Zip Code

Here are DC's August average and median sales prices and transaction volumes by zip code:

The top three zip codes for average price, median price, and number of units sold are:

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

DC Sales: August 2006

Well, better late than never. I've put DC's August 2006 sales data into my model to see how the market is faring compared to August 2005. As I'm sure you're aware from recent news reports about the national housing market, it isn't good. And it isn't good in DC, either.

Essentially, transaction volume has collapsed, down 41.62% YoY. Every type of housing showed less demand. For the first time in 2006, average and median prices for condos were both lower YoY and sales volume was down 53.39% YoY. More importantly, the median price for all housing in DC was down 1.23% while average prices inched up almost 2%.

In researching August 2005 sales data, it turns out six condo buildings had closed 261 units that month:
  • Cityline: 44 units
  • 2020 Lofts: 50 units
  • 1150 K: 43 units
  • Atlas: 54 units
  • Cedar Crossing: 25 units
  • 355 G SW: 45 units
Even after excluding those new units from the August 2005 data, YoY condo sales volume was down 28.9%.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

DC Condo Prices

I've just uploaded DC sales data for August to Of the 800 sales records I processed, 363 are condos (average sales price: $401,852), the remaining 437 are single family or multi-family homes.

Generally, condos represent about 50% of all units sold in DC each month. However, condos aren't displayed when you visit ; the site provides information only on sales of single/multi-family homes.

Visits to this blog confirm the level of interest in condos in the DC market. To address that, I'm launching a new site in the near future focused on DC condo sales. It's intended to provide sales data for condos sold in DC. I'll post an update once the site has launched.

Email me if you want more information about the site.

MRIS September Housing Report: Sales Volume Continues to Decline

MRIS has just released sales data for sales of existing homes in September 2006 (see below). The trend I mentioned a month ago continues: the number of units sold continues to decline. What's especially remarkable is that September marks the end of the summer sales season, when housing sales should be at their peak.

Key data points at a glance:
  • Average days on market has almost doubled YoY (34 days to 66 days)
  • Number of units sold declined 15.04% (738 to 627)
  • Total dollar volume declined 5.9%
  • Condos represented 48.8% of all units sold

Further analysis shows:

  • If condos are excluded, the total dollar volume actually declined 9.54%; condos represented approximately 38.47% of the dollar volume.
  • All housing categories in the report save one showed YoY declines in sales volume despite higher average sales prices.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Analysis of August MRIS Sales Data for DC

A constant refrain I hear is that while the DC condo market is tanking, the market for single family homes (SFH) is doing well. Is that true?

At first blush, MRIS's data for August SFH home sales in DC doesn't look too bad once condos are excluded. Except for two categories that experienced small drops - attached homes with 2 or less bedrooms and detached houses with 3 bedrooms - all housing categories experienced price increases in August YoY (see below). The average price for detached homes with 4 or more bedrooms went up 16.5% YoY!

MRIS's summary data doesn't look too good, but one assumes that's because it includes condos. However, further analysis shows that SFH homes are in trouble, too.

When all housing categories (again, condos excluded) are pooled together to gauge the overall market's pricing trend, it turns out that the weighted average price for SFH housing in DC went up only 0.75% YoY in August. And, comparing YoY sales volume, one finds that sales for detached homes were down 48.8% and that of attached homes was down 29.3%.

So the data really shows that for SFH homes, too, pricing momentum has stalled and demand has fallen off the cliff. It'll be interesting to see what September's data shows when it's released by MRIS within the next two weeks.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Flipped Houses: Detached Homes (NE)

Of the 96 detached homes flipped in DC between January 2005 and July 2006, 51 sales were in NE DC. The average unadjusted profit was $143,275 and the average days on market was 254. Two houses were flipped twice each; the first sale is highlighted in yellow, the subsequent sale in tourquoise. Four sales were clearly losses for the seller.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Flipped Houses: Detached Homes (NW)

I'm aware that most of my posts have focused on the condo market, which can be explained by the fact that condos constitute about 50% of all housing sales in DC. However, to maintain a "fair and balanced" approach, I've begun researching flips involving single family homes (SFH).

DC groups SFH into three categories: rowhouses, detached houses, and semi-detached houses. My first analysis is of detached houses flipped between January 1, 2005 and July 31, 2006. To be included in the analysis, the home had to have been purchased and then resold during that period; initial purchases pre-dating January 2005 are not included. During the analysis period, 96 detached homes were flipped in DC. Of that number, 31 were sold in NW, 51 in NE, and 14 in SE.

I'll first post information about detached homes sold in NW DC. The table below shows those homes that were flipped in the analysis period, with each sale's profit/loss and days on market (DOM) shown. In the aggregate, the flip of a detached home in NW DC yielded a $119,970 nominal profit after an average 200 DOM.

My analysis depended upon real property sales data available from DC; it's quite possible there are errors in their data (believe me, it happens quite frequently), but I've done my best to either correct the data or delete records with egregious errors that I cannot correct. Two flips in NW DC were excluded from this analysis because I had doubts about the data.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Analysis of July Sales (Part III)

I've posted information on July YoY sales and average/median prices by zip code. When I look at sales by housing type by zip code, it's interesting to see that condos:

  • Comprised 43% of sales
  • Were sold in every zip code in the city except for 20006
  • The largest portion of condo sales (39.7%) were in zip codes 20001 and 20009

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Quincy Court Condos

The Quincy Court Condos (1117 10th Street NW) closed in late Spring 2006. Through July, five units have been flipped, most recently units 304 ($67,000 nominal profit within 75 days) and 310 ($64,000 nominal profit within 74 days). Unit 1004, purchased for $629,050 in May, is being advertised on craigslist for $724,990.

The building was reported to have 146 units, but DC sales records show that only 119 units have closed through July.

The block this condominium is on has the distinction of having the most housing units sold in DC in 2006 (to date).

Monday, September 11, 2006

Analysis of July Sales (Part II)

Having determined that the July 2006 citywide average and median sales prices were $536,685 and $421,000, respectively, I wondered how each zip code's average and median prices compared to that of the city.

Interestingly, more than half of the zip codes (14) had lower average sales prices while ten had lower median prices.

The three zip codes with the highest average prices were 20007, 20015, and 20016.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

MRIS August Housing Report: DC Home Prices Flatten

Prompted by a posting on DC's craigslist, which asserted that, excluding condos, MRIS data for existing home sales in August showed that the average price for housing in DC had risen approximately 12% YoY, I put the data through the Excel mixer to see what had really happened.

Excluding condos, the weighted average price of housing in DC rose 0.75% Y0Y .

Less than 1%.

And the transaction volume had fallen 35.6%.

DC Condo Prices Fall in August

I just ran an MRIS report for August housing sales in DC; it shows that YoY transaction volumes and prices for condos sold in DC have fallen.
  • Volume: down 32.9% (332 units in 2006, 495 in 2005)
  • Average price: down 12.74% ($391.6K vice $448.7K)
The August transaction volume is in line with what my analysis of DC data for July showed. Since MRIS reported a 6.5% decline in average price for July's sales, the fact that the decline accelerated - almost doubled - in August must be worrying to sellers.

MRIS doesn't break out median prices by type of housing unit, but "eyeballing" the report shows that the median August sales price for condos was approximately $350K. The report also shows that the aggregrate transaction volume (all types of housing units) declined 34.4%.

Note: MRIS reports only sales of existing units. It'll be interesting to see what the data show once DC posts all August sales records next month. I suspect that, as in the past, including the sale of new units will improve the aggregate average price, if not the median.

Analysis of July Sales (Part I)

After posting DC July sales data to last Friday evening, I had a chance Saturday to begin my analysis of the data. At a glance, the data do appear to indicate that the DC real estate market is slowing down, at least in terms of transaction volume if not in terms of prices. This is the first time in 2006 that monthly data show YoY declines in sales of all types of housing units.

Several facts are immediately apparent:
  • In the aggregate, YoY transaction volume is down almost 35% although average and median prices have gone up.
  • For the first time since at least January 2005, condos constitute less than 45% of all units sold.
  • Across the board, YoY transaction volume is down for all types of housing units.

Please understand that my data includes new and existing homes so there may be some discrepancy between my data and that from other sources, such as MRIS, which only report sales of existing units. As I may have mentioned in previous posts, condos typically constitute approximately 50% of housing units sold in DC and given the number of new units closing each month, that may skew my data vice MRIS. However, I get my data from the DC government so I am collecting actual sales data.

MRIS showed that average prices for condos in DC declined 6.5% in July, but since my data include new and existing units, I have to assume sales of new units provided enough price support to show an aggregate 8% gain. However, the median price for condos did fall 1.9%.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Interesting Economic Analysis on Housing

I found a link to an interesting economic analysis of the housing market on craigslist last night.

It provides an interesting explanation of the drivers of the booming housing market in the first part of the decade and describes a scary prognosis for the country's economic future as the housing boom unwinds.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Initial July Sales

DC has just posted its July sales data. I've not had a chance to analyze it, but the initial data indicates the following distribution of sales for the 768 units that closed:

  • Condos: 337 units (43.9%)
  • Rowhouses: 210 units (27.3%)
  • SFH: 116 units (15.1%)
  • Semi-detached: 61 (7.9%)
  • Multifamily: 43 units (5.6%)

One highlight: for condos, this is the lowest share of monthly sales for the year, if not since January 2005.

I'll post more information (and maybe corrections) once I'have a chance to analyze the data.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

2005 Condo Flips: Cityline and Residences at Gallery Place

Here's sales data for condos flipped in 2005 at the Cityline at Tenleytown and Residences at Gallery Place. Five were flipped at Cityline and 10 at Residences. More may have been flipped through contract assignment prior to closing, but this is based on available public data.

The nominal profits were good except for the seller of Cityline #421, who flipped at a loss of $900; I have to imagine the net loss was much worse for that flipper once almost six months of carrying costs and the unit's closing costs are factored in. The average nominal profit at Cityline was $89,106; for Residences, it was $119,724. Average time to flip: 83 days for the former, 171 days for the latter. Cityline #535 wins the prize, flipping within 23 days for a profit of $124,543.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Selected 2005 Condo Flips

The 85 condo flips in 2005 tended to cluster around a few buildings. For example, five buildings accounted for almost half of all condos flipped in 2005:

  • 1401 Church Street Condominium, 1401 Church Street NW (6 units)
  • 2020 Lofts, 2020 12th Street NW (12 units)
  • Residences at Gallery Place, 777 7th Street NW (10 units)
  • Cityline, 4101 Albemarle NW (6 units)
  • The Clara Barton, 616 E Street NW (5 units)

And the nominal profits were good. The average nominal profit at 1401 Church St NW was $140,248; at 2020 12th Street NW, it was $127,861. Average time to flip: 135 days for the former, 66 days for the latter. See below.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Condo Flipping in DC (2005)

I analyzed DC sales data for 2005 to see how many condos were flipped and what profit was achieved. I'm still analyzing the data, but the initial results are below.

Of more than 5900 condo sales in DC in 2005, 85 were of condos being flipped. The data below, which does not include those condos purchased in 2005 and sold in 2006, shows the average and median purchase and flip prices, profit, and days on market (DOM).

Monday, August 07, 2006

Condo Flipping in DC

When discussing the condo market in DC, a key assumption is that much of the market's zeal has been driven by buyers who flipped their condos soon after - if not before - the closing date.

However, my analysis of DC 2006 sales data (January - June) could find only 20 instances - out of 2032 condo sales in 2006 - where a condo was resold, or flipped, soon after it had been purchased. In these 20 instances, flippers paid an average price of $379,581 for a condo and flipped it in 81.6 days for $442,058, netting an average nominal profit of $62,476.

The analysis was restricted to those units that had first closed in 2006 and had then been resold; units that had closed in 2005 and resold in 2006 were not included in this analysis, that will be the next step in the process.

While all but two owners made a nominal profit, it's hard to determine anyone achieved a real profit once carrying costs, transaction fees, and the time value of money are taken into account. For example, the owner of 4101 Albemarle St NW Unit: 635 made a nominal profit of $61,126, but the resale closed 160 days after the original purchase. A 6% real estate agent commission on the flip would cost $39,594, leaving approximately $21,500 to recover five months of carrying costs and, hopefully, with some remaining for a real profit.

Condos Flipped in DC in 2006

June Sales Data

In June 2006, 972 properties were sold in the District (see

Compared to June 2005, average and median prices increased 7.22% and 6.02% respectively. As in the past, condos constituted the largest share of the reported transactions, 452 units (46.5%) of 972. However, total units sold decreased 17% YoY, with the number of condos sold dropping 23.9%.

Six condo properties represented 21.5% of all condos that sold:

  • Rhapsody, 2120 Vermont NW (33 units)
  • Quincy Park, 1117 10th St NW (15 units)
  • Ventana 912 F St NW (11 units)
  • 555 Massachusetts NW (14 units)
  • Columbia Station, 3500 13th St NW (10 units)
  • Lofts 14 Two, 1400 Church NW (14 units)

June 2006 data

YoY data (2006/2005)

Average Sales Prices by Housing Type by Zip Code

Sunday, July 23, 2006

May Sales Data

I've completed posting May sales data to In the aggregate, average and median prices were up compared to May 2005. However, transaction volumes were dpwn for all categories of housing.

Condos maintain their majority share of units sold in the District, 53% in May 2006. If one excluded several new condo projects that had completed in May [e.g., 1117 10th St NW and 912 F St NW], condo unit sales would have been much worse. Of the 547 condos sold in May, approximately 183 were new construction.

Sales by zip code and housing type:

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Preliminary April/May Sales Data

DC sales records for April and May haven't been posted by the city yet. However, reports from MRIS give an indication of the market's state. MRIS' data is limited to existing home sales so it's difficult to compare to my data which includes sales for new housing units.

However, according to MRIS in April 2006 YoY unit sales declined 17.47%, average prices declined 0.97%, and median prices rose 2.55%. In May, YoY unit sales declined 20.33%, average prices increased 6.26%, and median prices decreased 1.18%.

Pricing data aside, the key indicator that remains consistent for 2006 YTD is that YoY demand continues to decline. While pricing [average and median] continues to fluctuate - one could amost say treading water - we're not seeing the huge increases typical of the past few years.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Year / Year Comparison: 1Q2006 / 1Q2005

I've begun analyzing 2005 sales data and comparing it to 2006 data. Slightly less than 12,000 transactions occurred in the District during 2005.

2005 Aggregated Sales Data

Four data points become apparent when analyzing the sales data:

  1. Throughout 2005, condos constituted anywhere from 47.3% to 57% of the monthly transaction volume in 2005.
  2. Average and median prices for condos flatten out in 1Q06 compared to 1Q05. Condo median prices grow approximately 3% in January, February, and March 2006 compared to 2005.
  3. Overall, price gains are still positive for the other types of housing units, providing some cover for the flattening condo prices.
  4. Transaction volumes are falling through the floor (-22% to -38%).

I wonder if condo prices have hit the top of the rollercoaster's incline and are now poised for a steep fall.

The tables below show the growth (+) or decline (-) of housing prices in 2006 vice 2005.

January YoY

February YoY

March YoY

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Analysis of 1Q 2006 sales data

I've had a chance to review sales data for DC home sales for the first quarter of 2006. It's rather inconclusive, but it does show that:

  • Average sales prices for condos declined (-2.67% January to March) while the median sales price increased (up 3.99% January to March).
  • Average and median sales prices for detached single family homes declined (-11.48% January to March and -4.65 January to March, respectively).

However, three months data is insufficient to determine a long-term trend.

Average Sales Price

Median Sales Price

Sales Volume

Friday, May 12, 2006

March 2006 Sales Data Available

Sales data for March 2006 has been uploaded to

714 residential sales were recorded in March. Average and median prices and volume by unit type are depicted below.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Sunday, May 07, 2006

February 2006 Condo Sales

I've added February 2006 DC home sales data to, which can be searched and have the results displayed on a map of DC.

Now I've begun analyzing the data. Below is sales data for condos organized by zip code. Rowhouses, single-family homes, and semi-detached homes will follow. I've excluded multi-family from this analysis.

Total sales volume for the month was:

  • Condos: 234 units
  • Rowhouses: 99 units
  • Single family homes: 68 units
  • Semi-detached homes: 40