Sunday, July 29, 2007

DC Sales: First Half 2007

The past week was full of bad news for the US housing market. New home sales were down, sales of existing homes were no better, prices are falling, problem loans extend up to prime borrowers, and the outlook for the overall market is pretty sobering. Wall Street finally opened its eyes and, in herd-like fashion, fell almost 500 points to indicate its shock! that housing was tanking and that credit markets might tighten. I guess they don't read the Wall St. Journal because the evidence was all around them.

Anyone who's been reading this blog should be aware that the District's market hasn't been very robust for the past few months. As I've said several times, the Spring buying season was a bust and, if that's as good as it gets, what does that foretell for the market going forward?

I wish I knew. However, I dug into my database to look back and see what 2007 has been like so far.

BTW, I hope all my Swiss friends have a great Nationalfeiertag on August 1, when they celebrate [in moderation] their country's birthday [August 1, 1291]. I drove by the Swiss Embassy Saturday, it looked like they were having a great time. I'm sure my invitation got lost in the mail...

State of the Market

The District recorded 4381 residential sales in the first half of 2007 (January - June), representing $2.3B in sales. Condos led homes in number of units sold while, in terms of dollar volume, homes led 54.5% vice 45.5%.

Viewing the data at a District level:

  • Five wards had lower unit sales YoY.
  • Four wards experienced declines in average and median prices.

The Chase Point effect had a significant impact on Ward 3 prices, I suspect, although it was of little help re: unit sales.

Distribution of Sales

The chart below shows the distribution of sales by sales price in the first half of 2007; 58.4% of recorded sales were priced $450,000 and lower.

How to read the chart: each column represents the number of units sold in that price range. For example, the column "$450,000" represents the number of units sold between $351,000 - $450,000.

Changes in the Market YoY

Generally, 2007 has been a lackluster year so far. Looking at YoY data:

  • In the aggregate, average prices are up less than 3% while median prices have fallen almost 1%.
  • The number of units sold has declined a tad over 2%.
  • Dollar volume is basically flat.
  • Every home category had lower sales volume.
  • Prices for homes were a mixed bag. Rowhouses had lower average and median prices while the detached/semi-detached homes saw price growth.


Condos have had a good year - the number of units sold increased almost 10%. I assume new buildings like the Whitman, the Artisan, Sonata, Brandywine Crossing, et al, played a role in the sales increase. However, even with the new buildings, average prices were up less than 3% and median prices fell about 1.5%.

Single Family Homes

Demand for single family housing is down, but, in the aggregate, average and median prices are higher. The number of units sold fell almost 13% and the dollar volume declined 7.75%. Every category of single family home had lower unit sales and dollar volume. As stated above, price growth was mixed.

Detailed Data

Aggregate by Zip Code

First half 2007 average and median sales prices and unit volume by zip code.

Aggregate by Ward

First half 2007 average and median sales prices and unit volume by ward.

Category by Zip Code

Category by Ward


  • Unlike MRIS, my data and analyses include new units [primarily condos] so there will be some differences in my conclusions about the market's state compared to a similar analysis based solely on MRIS reports, which only report sales of existing units sold and/or listed by real estate agents.
  • This analysis is of sales recorded by the District during the month as opposed to sales settled in the month, which is what MRIS reports, so there may be some discrepancies because of timing issues. However, I believe the data do provide a helpful indicator of trends in the District.
  • Homes listed as multi-family are actually single family homes, but I maintain the multi-family classification to remain consistent with the District's recording system.
  • My analysis is based on data that I've gathered from the District. Errors are definitely possible.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice stats! I bought at the Whitman and I love the architecture and location. I'm in for the long haul (plan is 10 years) so I'm not so concerned with the short term market. I think the area is going to improve and this will be a great investment. BTW - I love my unit, one parking space was included and a second spot was only $38k.