Wednesday, July 04, 2007

DC Sales: May 2007

I've finished my analysis of full value residential sales the District recorded in May 2007. As I mentioned earlier, I omitted the $23MM mansion (3124 Q St NW) and the home with an extra [Update: two zeroes] "0" in its price from the pricing analysis [the former is still in the distribution analysis below]; one because it's such an outlier, the other because of the District's data entry error.

As I've seen in MRIS's reports on existing home sales, the data confirm the Spring buying season is a bust. Although the District's data is of sales recorded, i.e., after settlement, and can be considered a lagging indicator given the timing, the data continue to show the District's housing market is not robust, at least not as robust as it was in 2005.

State of the Market

In May 2007, 764 residential sales were recorded by the District, basically the same volume recorded in April. The majority of sales were condos, 56.15%; the market's preference for condos continues. One key finding: May is the first month in 2007 when the condo dollar share exceeded 50% and led the market; the condo's share of the total dollar volume of $405.9MM was 51.37%, .

Viewing the data at a District level, half the District's wards experienced declines in average and median prices. All but one ward had fewer units sold. The fact that condos constituted 60% of sales in Ward 3 [70], and of those sales Chase Point condos represented 47% [33 of 70] might help explain its healthy price growth. The average price for a Chase Point condo was $1,181,967 with a median price of $1,004,024.

The data is even more interesting for Wards 1 and 2. In Ward 1, 70% of sales were condos and, in Ward 2, 84%.

Distribution of Sales

The chart below shows the distribution of sales by sales price; 55.4% of recorded sales were $450,000 and lower.

Changes in the Market YoY

Compared to May 2006, recorded sales prices [average and median] are flat, sales volume dropped [off a cliff], and dollar volume fell. I attribute a great deal of the drop in condo demand YoY to the fact that a lot of new condos were delivered in May 2006, more so than in May 2007. However, the 30.5% drop in sales for single family homes should be worrisome. Fewer home sales were recorded in May for every housing category.


The number of condos sold [existing and new] fell by almost 19% YoY, average prices were up slightly less than 3%, while median prices were down 5%. A number of new condo buildings are still coming online, too, including:

  • Columbia Residences (2425 L St NW): 9 units
  • Jefferson Row (1830 Jefferson Pl NW): 4 units
  • The Whitman (910 M St NW): 12 units
  • The Artisan (915 E St NW): 7 units
  • The Sonata (301 Massachusetts Ave NW): 10 units
  • Christopher Condos (3101-3107 Naylor Rd SE): 8 units
  • The Rhapsody (2120 Vermont Ave NW): 5 units
  • Chase Point (4301 Military Rd NW): 33 units
  • Barcelona (1435 Chapin St NW): 5 units
  • Brandywine Crossing (717 - 725 Brandywine St SE): 6 units

Those ten buildings alone represent 21.9% of all condo sales recorded in May. In May 2006, buildings such as Rhapsody, Quincy Court, Georgetown Heights, Lofts 14, and the Ventana were coming online.

Single Family Homes

Although demand for single family housing is down, higher prices in some segments enabled positive growth in average and median prices. Detached and semi-detached homes had higher average and median prices, rowhouses were positive on median prices, and multi-family homes had lower average and median prices. In the aggregate, average prices were flat while median prices were up about 6.7% on a 30% decrease in unit sales. I guess what single family housing loses in volume, it makes up in prices.

Detailed Data

Aggregate by Zip Code

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

Aggregate by Ward

May 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 in May as opposed to sales settled in the month, which is what MRIS reports, so there will be some discrepancies because of timing issues. However, I believe the data do provide an indicator of trends in the District that could be useful.
  • 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.

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