Saturday, March 29, 2008

DC Sales: January 2008

I've finished my analysis of full value residential sales the District recorded in January 2008. It continues to be ugly out there. Yes, aggregate average prices are up, but that's a surface story sufficient only for those who can't be bothered to peel the onion and prefer to believe hoohah. In the reality based world, sales volume in the District is way down, condo prices are flat, and single family home prices continue to appreciate despite falling sales volume.

One data point I noticed in January's data was the increased number of homes purchased by banks, presumably foreclosed.

All data has been uploaded for viewing on and

State of the Market

In January 2008 the District recorded 489 residential sales, 22.75% less than the same month in 2007. Dollar volume fell, too. "Fell" may not be strong enough. Collapsed? Surrendered? Capitulated?

All but two wards had lower sales volume. Wards 1, 2, and 8 had positive growth in prices; Wards 5 and 6 were negative; Wards 3, 4, and 7 split the difference. Condo-dependent Ward 2 had the steepest drop in sales volume, down 53.19%; the "invisible hand" continues to slap that ward around.

Condo sales continue to dominate Wards 1 and 2. In Ward 1, 79.35% of sales were condos and in Ward 2, 61.4%. More than half of the District's semi-detached home sales were recorded in Ward 3, 53.65%.

Distribution of Sales

The chart below shows the distribution of January's recorded sales by sales price.

Changes in the Market YoY

In the aggregate, average prices were up 5.43% while median prices were relatively flat, falling 0.05%. Sales volume continued its downward spiral, falling 22.75%; condos fell 25.2% and homes declined 19.32%.


The number of condos sold [existing and new] fell 25.2% YoY. Average prices nudged up slightly, 1.88%, while median prices teetered down 0.11%, essentially flat. Sales for TenTenMass continued to dribble in. Several condo buildings have come online (e.g., CityVista) and others continue to sell their remaining inventory (e.g., the Whitman):

Single Family Homes

Overall demand for single family housing is down 30.94%. Average prices were up 7.97% and median prices were up 7.25%. All categories of houses had declining sales volume, down 16.28 - 24.05%. Once again, Ward 3 has the honor of having the highest average and median prices in the District.

I continue to believe the high end homes - those costing more than $1MM - are skewing the results. The data show that the average sales price for a District home was $571,458 in January. Of 213 homes sold, 27 sold for more than $1MM for a total dollar volume of $40,343,953; all but two were in Wards 2 and 3. In other words, 12.68% of January's recorded homes sales accounted for 33% of the dollar volume. Excluding these homes, the average home price in the District is $437,455, about 25% less.

If I were inclined to be even more left brained, I'd say that excluding these 27 homes would reduce the District's aggregate average sales price to $424,949 vice $484,009.

Which is why I called it hoohah.

Purchase the Data

For $5.00, you can purchase a listing of the January home and condo sales recorded in the District discussed in this post. Information in the listing includes [see below]:

  • Address
  • Sale price and sale date
  • Unit number [if a condo and if available]
  • Price per square foot
  • Square footage
  • The number of bedrooms and baths for each unit

I use the District's downloadable data, which usually has a 6-12 month lag, meaning that the data doesn't include condos or homes completed within the past year. Data may not be available for all properties. My analysis is dependent upon the completeness and fidelity of the District's appraisal data.

January 2008 Sales ListingsAdd to Cart

Detailed Data

Aggregate by Zip Code

January 2008 average and median sales prices and unit volume by zip code.

Aggregate by Ward

January 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.
  • My analysis is based on District sales and appraisal data that I've collected and processed. I've deleted those sales that appear to be of questionable data quality. Errors are always possible.
  • My analysis is limited to condos and single family homes; I omit properties the District classifies as multifamily conversions. I'm sure I'm excluding some properties that are legitimate single family homes, but I want to eliminate uncertainty.


Anonymous said...

I just returned from Woodbridge visiting family. There is devastation is prices out there. Near Dale City Blvd I saw homes that sold for >400k two years ago being auctioned starting for 50k. These are really crap homes that never should have sold for more than 100k at most.

Anonymous said...

Is anything fundamentally different in the way dccondoprices and dchomeprices work? I am able to browse and search for homes, but the condo page will not load properly:

Line: 318
Char: 5
Error: 'xml.documentElement' is null or not an object
Code: 0

Keith said...

The DCHousingPrices IT department has asked me to ask you which browser and operating system you're using. Please reply to me via email. Thanks.