Thursday, April 10, 2008

MRIS March 2008 Sales Report: Preliminary data

MRIS released March 2008 data on sales of existing homes and condos in the District today. I'm working on a more detailed analysis, but here are the basic metrics and how they compare to March 2007. None of them are pretty:

  • Dollar volume: $ 210,508,482. Down 42.62%.
  • Units sold: 393. Down 39.82%.
  • Average sales price: $ 535,645. Down 4.65%.
  • Median sales price: $ 399,500. Down 8.06%.

The number of condos sold fell 40.9% and the number of homes sold declined 43.9%.


Kevork Abazajian said...

January 2008 MRIS average was up 11% YoY and February was up 2% YoY. For March, there is an apparent fluctuation downward of 5%, but only because March 2007 was a fluctuation upward. See your own plot of the 2007 MRIS prices here.

The fluctuations are from a flaw inherent in the MRIS (and DC records) monthly statistics due to the variation of the types and classes of properties sold in a given month. Case-Shiller is revered because it avoids this problem by looking at same-property sales, but must use a much broader geographic base to be able to do so, like the full DC metropolitan area. Looking at the 2008 numbers relative to the average over several months of 2007 in your plot, prices look basically flat.

Keith said...

MRIS data has been pretty consistent over the past few months in showing that sales volume is lower YoY.

As I've mentioned several times, it doesn't take too many very expensive homes to skew the data and thus average/median sales prices. In my post on DC"s January sales data, I showed that 12% of homes sold represented more than 30% of the associated dollar volume. Excluding them lowered average sales prices by about 25%.

MRIS' data isn't granular enough to support this type of analysis.

I understand how S&P/Case Shiller works and I grant that there may be weaknesses in the robustness of my analyses. I don't account for seasonal fluctuations, I don't verify arms length sales, and I don't limit my analyses to same home sales. I don't have CS' resources [I welcome emails from any VC with extra cash laying around]. However, I do believe that my analysis is of more relevance to someone looking for a home in the District of Columbia vice than relying on a metric that spans DC, MD, VA, and WVA.

Kevork Abazajian said...

Yep, there's definitely no doubt that sales volume is remarkably down. That places pressure for prices to go down, and may be a forward indicator of that. Whether that decline is happening is what I'm not sure about. I think the summer "selling season" will show how DC proper does...

BTW, I didn't intend to say that you didn't know how Case-Shiller works! I was just commenting in general about the virtues of CS (less systematic variance), and its flaws (huge geographic base). Certainly, your analyses are a good complement to CS for those interested in DC proper. That's why I read your blog!