Monday, June 30, 2008

DC Sales: March 2008

I've [finally] finished my analysis of full value residential sales the District recorded in March 2008. One change I've made this month is to show each housing category's share of the month's dollar volume. I did this to identify categories that may be having an impact on average prices far beyond their share of sales volume.

Case in point:

  • Thirty one houses each sold for more than $1MM. That's 13.25% of all houses [rowhouses, semi- and detached] sold.
  • Those 31 houses, at a total dollar volume of $49,756,530, were 34.88% of the dollar volume for houses.
  • Excluding these 31 houses from the analysis lowers the average sales price for a house by 24.57%, to $459,704.
  • In fact, those 31 houses - 6.01% of all sales recorded in March - represent 20.5% of the District's dollar volume for the month. Excluding them from the analysis lowers the aggregate average sales price 15.3%, to $398,437 [vice $470,155]. All but two of those houses were purchased in Wards 2 and 3.

All data have been uploaded for viewing on and

State of the Market

In March 2008 the District recorded 516 residential sales. Although detached homes represented 13.18% of units sold, they comprised more than 25% of the month's dollar volume.

Only one ward, Ward 6 had higher sales volume. Wards 3 and 8 had positive growth in prices; Wards 1, 4 - 7 were negative; Ward 2 split the difference. Ward 7 had the steepest drop in sales volume, down almost 58%.

Condo sales dominated sales in Wards 1, 2, and 6. In Ward 1, 74.19% of sales were condos; Ward 2, 78.05%; and in Ward 6, 65.91%. As in February, Ward 6 accounted for the most condo sales in the District, 30.85%, followed by Ward 2 at 22.7%.

Distribution of Sales

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

Changes in the Market YoY

In the aggregate, average prices were down 8.56% and median prices fell 8.78%. The slump in sales volume continued, spiraling down 35.09%; condos fell 36.49% and homes declined 33.33%. Overall, dollar volume plummeted 40.65%; it was worse for condos, down 49.81% YoY.


The number of condos sold [existing and new] fell 36.49% YoY, worse than the February performance. Average and median prices were much lower, down 20.98% and 17.74%. Several condo buildings have come online, both new construction (e.g., CityVista) and conversions (Potomac Place Tower). Others continue to sell their remaining inventory (e.g., 1010 Mass):

Single Family Homes

Overall demand for single family housing is down 33.33%. Average prices were up 2.1% and median prices were down 4.55%. All categories of houses had lower sales volume YoY.

Purchase the Data

For $5.00, you can purchase a listing of the March 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 appraisal data to calculate sales price per square foot. This data usually have a 6-12 month lag, or worse, meaning that typically the data don'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.

March 2008 Sales ListingsAdd to Cart

Detailed Data

Aggregate by Zip Code

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

Aggregate by Ward

March 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.
  • Sales may have been recorded by the District's Recorder of Deed during the month yet may not appear in the District's real property sales database, my data source, many months later. Consequently, those sales will not be in the month's analysis.
  • 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.

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