Tuesday, August 26, 2008

DC Sales: April 2008

Now that I've completed most of my travel for the month [save for New Orleans, Gustav willing] and fixed a few infrastructure issues, I've [finally] finished my analysis of full value residential sales the District recorded in April 2008. It wasn't a good month - huge declines in the number of units sold and dollar volume.

Expensive homes continue to skew the data:

  • Thirty two units each sold for more than $1MM.
  • Those 32 units, at a total dollar volume of $67,577,000, were 5.49% of all units sold but 23.04% of April's dollar volume.
  • Excluding them from the analysis lowers the aggregate average sales price 18.57%, to $409,649 [vice $503,077].

All data have been uploaded for viewing on DCHomePrices.com and DCCondoPrices.com.

State of the Market

In April 2008 the District recorded 583 residential sales. In general, the average price fell 3.55% and the median price fell 6.64%. More tellingly, unit sales declined 20.14% while dollar volume fell 22.97%. However, results for the condo market looked especially dire: unit sales down 28.23% YoY and dollar volume down a whopping 38.08%. Although not as bad, single family home sales didn't escape the month unscathed. While average prices rose a slight 1.94%, the median price fell 10.94%, the number of homes sold fell 9.29%, and the dollar volume declined 7.54%.

Fell, down, lowered, declined. I need a thesaurus.

Wards 6 and 7 had higher sales volume; Wards 7 and 8 had positive growth in median prices; and Wards 3-6 had declines in average sales price. Ward 8 had the steepest drop in sales volume, dropping almost 71%. Strikingly, condo sales dominated 5 of the 8 wards.

Condo sales ruled sales in Wards 1 and 2 - no other word is applicable. In Ward 1, 67.82% of sales were condos; Ward 2, 85.09%. Ward 2 accounted for the most condo sales in the District, 32.3%, followed by Ward 6 at 23%.

Distribution of Sales

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


The number of condos sold [existing and new] fell 28.23% YoY. Average and median prices were much lower, down 13.73% and 3.88%. Among those condos that have sold:

Single Family Homes

Overall demand for single family housing is down 9.29%, as measured in unit sales. Average prices were up a meager 1.94% and median prices were down 10.33%. Semi-detached homes had a great month in terms of units sold and dollar volume.

Purchase the Data

For $5.00, you can purchase a listing of the April 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

Note: Data may not be available for all properties. My analysis is dependent upon the completeness and fidelity of the District's appraisal data.

April 2008 Sales ListingsAdd to Cart

Detailed Data

Aggregate by Zip Code

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

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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