Tuesday, January 27, 2009

S&P/Case-Shiller: November 2008 report

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices report for November 2008 was released today. It "shows continued broad based declines in the prices of existing single family homes across the United States, with 11 of the 20 metro areas showing record rates of annual decline, and 14 reporting declines in excess of 10% versus November 2007... The freefall in residential real estate continued through November 2008,” says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at Standard & Poor’s. "

The DC area's market continues to decline; YoY, prices fell 19.37%. The rate of monthly decline - the acceleration - slowed in November. However, the DC area's home price index is now between that of April and May 2004.

The charts below reflect home price data for the Washington, DC MSA.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

District Sales: September 2008

I've finished my analysis of full value residential sales the District recorded in September 2008. Key points:

  • Compared to September 2007, sales volume was up 4.49% and dollar volume was 1.11% lower.
  • In contrast to the prior year, more homes than condos sold in September, 314 versus 291.
  • Old City II led the District in sales, accounting for 17.52% of units sold and 16.73% of dollar volume, far higher than any other neighborhood in the District.
  • Condos dominated sales in Wards 1, 2, and 6.
  • Thirty five homes sold for $1MM or greater; 5.79% of units sold accounted for 19.71% of the month's dollar volume.

Foreclosures were more apparent in September's sales, too, accounting for 56 of the month's transactions. Among those institutions taking it on the chin were:

  • Bank of New York [7]
  • Countrywide [2]
  • Deutsche Bank [9]
  • Freddie Mac [3]
  • Fannie Mae [4]
  • First Horizon Home Loan [2]
  • HSBC [3]
  • LaSalle Bank [4]
  • US Bank [15]
  • WaMu [2]
  • Wells Fargo [5]

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

State of the Market

In September 2008 the District recorded 605 residential sales. The average sales price fell 5.36% and the median sales price fell 2%. The condo market continues to retrench: unit sales are down 4.59% YoY and dollar volume is down 3.85%. The number of homes sold rose a healthy 14.6%, but dollar volume was flat, ticking up 0.97%.

Wards 1-3 and 7-8 had lower unit sales YoY. Wards 2 and 7 experienced increases in average sales price; Wards 2, 3, and 7 had higher median prices. Ward 8 had the steepest drop in sales volume, dropping almost 33%.

Condo sales ruled Ward 2 [again]: 77.48%.

Distribution of Sales

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


The number of condos sold [existing and new] fell 4.59% YoY. Average and median prices were essentially flat, up a slight 0.77% and 0.95%. Among those condos that have sold:

Single Family Homes

YoY, single family home unit sales were up a robust 14.6% in September. However, the average sales price dropped 11.9% and the median sales price fell 8.39%. Despite huge gains in unit sales, average and median sales prices for rowhouses and detached homes dropped significantly: rowhouses, down 14.79% and 13.95%; detached homes, down 23.38% and 30.28%.

Download the Data

You can download a listing of the September home and condo sales recorded in the District discussed in this post for $2.50. 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.

September 2008 Sales ListingsAdd to Cart

Detailed Data

Aggregate by Zip Code

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

Aggregate by Neighborhood

September 2008 average and median sales prices and unit volume by neighborhood.

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.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A matter of perspective

Found this through a comment on a post at our friends, DCist. Per the Examiner, in an article about MRIS' December home sales report:

"Meanwhile, the District of Columbia posted a modest 12.5 percent drop [in median price], with the median price falling to $350,000 last month from $400,000 the previous year."

Since when is a 12.5% price drop in anything considered modest? The median average home price dropped by an eighth!

The MRIS data show that in 2008, the District's dollar volume was 25% lower, 26.6% fewer homes sold, and Fortune magazine says the DC area is the tenth worst real estate market in 2009, yet the puffers continue to spin positive:

"It's definitely down, but compared to the rest of the country, it's actually in pretty good shape," he [Fred Kendrick, an associate broker at Sothebys Realty] said. "The real estate market is generally in good shape — it's consumer confidence that's the issue."

Consumer confidence like "can I get a jumbo loan to buy this house that won't cost too much?" Like "will this house's value drop another 10-15% in 2009?" Silly consumers. And then you read this:

"Anthony Yezer, professor of economics at George Washington University, agreed that the Washington area's housing market has generally been better than it has nationally.

"If we look longer-term — past 10 years [ago] — the increase in housing prices has been greater here than in the rest of the country," he said. "We certainly didn't have the wild market booms" that occurred in places like Phoenix, Florida and California."

According to Case-Shiller, DC area prices more than doubled in less than 9 years - that isn't a wild market boom?

I know, my expectations for quality reporting from the Examiner are too high. I'll stop.

Monday, January 12, 2009

MRIS December Housing Report: Awful Month, End of an Awful Year

MRIS released its data for signed sales contracts for existing home and condos in the District during December 2008 last week. Not only do we know how the market "performed" that month compared to December 2007, we're now also able to see how it fared for 2008. Either way, it wasn't pretty.

Compared to December 2007, everything tanked: unit sales, dollar volume, average and median sales prices. Key YoY data points:

What I'm seeing in December's data:

  • The condo market continued to drop: unit sales and dollar volume fell 14.29% and 25.38% YoY, respectively. Home sales were no better: unit sales down 8.47%, dollar volume down 29.24%.
  • YoY, average prices for condos fell 12.94% while those for homes declined 22.7%.
  • Based on December's sales volume, there is a 7.7 month inventory of condos listed and 8.44 month's supply for homes. The good news is this is a 33.28% decrease for condos and a 25.54% decrease for homes from November, although the drop could simply reflect that sellers took/kept their homes off the market during the holidays. Compared to December 2007, the number of condos listed is up 10.34%, while home listings grew 24.74%.

For the year [December compared to January]:

  • Aggregate average prices fell 19.7%.
  • Condo prices fell 16.77%.
  • Home prices fell 22.01%.

2008 compared to 2007:

  • Total: dollar volume fell 25.02%, unit sales were down 26.61%.
  • Condos: dollar volume fell 32%, unit sales fell 33.18%.
  • Homes: dollar volume fell 20.7%, unit sales fell 19.37%.

2008 Trends

Average Sales Price

Change in Sales Price

Unit Sales Volume

Dollar Sales Volume

Detailed Data

Average Sales Price

Dollar Volume

Transaction Volume

MRIS Report for December 2008

MRIS released its report for December 2008 sales of existing homes and condos in the District. I'll do a more thorough analysis shortly, but the news is pretty bad. Compared to December 2007:
  • Dollar volume is down 27.88%
  • Average sales price is down 18.76%
  • Total number of units sold is down 11.23%
  • Condo prices are down 12.94%
  • Number of condos sold is down 14.28%
  • Number of homes sold is down 8.47%

Sunday, January 11, 2009

District Sales: September 2008 [By Neighborhood]

I've just finished processing all the photos [more than 800] of our trip to Australia and have posted a few [see an example on the right] to the web so now I have time to begin analyzing the District's sales for September 2008. I don't plan to perform a similar analysis for July and August, but I will provide a sales listing for those two months soon.

As a start, below you'll find a table listing September's sales organized by neighborhood. I use the District's assessment neighborhood names, which means you won't find Penn Quarter, Shaw, Logan Circle or NoMa in the list. Old City I and Old City II dominate sales - 10.25% and 17.52% of all units sold and 8.38% and 16.73% of total dollar volume. Although Georgetown's sales accounted for only 2.81% of September's unit sales, that was counterbalanced by the fact it represented 7.47% of the month's dollar volume.

Monday, January 05, 2009

The wonk and the realtors

A fellow blogger posted one slide from a presentation given to the Dulles Area Association of Realtors by someone from the George Mason University Center for Regional Analysis.

It's a presentation only a policy wonk could love - fourteen (!) pages of charts without a connecting story line. No agenda. No "why we're here". Just page after page of charts and data concluding with two pages of platitudes and generalities. "Foreclosures Will Take Time to Work Through". No kidding. "Fiscal Impacts of Declines in Residential Property Values Will Invoke Large Toll on Government Tax Revenues". Wow.

I'd give anything to see how it went over with all those realtors. "I like all those bar graphs, but I think a radar chart would have been much more effective."

My apologies, but these types of "baffle or dazzle" presentations just drive me nuts.

To bed...

Saturday, January 03, 2009

District Sales: 3Q 2008 [Data uploaded]

Whew! It took the last three weeks of December and the first few days of January 2009, but by God I've finally finished processing data [more than 2000 records, and those were the good ones] for sales recorded in the District during July, August, and September 2008. The data have been uploaded and can be viewed at DCHomePrices.com and DCCondoPrices.com. Analysis forthcoming once I've caught my breath.