Friday, May 29, 2009

Now we're talking REAL money

Saw this news report a few minutes ago. It addresses the key weakness I saw with the $8000 first time home buyer credit, which was that it provided no immediate help to potential home buyers - you couldn't use it for a down payment or closing costs.

The Federal Housing Administration will allow the new $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit to be applied directly toward home purchase costs when using an FHA-insured mortgage, the Department of Housing and Urban Development said on Friday.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

S&P/Case-Shiller: March 2009 report

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices report for March 2009 was released today. The report says "the U.S. National Home Price Index continues to set record declines, a trend that began in late 2007 and prevailed throughout 2008."

"Declines in residential real estate continued at a steady pace into March,” says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at Standard & Poor’s. “All 20 metro areas are still showing negative annual rates of change in average home prices with nine of the metro areas having record annual declines. Seventeen metro areas recorded a monthly decline in March, with Minneapolis, Detroit and New York posting record monthly declines. On a positive note, nine of MSAs are reporting a relative improvement in year-over-year returns and nine of the 20 metro areas saw an improvement in their monthly returns compared to February. Furthermore, this is the second month since October 2007 where the 10- and 20-City Composites did not post a record annual decline. Based on the March data, however, we see no evidence that that a recovery in home prices has begun...

As of March 2009, average home prices across the United States are at similar levels to what they were in the fourth quarter of 2002. From the peak in the second quarter of 2006, average home prices are down 32.2%."

YoY, DC area prices fell 18.36% and, from February to March, prices declined 1.2%. Compared to previous months, the steepness of the price decline slope appears to be lessening. The DC area's home price index is close to that of December 2003.

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

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

MRIS April 2009 Housing Report

Last week MRIS released its data for signed sales contracts for existing home and condos in the District during April 2009. In a nutshell, sales volume up, prices down.

[Updated to correct condo data errors] What I'm seeing in April's data :

  • Despite a 13.32% increase in unit sales, dollar volume was flat, up 0.62%. Considering that 31 properties sold for more than $1MM, I interpret this to mean that prices at the market's low end are falling substantially.
  • More homes sold [up 17.82%], but at lower prices [down 21.17%]; overall dollar volume was 2.08% lower. 22 homes sold for more than $1MM.
  • YoY, condo unit sales were up 7.83%, dollar volume popped 16.76%. Average prices rose 8.28% to $453,037. I attribute much of the increase in dollar volume and average price to the 9 condos that sold for more than $1MM.
  • Based on March's sales volume, there is a 9.9 month inventory of condos listed [a 9.19% increase from March] and 8.34% month's supply for homes [a 7.38% decrease]. Compared to March 2008, the number of condos listed is up 3.2%, while home listings grew 4.42%.

Detailed Data

Average Sales Price

Dollar Volume

Transaction Volume

Saturday, May 16, 2009

District Sales: February 2009

I've completed my analysis of February 2009 sales of homes and condos, as recorded by the District. The table below shows February 2009 average and median sales prices and unit volume by zip code and the percentage change from February 2008.

Foreclosures were still a significant portion of the "sales" recorded in February, 72 of 372, 0r 19.35%. Deutsche Bank is really taking it on the chin; they "bought" 19 of those 72 properties.

The following table shows the change in prices and sales volume for each District neighborhood; few were in the black for the month. YoY, dollar volume fell by $32.7MM and 69 fewer units sold.

State of the Market

In February the District recorded 372 residential sales. The average sales price fell 1.76% and the median sales price fell 14.83%. The condo market was clobbered: unit sales were down 41.84% YoY and dollar volume tumbled 40.24%. The number of homes sold grew 2.38% and dollar volume was similarly positive, up 2.71%. Average and median sales prices for homes were flat to negative, up 0.32% and down 14.77%, respectively.

Wards 2, 3, and 6 had a positive month, experiencing price increases despite a precipitous fall in unit volume.

Condo sales ruled Wards 1 and 2, constituting 52.73% and 78.95% of units sold, respectively.

Distribution of Sales

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

Detailed Data

Sales 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.

Monday, May 11, 2009

MRIS April 2009 Housing Report: Preliminary data

MRIS released April's data for sales of existing homes in the District today. A huge number of properties sold for more than $1MM, 31 of 417 sales. Key points [YoY]:

  • Dollar volume flat, up 0.62% [flat is the new "growth"]
  • Average price is down 11.2%, median is down 10.98%
  • Unit sales volume [aggregate] up 13.32%
  • Home unit sales up 17.82%
  • Condo unit sales up 7.83%

Sales prices were 91.15% of list, about the same as March. At April's sales rate, the condo market has a 9.9 month supply listed for sale, a 10% slip from March.

Analysis forthcoming.

Friday, May 08, 2009

District Sales: February 2009 [By Neighborhood]

I've completed processing District sales for February 2009. As a first step, sales by neighborhood are displayed below. Old City II had the largest share of units sold that month, 16.94% of all unit sold in the District that month, and ditto dollar volume, 15.75%.

More to come.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

I feel fine!

I'm utterly swamped at work and at home; a short non-swine flu illness hasn't helped, either. In my spare moments, I've completed the analysis of District sales for February 2009 and will post it when I get a chance.