Is it really so bad, so dead? Why are there so few houses on the market? Well, the 3rd Quarter of 2010 is over, and it's time to look at some comparative statistics. As every season is different when it comes to some enduring factors in DC real estate, we will compare to the same quarter of the previous year.
First of all, the impression that few people are putting their homes on the market at the moment seems correct. In comparison to the 3rd Quarter of 2009, closed sales have dropped 50% (from a total of 4 in 2009 to a total of 2 this year). Similarly, the number of new homes entering the market in Colonial Village and the number of new contracts on existing listings went down as well. The graphic on the left demonstrates the trend impressivly.
So, in a neighborhood with traditionally very low turnover it's no wonder that it appears from the outside that absolutely nothing is happening.
But let's look how prices have developed. In 2009, the average 3rd Quarter sale closed for $777,750 (range: $552,000-1,109,000) while in 2010, the average price was $702,500 (range: $605,000-800,000). In all fairness, however, it should be pointed out that such small samples easily get skewed--the 3rd Quarter 2010 homes were smaller than the ones sold last year (an average of 3.5 bedrooms and 3 baths versus an average of 4 bedrooms and 3.5 baths).
Another number that reflects market activity are the average days (DOM) a property spends on the market before it goes under contract. For the 3rd Quarter of 2009, this was a little under 2 months (59 days, ranging from 4-111) while this year, it took more than 3 months to sell a house (111days, range 13-209).
Last but not least, we can examine what pricing stragies sellers and their agents embrace when they go on the market. 2009 homes closed for 96.4% of the original asking price, while 2010 homes went for 90.7%.
Altogether, the situation is not bad at all--for either side. The main problem here, however, is that many sellers who have a choice are afraid to put their house on the market at a time they perceive as possibly the "bottom of the market." For eager buyers who want to take advantage of the great interest rates, it seems exceedingly difficult to find suitable houses. In many DC neighborhoods, multiple offers on well-priced listings are once more very common.
(Statistics for Colonial Village's twin neighborhood of Shepherd Park to follow.)
© 2012, Catarina Bannier