“DC Metro [Region] Closes 2012 with Double-Digit Price Growth” shouts the headline of an article posted on the home page of Real Estate Business Intelligence on Jan. 10. It’s true that 2012 was a better year for D.C. Metro real estate, with median housing prices up 10.5 percent over 2011, and the number of sales up 4.9 percent across all market segments. Condo sales were up 7.3 percent over last year and achieved a median increase of 10.4 percent right up there with the overall housing price median.
But when you dig deeper into the article, you find that, while year-over-year figures for prices and numbers of sales are higher, the number of new sales contracts year-over-year has declined, especially in the last two months. Further, the sales inventory has declined, with active listings dropping to below 7,000 for the first time in seven years and with new listings in December being the lowest on record.
Yet, as mortgage interest rates continue to drop, there are more buyers out there looking for a place, leading to increased competition and (often) bidding wars for the limited inventory that’s available.
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