Chevy Chase Up or Down?

Here is something about the trickiness of real estate statistics: last month I looked at the MRIS data for Chevy Chase (zip 20815) and the market seemed to be holding strong compared to neighboring areas. This is also what others seem to be saying. Looking at the March overall stats, it is harder to tell.


At first blush it looks like the area took a nosedive compared to one year ago, with dramatically lower average list and sold prices (more than 30%). Yet the average days on the market for all properties has dropped from 91 a year ago to 75. Also, there has been a noticeable absence of price reductions in this area over the past couple of months compared to Bethesda or Silver Spring. This could mean that real estate agents in Chevy Chase are just better at pricing – but somehow I don’t think that is the explanation! My conjecture on the stats is, and I welcome other interpretations, that all the new condos on the market in the last year have had an impact on averages where expensive single family homes have always reigned supreme.

The only reduction in the last week that I found was for a condo in The Willoughby at 4515 WILLARD AVE #1716S, now listed at $329,000 instead of $340,000. It is a 1-bed, 1-bath unit of 869 sqft, in a 25-year-old building . That puts it at $379/sqft, which is in the range for a few comparable buildings in that area (it is much higher for the new luxury condos). It includes garage space, pool and rooftop deck, and requires a monthly fee of $519 – not out of line for the area but you’d have to look at the details. At least 5 units have sold in the Willoughby in the last 6 months for an average of $348/sqft. It is a couple of blocks from all the new development at Wisconsin Place (Bloomie’s, new Whole Foods, luxury rentals, community center, restaurants) which in my view makes it more desireable for urbanites than it was a few years ago.  And of course, it is close to the Metro.

You can look up more condos in this zip code on Redfin by filtering out the houses. For all Chevy Chase searches I recommend you search by zip code and not by the name “Chevy Chase” which brings up all sorts of little sub-areas and you have to look at them separately. I have notified Redfin about this and they have promised to look into it. Chevy Chase has lots of funky little incorporated towns which matter when it comes to where you send the check for monthly refuse fees but it doesn’t help in the general house search!