Redfin’s monthly Washington & Baltimore Metro Area real estate insider report draws from our proprietary database of information on homes for sale and that just sold, along with insight from our agents to get a sense of what’s going on in the market right now. If you’d like to receive the report via email, just sign up.
Happy Holidays Redfinnians!
Here at Redfin, we just launched a big upgrade to the website this week that allows folks to log-in using their Facebook account. We also give our own customers an online Deal Room for tracking the escrow process and — tell your friends! — we opened the Dallas market. Plus, we upgraded our iPhone app to include the ability to run saved searches. For all the detail on the market, read on!
Inventory is down and sales are slow. The one bright spot is prices with many areas showing stabilization and price increases anywhere between 1% and 17%.
All areas have experienced a decline in inventory–one that is typical of this time of year. Compared to last year, however, inventory is mostly higher. But remember, at this time last year, the marketplace was energized by the first-time home buyer’s tax credit and its November expiration. The large increase in inventory in Alexandria is due to more condominiums on the market than this time last year and can fluctuate dramatically if a large hi-rise is put on the market.
Good Houses are Hard to Find
|County||Compared to October 2010||Compared to November 2009|
|District of Columbia||-6.2%||+3.9%|
|Fairfax City County||-9.2%||-1.3%|
|Prince George’s County||-3.3%||-3.3%|
|Prince William County||-10.2%||+4.9%|
|Anne Arundel County||-7.8%||-1.8%|
|Baltimore City County||-2.0%||-0.5%|
Change in # of Homes (SFH, condos, townhouses) for Sale on November 30th 2010
With fewer homes for sale, consumers get excited when a well-priced listing comes on the market. Kendell Walker, an agent in Prince William and Fairfax says, “I have serious buyers with closing deadlines and they’re just not finding what they want. Then when they find it, it’s a competitive situation. They’re very frustrated.” Similarly in Montgomery County, Nick Chaconas says, “You can’t wait three days when a house that is priced right comes on the market. One of my buyers was very disappointed that it was gone by the time they made their decision.”
Season Puts Skids on Sales
Sales are dramatically slower than this time last year, mostly due to the tax credit which inflated sales last year. But, sales have declined since October in all areas except Alexandria, a trend that is indicative of winter.
In Baltimore, the standoff between buyer and seller is even more weighted to the buyer’s side with inventory higher in Baltimore and Howard Counties relative to this time last year. “Buyers are on the sidelines waiting to pull the trigger,” says Taylor Connolly, an agent in the Baltimore region. “Sales have slowed although prices are inching up or staying flat. I think this is very significant if we see similar numbers in December,” adds Taylor. The next few months will let us know if this a fluke or a bona fide trend.
|County||Compared to Oct. 2010||Compared to Oct. 2010 Adjusted for # Weekdays||Compared to November 2009||Compared to November 2009 Adjusted for # Weekdays|
|District of Columbia||-21.2%||-24.7%||-38.6%||-41.4%|
|Fairfax City County||-4.5%||-8.9%||-38.2%||-41.0%|
|Prince George’s County||-32.6%||-35.6%||-44.8%||-47.3%|
|Prince William County||-11.5%||-15.5%||-44.2%||-46.8%|
|Anne Arundel County||-28.9%||-32.1%||-40.3%||-43.0%|
|Baltimore City County||-22.4%||-25.9%||-17.1%||-20.8%|
Change in # of Homes (SFH, condos, townhouses) That Sold in November 2010
A Bright Spot in Prices
Prices continue to stabilize or increase in all areas except Anne Arundel and Baltimore City. The closer in areas including DC, Montgomery and Fairfax Counties are all experiencing substantial price increases.
In the inner core regions of DC, Alexandria and close-in Montgomery, price stability and low inventory have shifted the tide on well priced homes to the seller’s advantage. “We’re still seeing very competitive scenarios,” reports Fernando Ferrufino, an agent in DC. “However, in the suburbs, it’s a well-matched battle with sellers pricing their homes 5% above their expected sales price and buyers still making very low offers.” Kendell Walker sees clearly that, “there are some serious buyers out there and when the house is priced right, they’re ready to pounce.”
|County||Median Price* in
|Median Price Change
since Oct. 2010
|Median Price Change
since November 2009
|District of Columbia||$469,370||+1.2%||+21.9%|
|Fairfax City County||$394,500||+10.3%||+21.1%|
|Prince George’s County||$185,713||-7.1%||-14.3%|
|Prince William County||$271,700||+4.9%||+11.0%|
|Anne Arundel County||$289,491||-7.0%||-1.4%|
|Baltimore City County||$79,026||-6.5%||-29.8%|
Change in Median Price of Homes That Sold in November 2010
*Median Price represents a weighted average of the individual median prices for single-family homes, condos, and townhouses. See our spreadsheet for individual breakdowns.
This increase in price has not yet trickled down to the conscious of most buyers.
Even when sellers acquiesce on their price, buyers are looking for more. “At home inspections, buyers continue to test the seller’s resolve,” says Bryan Waters, an agent in Maryland. “They’re jabbing away, nickel and diming for home repairs, seemingly with amnesia about what they did to the seller on price negotiation. And buyers aren’t afraid to walk away,” says Nick Chaconas. “For a small amount, they’ll cut off their nose to spite their face.” But with the dramatic decline in sales in most areas since last year, it’s no wonder the buyers feel they’re in the driver’s seat.
Bryan has noticed that the recent uptick in interest rates has created urgency for some buyers. “Recently the increase in rates affected the qualification of one of my buyers, causing him to back out of the contract. But when the seller heard, he reduced his price to our original offer price and the sale moved forward,” says Bryan.
Maybe next month, we’ll see a fairer fight between buyers and sellers but I wouldn’t expect any big hugs and kisses this holiday season.
That’s it for the last Washington Metro Area report of 2010! Want to dig into the raw data? Just download our spreadsheet. Questions or comments? Just post ‘em below! Thanks as always for your Redfin support, and happy solstice!
Redfin Washington & Baltimore Metro Market Manager