The DC area’s housing market received a holiday gift that’s never been seen before – the highest December median sales price ever on record at $410,000.  It was an appropriate high note to end 2016, which overall was a strong and robust housing market for the metro area.

All year long inventory has been low across the region, and December was no different. Buyer demand did help push up prices and also the number of pending sales for the month to reach a decade high.

However, the number of closed sales and active listings were down compared to last December. This could be due to the normal seasonal lull at this time of year; or it also could be a time of waiting for the “dust to settle” after the 2017 presidential inauguration for both buyers and sellers.

Those sellers who did list their home last month on average sold in 29 days and for close to listing price. See below for more details on those numbers and for a 2016 vs 2015 Recap in each category.

Here is overview of the December MRIS data analyzed by RealEstate Business Intelligence:

  • December 2016’s median sales price of $410,100 was up $15,100 or 3.8% compared to last year. This is the highest December median sales price on record, topping the previous high of $408,000 seen in 2014.
  • Sales volume across the DC Metro area was $2.04 billion, down 0.9% from last December.
  • Closed sales of 4,023 were down 4.2% compared to last year.
  • New contracts increased by 1.7% to 3,538, the highest December level in a decade.
  • New listings of 3,089 decreased 0.5% compared to last year.
  • Active listings of 7,457 are down 13.7% compared to last year and down 18.5% compared to last month. This is the eighth consecutive month of declines in year-over-year inventory levels.
  • The average percent of original list price received at sale in December was 97.0%, up from last year’s 96.4% but down from last month’s 97.2%.
  • The median days-on-market for December 2016 was 29 days, five days lower than last year.

Median Sales Prices — All property types saw increases in price, with townhomes up 3.6% to $404,000, single-family detached increasing 2.1% to $490,000 and condos increasing 1.5% to $299,500.

  • December’s regional median sales price rose to $410,100, the highest December level on record, a 3.8% or $15,100 increase over last year, and 0.8% higher than last month.
  • Prices are above the 5-year average of $392,692 and the 10-year December average of $367,096.
  • Prince George’s County remains the most affordable area in the region, with a December median sales price of $265,000, up 8.6% from last December.
  • 2016 vs 2015 Recap — The 2016 regional median sales price is up 1.2% to $415,000. Prince George’s County (+8.5%) and Washington D.C. (+4.2%) lead the region in year-to-date price growth. Arlington County (-1.8%) and Alexandria City (-1.0%) are the only jurisdictions to see declines in 2016 prices versus 2015.

Closed Sales — December’s closed sales were up 44.4% compared to the market low of 2,786 seen in December 2007 and 4.2% less than the previous December 2015 high of 4,198.

  • All property types showed declines in sales this month, with condos down 9.2% to 1,005, townhome sales down 5.5% to 1,073, and single-family detached sales down 0.5% to 1,944.
  • Sales were above the 5-year average of 3,825 and above the 10-year average of 3,516.
  • 2016 vs 2015 Recap — Across the region, total 2016 sales of 53,504 are up 5.9% compared to 2015, and most jurisdictions showed increases in 2016 sales, with the largest gain in Prince Georges County, which was up 10.8% to 10,384 sales compared to 2015.

Pending Sales/New Contracts – New pending sales of 3,538 were up 1.7% compared to last year, the highest December level in a decade. They were down a normal, seasonal 14.9% compared to last month.

  • All property types saw increases in year-over-year pending sales, with condos up 4.2% to 965, single-family detached up 0.8% to 1,659 and townhomes also up 0.8% to 913.
  • Pending contracts were above both the 5-year average of 3,238 and the 10-year average of 2,949.
  • December 2016’s new pending sales were 80.2% above the December 2007 low of 1,963.
  • Pending sales activity across the region is mixed, with all of the higher volume areas showing increases except for Fairfax County, where new contracts were down 4.1% compared to 2015.
  • 2016 vs 2015 Recap — New pending contracts for 2016 were up 3.1% to 61,877.

New Listings — New listings are above the 5-year average of 2,824, but are below the 10-year average of 3,164.

  • There were 3,089 new listings in December, a 0.5% decrease over last year. Compared to last month, new listings saw a normal seasonal decline of 27.6%.
  • Condos saw a 3.8% increase in the number of new listings to 877, but single-family detached were down 1.3% to 1,441, and townhomes were down 3.6% to 770.
  • December new listings are 25.3% above the 10-year low of 2,465 seen in December 2012, and 24.3% below the December 2008 high of 4,079.
  • 2016 vs 2015 Recap — Across the DC Metro area, the 73,141 cumulative new listings added in 2016 are down 0.8% from last year.

Active Inventories — All property types showed decreases in inventory levels over last year, with townhome inventories down 21.9% to 1,300, single-family detached inventories down 12.8% to 4,060 and condos down 9.6% to 2,090.

  • Active inventories in December decreased 13.7% compared to last year to 7,457, which was also down 18.5% from last month.
  • Inventories are below the 5-year average of 7,556, and well below the 10-year average of 11,766.
  • December inventory levels exceed the 2012 low of 6,466 by 15.3%, but are down 65.7% from the peak of 21,712 seen in December 2007.
  • 2016 vs 2015 Recap — Falls Church City (+25.0%) and Washington D.C (+5.0) saw increases in inventory levels, while all other jurisdictions saw declines, with the largest in Montgomery County (-20.8%).

Sales Price to Original Listing Price Ratio — Townhomes have the highest December SP to OLP ratio of 97.8%. Condos and single-family detached homes have a SP to OLP ratio of 96.8%.

  • The regional average SP to OLP ratio for December was 97.0%, up from last year’s 96.4% but down from last month’s 97.2%.
  • December’s ratio exceeds the 5-year average of 96.6% and the 10-year average of 94.8%.
  • Over the last decade, the region’s December average sales price to original listing price ratio ranged from a low of 91.2% in 2008 to a high of 97.1% in 2013.
  • On average, homes in the District sold at 98.1% of their original listing price in December, the highest in the region, and down slightly from last year’s 98.3%.
  • The largest gap between original listing price and sales price was in Fairfax City, where the average ratio was 95.6%, down from last year’s 97.5%
  • 2016 vs 2015 Recap — The regional SP to OLP ratio of 97.5% was up slightly from the 2015 ratio of 97.3%.

Days-on-Market — Single-family detached homes and condos both had median DOM of 33, while townhomes had a median DOM of 21.

  • The median days-on-market in December was 29 days, down five days from last year but up six days from last month.
  • December’s median DOM was two days below the 5-year average of 31 days, but was well below the 10-year average of 42 days.
  • The lowest December DOM recorded in the past decade was 25 days in 2013; the highest was 73 days in 2007.
  • Regionally, the highest median DOM in December was recorded in Fairfax City at 56 days, down from 57 last year.
  • The lowest median DOM is in the District at 14 days, down from 17 days last year.
  • 2016 vs 2015 Recap — The regional median DOM of 21 days was down one day compared to 2015.
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