Year-End Trends Report from MRIS

MRIS has provided us with the Trends Report for the 4th Quarter. Lots of great detailed information about our local markets! You can read the entire report here:

Here are a few excerpts:


The Washington area housing market continues to emit mixed signals:

• Prices continue to edge downward, with steeper declines at the region’s edge

• Days on market are up slightly year-over-year

• For-sale inventory is at its lowest point in seven quarters

• Lower prices in the outer suburbs, together with record-low mortgage interest rates, are propelling higher volume

The Washington market continued to edge toward regaining equilibrium at year-end 2008. Supply and demand remain out of sync, though the region is edging toward stability. Sale prices continued to edge downward in all areas. Lower prices are attracting buyers, helping to work through a high ratio of listings to sales. However, the national economic slowdown coupled with tighter lending standards have impeded buyer activity.

Buyers remain cautious about the economy, as the region’s unemployment rate has edged up and national economic news dominates headlines. Times of distress foster opportunities, however. Washington’s for-sale housing market offers value at the ends of the price spectrum, with the middle tiers seeing flat or declining volume. The Washington area economy also continues to create jobs, which will fuel demand for housing and help the residential market regain equilibrium.

Average metro-wide prices of homes sold in the 4th quarter of 2008 were down 9.6% from the 3rd quarter and 21.6% from one year earlier. The average for all of 2008 declined 15.3% from the 2007 average. The 4th quarter 2008 average home price of $368,276 is the lowest since the 1st quarter of 2004; a high number of lower-priced sales in the outer suburbs continues to pull down the average. (See Figure 1)

Current market conditions favor buyers with access to cash or credit. As prices fall, buyers find more negotiating room, and they may be able to purchase more house than they would have a few years ago. At the same time, it is not a complete buyer’s market, especially in the closer-in Core areas where inventory is limited. Washington enjoys a growing population and employment base, which is helping the region work through a housing downturn. (See Figure 2)

Washington’s housing market is segmented geographically. Core area homes in the District, Arlington and Alexandria experienced their first significant price declines in two years in the 4th quarter of 2008, with average prices 6.6% lower than in the 4th quarter of 2007. For all of 2008, Core average home prices declined 1.0% from 2007.

The area’s Inner ring of Fairfax, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties (and Falls Church and Fairfax cities) are seeing price declines accelerate, with 12-month drops of 17.1% in the 4th quarter of 2008. Average home prices for all of 2008 were 11.3% lower in the Inner ring than in 2007.

Read the rest of the report  & see the various charts & figures here:

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