Montgomery Median Home Prices Dip in May

Montgomery Median Home Prices Dip in May

Prices in Washington region have another record month

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Median home prices in May in the Washington region reach record heights.

Image via Flickr: Mark Moz (CC BY 2.0)

Median home prices in May in the Washington region reached the highest mark in the past decade, topping a record set in April, according to market data released Tuesday.

Sales prices were down slightly in Montgomery County compared to the same month in 2018, though year-to-date rates are still ahead last year’s average, according to a report by real estate listing service Bright MLS.

In the Washington region, prices have been rising steadily since 2016, from $430,000 to $460,000 in 2017, up to $465,000 in 2018 and now at $480,000, which can be expected to continue the rest of the year.

Montgomery County’s median price last month was $464,000 and $475,000 in May 2018.

“Prices have been going up, but they’ve been going up in a very controlled manner,” Bright MLS Vice President Andrew Strauch said. “I would completely expect similar appreciation that we’ve seen year-over-year over the next several months to stay the same.”

Strauch added that with interest rates low and inventory tight, steady appreciation is the “natural progression over time” for real estate in a good economy.

While county sales prices were down, volume by price point was more the culprit, Strauch said.

Sales between $200,000 and $299,000 jumped 17%, and sales between $400,000 and $499,000 rose double-digits, while sales between $600,000 and $699,000 fell 18% and $800,000 to $899,000 dropped 13%. Sales from $1 million to $2.5 million rose 9%.

Since the changes were more of a mix across price points instead of a small decline from similar levels, such as a clear drop from sales from $500,000 to $599,000 and between $400,000 and $499,000, depreciation likely isn’t to blame, Strauch said.

Closed sales in the region were down 0.6% from May 2018, though up 13.8% compared to April. In the county, closed sales rose 0.8% year-over-year.

Listings in the region jumped 5.3% from April to May, and the 8,397 new properties on the market were the most in May this decade. The county experienced the second-largest year-over-year increase at 9.6%, edging the District but well behind Fairfax City, Virginia at 18.6%.

Townhome and condominium listings both declined compared to April, but single-family home listings were up 5.2%. Sales prices for townhomes and condos were up slightly, though single-family home prices were flat.

Inventory declined 8.8% across the region compared to May 2018, but was up 13.6% from April. Montgomery County and the District were the only jurisdictions to experience inventory increases, by 1.6% in the county and 7.2% in D.C.

Slightly higher prices could encourage more inventory onto the market, though it hasn’t happened during the past few years of steady increases, Strauch said.

“With the inventory so lean, I’m surprised that prices aren’t appreciating a little bit faster,” Strauch said. “People have no place to move to because inventory is lean, and they only have so much of a budget that they’re willing to spend. … It’s very healthy actually.”

Charlie Wright can be reached at charlie.wright@bethesdamagazine.com

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