Montgomery Home Prices Steady in January

Montgomery Home Prices Steady in January

Pending sales suggest a shift to buyers' market could be coming

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The median price for a house in Montgomery County remained virtually stagnant in January compared to same month a year ago, according to new market data, and early indications suggest a possible shift away from a seller’s market.

The county’s median sales price in January was $400,000, a 0.3 percent dip from January 2018, according to the report released Tuesday morning by real estate listing service Bright MLS.

Montgomery County was one of only three areas in the Washington region to experience a decline, along with Fairfax, Virginia, and Alexandria, Virginia.

Median sales prices increased by at least $30,000 in Falls Church, Virginia, Arlington County and the District.

Sales in the Washington region fell 22.0 percent from December 2018 to January and 7.7 percent in a year-over-year comparison. Montgomery County closed sales fell 20.5 percent from January 2018 to January 2019, the biggest dip in the region.

Pending sales across the region were up 13.8 percent in December but declined year-over-year in January, down 3.3 percent, though Montgomery County experienced a 2 percent increase.

Monthly fluctuation isn’t as important as the trend over few months, and early indications show pending sales are continuing to climb, Bright Client Alliance Manager Adam Iobst said.

“It does signal a possible change in direction,” Iobst said. “We’re still in a seller’s market right now where inventory is low relative to the buyer demand, but given the additional inventory, we’re expecting that to head toward more of a balanced market.”

All types of property were affected by the year-over-year decline in the area, as sales of single-family detached homes were down 6.7 percent, condominiums dropped by 8.6 percent and townhomes fell 9.1 percent.

Pending sales were down for condos and townhomes, but up for single family detached homes, a continuance of a home-buying trend among the younger generation Iobst suggested following the December report.

Iobst said Montgomery County is in the middle in terms of real estate activity, and the area should continue to be a good barometer of market trends.

Homes available for sale across the Washington region declined from December 2018 to January but were up compared to January 2018, and all three home types experienced bumps in a year-over-year comparison. Rising inventory coupled with declining interest rates will create an interesting market in March and April, Iobst said.

“That spring market is really going to give us an idea of what the rest of the year will look like,” he said.

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