The Latest on the Housing Market

Home values up — construction up — mortgage rates up — home prices “less up” — housing starts flat — lots of down and up in the residential housing market. What does it mean? And more importantly, what does it mean to you?

According to the August 16 issue of Eye on Housing, housing starts in July are considered to be flat for the month. And Realtor.com reports that existing home sales have slid and that “buyers may be reaching their limits.” But these are not necessarily evil omens for inventories when compared to other important stats in the residential real estate market. The “slide” in existing home sales is a whopping 0.6% — not a crisis. Further, although the EOH reports flat starts for the month, they also report that in fact the starts are up year-over-year by 6.2%. The same issue reports that townhouse construction is up because renters are looking for walkable communities. (Zillow reports that 60.8% of housing in DC is rental, fifth in the nation.)

This reflects a mild silver lining in a trend of rising mortgage rates (now up to an average of 4.6%) and rising construction costs and the threat of tariffs. One interesting trend to watch:  Zillow Research reports that sellers of high end homes are discounting their listing prices.

20878 – Gaithersburg and North Potomac

In Montgomery County, and within our home market of Gaithersburg and North Potomac, home values are steadily increasing, but supply is getting tighter. According to Bright MLS, the regional tracking system for the residential real estate industry, July median sold prices are up 6% over the same period last year, and in 20878, they are up 5.5%. But there are fewer properties on the market. Active listings in 20878 from a year ago are down 15.5% and sold listings are down 9%. A further reflection of tightening inventory:  median days on market is now 10….down 58%.

What About DC

As usual, the issue in the City is inventory. Much of the residential market in DC is essentially unchanged. According to Bright MLS, months of supply is 1.9, same as it has been over a five-year period. Median Days on Market (if you’re thinking about selling) continues at 11 (quick!), a zero percent change. The median sold price is flat. On a negative note, active listings are down 15% from a year ago. The bottom line:  difficult in DC. And be ready to pounce when you find the property you want.

The best way to navigate the ups and downs is to have in your camp a trusted real estate professional along with your mortgage banker, inspector and other consultants who have “been there” many times and can greatly ease the stress of home listing and buying.

Contact: Steve Longley, The Faulkner Team, 301-351-9514, steve@faulknerteam.com