Arlington County Real Estate Trends Through November 2012

We’re not going to hit every zip code here, but I do want to take a look at the updated data for the Arlington County real estate market through November, 2012. Data which was just released by RBI last week.


In short, it remains pretty boring to own a condo in 22201 as the market has been flat for the last 5 years, and continues to be. All told, the single family detached market has been flat as well, but with a bit more spice along the way as the prices have fluctuated. The good news for owners? The inventory of “Active” listings available for sale has fallen below the number of “Sold” and “Pending” sales, which means for buyers the market is tight. In theory, this should indicate upward pressure on home prices. View Report



If you own a condo in Crystal City (22202) you have some good news this holiday season: In November the condo market in 22202 crossed the $500,000 average sales price mark for the first time since January 2009. There is no way to know for sure if the upward trend will continue, but this is a nice ceiling to push through. View Report



When we think of Ballston we usually think of condos and townhomes, but mostly condos.  However, the big news in 22203 is the single family detached home market which over the last two months has turned in its highest average sales prices in the five years worth of data that are available. Not only that, but since February 2012 the trend has been steadily upward rather than the erratic up and down we saw the previous four years. This steady trend could indicate a calming of the market, and this is not the only area where we are seeing such a calming trend. View Report



The good news in 22204, South Arlington, relates to the overall market activity. For the last three months the number of “pending” home sales has out paced the number of active listings at the close of each month. And specifically in November 42 listings had sold by the end of the month, while only 53 listings were fully available (ie, no active contract on the home). This is the sort of supply and demand scenario that most would expect to drive prices upward. Something condo owners in 22204 would especially like to see. View Report



In 22205, Westover, 2012 has been all about a stabilizing inventory. That said, prices have stayed fairly flat because purchase activity has stayed at a similar pace relative to active inventory this year. If you see the chart since January of this year it really has been a delicate dance between home sales, active listings, and pending home sales. At the current inventory levels, however, an even slight increase in demand could give Westover some much needed (for home owners) price growth. View Report



If you are among the many condo owners in 22206 (Shirlington), then you know what it feels like to be frozen in time. For all intents and purposes values have been stagnent for the last five years. The good news is, condos available for sale in Shirlington were at their third lowest since December 2007 and they are continuing on a downward trajectory in terms of inventory. This means less supply, so if Shirlington has any sort of spike in demand this combination should finally begin to drive prices upward. View Report



In December 2007 the average home price in North Arlington (22207) came in above $1.2m. In January 2008 the average home price fell all the way to $902k. After that April 2008 was the last time 22207 has come in above $1,000,000. I know, first world problems right? Well, a $200k to $300k hit to a home’s value is pretty uncomfortable to just about anyone. It is undeniable that competition among home buyers in 22207 can get pretty fierce, and we see prices bid up often. However, overall the values have been stationary with no consistent trend up or down. As has been the case for several zip codes above, the good news is that inventory (already considered relatively low) is clearly tightening with November 2012 representing the lowest number of available listings in five years. This should begin to put noticeable upward pressure on prices. View Report



Overall, I think there is good reason to be optimistic in Arlington. Mayan calendar and fiscal cliff aside; I especially see some potential for 2013 to finally bring some daylight to condo owners who have watched their value go nowhere in five  years. Almost across the board we are seeing inventory fall, and sales stay relatively consistent and simple economics suggests that should be a recipe for growth. Only time will tell. What I can say is if growth does start to happen, and people get some more confidence and then become concerned about missing the “low prices”, watch out! It could get interesting.

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