- - Thursday, March 1, 2012

Early each year, the Metropolitan Regional Information Systems releases data covering the entire previous year. The people there are the folks who manage the real estate database for our region’s Realtors, and they track all kinds of interesting things. I thought I’d share a variety of statistics with you for 10 Washington-area jurisdictions.

Regular readers saw these kinds of figures all last year, of course. But when you are looking at price numbers, in particular, monthly data is not as reliable as annual data. Home-price data for a single month is susceptible to fluctuations caused by the sale of a few very expensive or very inexpensive homes.

Also, home prices usually rise the most during the more-active spring market. So if you really want to know what happened to prices in 2011, look at annual figures.

As you can see, prices rose in the District and throughout Northern Virginia. That’s no surprise. Just look at the “Days on Market” stats. Homes sold more quickly in the District and Virginia than they did in Maryland, and that usually means buyers are competing enough to push prices up.


Another interesting data point is the ratio of sales price to list price. The differences between 2010 and 2011 for these figures were not huge, in most cases.

More interesting to me is the wide disparity among various jurisdictions. In Anne Arundel County, for example, buyers in 2010 and 2011 paid just 90 percent of the original asking price, but in Prince William County, buyers paid 99 percent in 2010 and 97 percent in 2011.

Finally, I’ll mention settlements. The number of homes that actually made it to closing was down in many jurisdictions.

It wasn’t for lack of effort among buyers. Sales contracts were up 14 percent in the region last year, but many of those contracts fell through because of problems with a loan, a home inspection, an appraisal or even buyer’s remorse. These problems can postpone or prevent settlement from happening.

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