Unemployment in the U.S. has averaged at just under 10% for 2010, whereas unemployment in the D.C. region has averaged 6.7%. Not only are jobs holding steady, but D.C. area employees have seen a 5.4% salary increase over the past year, creating greater willingness to consider buying for the first time or moving up in the market. This key metric provides a better foundation for the housing market than most other regions in the US.
According to NAR, existing home sales (non-seasonally adjusted) fell 2.4% for the month of September compared to the same month last year. In the Washington DC Baltimore region, MRIS data showed a 1.9% increase over the same period. And because we publish our data faster at MRIS, the October data released earlier this week showed a 4% increase in year over year median sales price.
The US active listing inventory report by NAR expanded by 8.9% to 4,040,000 homes in September as compared to the same month last year. However, MRIS reports that active listing inventory in the Washington DC Baltimore region grew less, expanding by 5.2% to 69,829 over the same period and using the more recent October figures the pace eased, rising 4.9% to 67,840. In a more forward looking inventory trend, new properties being added to active inventory fell 9.2% in October, comprising 21.2% of active inventory, tempering the expansion of the supply of homes.
The Washington DC, Baltimore region monthly absorption rate—the number of months to sell all active listings at the current pace of sales—was 9.2 months in September, 1.5 months faster than the 10.7 US September monthly absorption rate published by NAR. This suggests that the region is outperforming the national market, with homes more likely to move through the listing to closing process more efficiently.