DC housing market strengthens

Although the District recovered from the housing crash of the late 2000s more quickly than most U.S. cities, the region's uninterrupted improvement continues to surprise experts. Not only was the sales total in August higher than many previous months this years, it was also higher than the totals from the last three Augusts, according to The Washington Post. Moreover, new home contracts reached their largest total for the month in six years, and prices reached their highest point in five years. All these figures demonstrate that homes for sale in Washington, DC, are in high demand, and they are selling much faster than they have in recent years.

All told, there were 4,062 sales in August, the source reports, which is 6.4 percent higher than in August 2011. August is traditionally a slow period for home sales, so the uptick exceeded many expectations, which translated not only into higher totals for homes sold, but also into contracts signed. According to the source, there were 4,482 new contracts signed in August, a 7.5 percent increase over the same time in 2011.

Unsurprisingly, the climbing demand has contributed to a rise in the median price in the region. At $385,000, the median price didn't rise that much from July, but it is $29,000 (or 8.1 percent) higher than it was in August 2011, the source reports.

According to the Sun Gazette, the rising prices have also helped narrow the gap between asking price and selling price, often a useful metric for gauging demand. In August, homes sold for an average of 96.2 percent of their original listing price, noticeably above the 94.2 percent from August 2011.

The rising demand for homes has pushed up the median selling price and sapped the region's demand. The source reports that there were 9,191 homes listed for sale across the metro in August, a decline of more than one-third from the same period last year.

Diminishing stock, strengthening demand and low mortgage rates have combined to lower the amount of time the average house stays on the market. Homes sold in August spent an average of 56 days on the market, two weeks shorter than the average stay in August 2011, according to the source.

All of these indicators suggest that the DC housing market continues to strengthen, and people considering entering the market may want to do so sooner rather than later.