State of the Arlington and Northern VA Housing Market

Question: How is the real estate market doing so far this year?

Answer: 2020 ended with a surging single-family and townhouse market, especially further west, from buyers looking for more house and yard space, but a struggling condo market from an unusually high volume of condo inventory for sale and tepid condo demand. So what have we seen in the first six weeks of the 2021 real estate  market?

Single-Family and Townhouse Prices Up

The single-family and townhouse market is appreciating even further above where prices settled in 2020, with more competition (double-digit multiple offers). Through deals I’ve been involved in and conversations with colleagues, my unofficial estimate is that many single-family homes and townhouses are selling for 5-10% more than 2020 prices. I’m seeing this type of appreciation at all different price points too.

Condo Market Better, Slow Improvement Expected

The condo market worsened monthly from about June 2020 – November 2020, but reversed course a bit in December and remained slightly improved in January. I see the condo market picking back up at a slow pace and likely to continue improving through the spring, as demand hopefully/probably picks up, but I don’t see a return to the pre-COVID condo market any time soon.

Let’s take a look at some key charts for Arlington and Northern VA (Fairfax and Loudoun County)…

Arlington Months of Supply

Months of Supply is one of my favorite metrics because it combines supply and demand. The lower the Months of Supply, the more favorable a market is for sellers. Housing economists say that a well-balanced market has about six months of supply.

Single-family homes in Arlington hit an all-time low for Months of Supply in December and January, coming in at just a touch over one month, while the condo market has settled into just under 2.5 months of supply, which is about average for Arlington condos, save the two years after the Amazon HQ2 announcement.

New Listing Volume in Arlington

The number of condos listed for sale in January remained high, coming in 66.7% higher than January 2020. The number of single-family homes listed for sale remained stable, with an increase of just 11.9% over January 2020.

Dramatic Shift in Fairfax and Loudoun

If you think buying a house in Arlington is difficult, just try buying a house in Fairfax or Loudoun County, where single-family Months of Supply has dropped below one month to 2-3 weeks! This represents a much bigger shift in market conditions than what we’ve experienced in Arlington, which has been more competitive for longer.

Northern VA Condo Supply

All three Northern VA counties charted below (Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun) have seen a spike in condo supply over the last 6+ months, but condo absorption has actually increase by enough in Loudoun County to not only offset the increase supply, but cause Months of Supply to drop to 10+ year lows of two weeks. Arlington County and Fairfax County have gone the other direction, with significantly higher Months of Supply.

If you’d like to discuss buying, selling, investing, or renting, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at

Most Expensive Homes Sold in the DMV in 2020

Answer: Happy holidays to you and yours! I hope you are finding new ways to enjoy the season and connect with family and friends this year. I’m going to keep my final post of 2020 light and take a look at the most expensive sales in the DMV in 2020, something we all enjoy doing!

Despite its Missing Ultra High-End Market [sarcasm], Arlington boasts the most expensive sale in the DMV in 2020, by a LOT, with the sale of a massive estate along the Potomac River for $45,000,000. This price tag earns the new owner over 31,000sqft of living space, 3.2 acres, a 30-car garage, and gorgeous views of the Potomac River.

Listing and photo by Russell Firestone, TTR Sotheby’s International Realty (409 Chain Bridge Rd, Arlington)

Top 5 Most Expensive Sales in Arlington

Arlington’s five most expensive sales in 2020 include the region-leading $45M sale mentioned above and four sales ranging from $2.88M-$3.35M, including two condos in Rosslyn’s iconic Turnberry Tower.

Listing and photo by Nancy Taylor Bubes, Washington Fine Properties (1881 N Nash St #2301, Arlington)

Top 5 Most Expensive Sales in Alexandria

Alexandria’s five most expensive sales in 2020 include four homes in Alexandria’s new waterfront condo and townhouse community, Robinson Landing, and one incredibly unique single-family home on ¼ acre in the heart of Old Town (pictured below).

Listing and photo by MaryEllen Rotondo, McEnearney Associates (217 S Fairfax St, Alexandria)

Top 5 Most Expensive Homes in Fairfax County

Fairfax County’s five most expensive sales in 2020 include three homes in Great Falls and two homes in Mclean ranging from $5.6M-$24M. Pictured below is what $7M gets you in Great Falls – over 20,000sqft, 5 acres, and stunning landscape and architectural design.

Listing and photo by Piper Yerks, Washington Fine Properties (576 Innsbruck Ave, Great Falls)

Top 5 Most Expensive Homes in Loudoun County

Loudoun County’s five most expensive sales in 2020 include sales ranging from $3.75M-$16M. At a price tag of $16M, you could have secured a 1,550+ acre cattle farm in Upperville, surrounded by vineyards and a short drive to Middleburg.

Listing and photo by Kathryn Harrell, Washington Fine Properties (33542 Newstead Ln, Upperville)

Top 5 Most Expensive Homes in Washington DC

Washington DC’s five most expensive sales in 2020 range from $6.1M-$17.75M, with Georgetown commanding four of those sales. Want a 10,000sqft home with a detached 2-car garage and 6/10th of an acre in Georgetown? That’ll run you $17.75M in 2020.

Listing and photo by Michael Rankin, TTR Sotheby’s International Realty (1405 34th St NW, Washington DC)

Top 5 Most Expensive Homes in Montgomery County

Montgomery County’s five most expensive sales in 2020 range from $5.475M-$15M, including my personal favorite, a $10M mansion on Chevy Chase Circle sitting on nearly two acres (pictured below).

Listing and photo by Daniel Heider, TTR Sotheby’s International Realty (9 Chevy Chase Cir, Chevy Chase)

Top 5 Most Expensive Homes in the DMV, Outside the Greater DC Metro

The DMV’s five most expensive sales in 2020, outside of the greater DC Metro area, range from $6.2M-$10M, including four homes fronting the Chesapeake Bay. My personal favorite, pictures below, is a 36 acre waterfront estate just outside of St. Michaels, and includes a WWII replica fighter plane hung from the ceiling of the great room.

Listing and photo by Doc Keane, Washington Fine Properties (26310 Saint Michaels Rd, Easton)

I hope that was a fun tour through 2020’s most expensive homes in the DMV! Happy New Year everybody!

If you’d like to discuss buying or selling strategies, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at

Visualizing Arlington’s Explosion in Homes Listed for Sale

Question: Did the volume of homes listed for sale recover after a slow spring/summer?

Answer: There has been a surge of new inventory coming to market since July. For condos, it has been historically high, by a wide margin, resulting in a 20% increase in 2020 over the 20-year average. While the single-family and townhouse listing volume has spiked since July too, overall, we’re just .5% above our 20-year average.

In July I wrote a column with charts showing how low Arlington’s listing volume was compared to the 20-year average and I made some predictions that the inventory we lost in the spring/early summer would return in the late summer/fall. This week we’ll take a look at how those predictions played out and dig further into listing volume over the last four months and overall in 2020.

Inventory Comes Back, And More

Historically, March-June bring about the highest listing volume, but this year, due to COVID-19, many homeowners held off on putting their home on the market. In July, I predicted that a lot of the “missing” inventory from March-June would be listed from July-October, which would result in a delayed spring market.

As it turned out, the number of condos listed from July-October FAR exceeded the amount of “missing” inventory from March-June, by nearly 3x! For single-family homes and townhouses, July-October listing volume also exceeded the amount of “missing” inventory from March-June, but by a much smaller margin.

In the chart below, missing and excess inventory is calculated off of the 20-year average for monthly listing volume.

Condo Volume at Historical Levels, By a LOT

Just how extreme have the last four months of listing volume been in the condo market? There were 801 condos listed for sale from July-October. Prior to that, the highest four-month listing volume was 650 units from April-July 2004.

Segmenting Listing Volume by Zip Code and Bedroom Count

Overall, the 2020 single-family home and townhouse listing volume is up just .5% over the 20-year average through October and the 2020 condo listing volume is up 20% over the 20-year average through October.

Below are charts breaking down how changes in listing volume have been distributed by zip code and bedroom count. My theory, prior to charting the data, was that there would be a bigger increase in listing volume for smaller properties (1BR over 2BR condos, 2-3BR over 4BR-6BR single-family/townhouses), but it turned out to be the opposite. Go figure!

Current Supply Levels

The market has been able to absorb the extra single-family and townhouse inventory, despite it coming during a time of year with historically lower demand. However, the market hasn’t come close to absorbing the condo inventory, which continues to build at a rapid rate.

See the below chart of changes to Months of Supply (measure of supply and demand, higher MoS favors buyers) over the last three years between single-family homes and condos.

The result is that the single-family and townhouse market remains competitive, with prices remaining stable through the fall and winter, while the condo market shifts to a more favorable market for buyers, creating substantial downward pressure on condo prices.

If you’d like to discuss buying or selling strategies, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at

$2,000,000 Isn’t What It Used To Be

Question: Is it just me or have there been a lot more $2,000,000+ homes for sale this year than in the past?

Answer: The $2,000,000 mark used to represent a significant resistance point for homes in Arlington, reserved only for the best-of-the-best and difficult to sell, but we’ve seen a surge of $2,000,000+ homes for sale in Arlington this year and demand to absorb it.

One of the more interesting differences between Arlington’s real estate market and other expensive markets is that while a huge percentage of our homes sell for over $1M, we have very few homes that sell over $3M (link to previous article). For some context, there have been 82 single-family homes listed for sale for $2M-$3M in Arlington in 2020, but just 19 listed for sale/sold since 2010 for over $3M (four of them are currently for sale).

Below is a chart showing the number of single-family homes sold that were listed for $2M-$3M since 2010. 2020 also includes homes currently for sale or under contract that are listed for $2M-$3M (and we still have 5 weeks left in the year for more homes to be listed).

Here are some interesting details about the $2M-$3M single-family home price point:

  • The average sold price to original asking price from 2015-2019 was nearly identical, ranging from 94.1%-94.7%, but this year that average shot up to 96.5%. Also, from 2015-2019, the average days on market was 93 days, but in 2020 it dropped to 58 days. Both of these changes indicate a much stronger appetite from buyers for $2M+ homes.
  • Since 2010, 92.3% of homes were/are located in the 22201 (20.1%) and 22207 (70.2%) zip codes
  • I was surprised that only about half of the sales are new construction. I would have expected new construction to make up a much higher percentage of these high-price sales.
  • Prior to 2019, a $2M+ home usually meant at least 1/3 of an acre, but in 2020 it brings an average of just ¼ of an acre
  • Bedroom/Bathroom count has remained pretty consistent over the years, with an average of 5-6 bedrooms, five full bathrooms, and one half bathrooms
  • If you’d like to click through the $2M-$3M single-family homes since 2010, here’s a link!

If you’re as curious as I was about what the chart for $1M-$1.999M single-family homes looks like, it’s quite different. Enjoy!

If you’d like to discuss buying or selling strategies, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at