The Reishman Report: A Look at August Real Estate Inventory

August is traditionally a slower real estate month than July in the District – and that held true this year, according to the latest data from RBI.

August real estate inventory was down from July by about 9 percent but that’s nothing out of the ordinary for the months of July and August in recent years.

We’ve seen similar decreases in real estate inventory from July to August in each of the past five years – it’s a seasonal occurrence that hits particularly hard in the nation’s capital.

What’s more important when looking at August numbers is a slightly longer view: How did this August compare to last year?

Compared to the month of August in years past, this August had a higher median sold price and more inventory than the same month in past years. Inventory this August was 6.9 percent higher than August 2013. The median sold price for residential properties in the District in August this year was $475,000. That has increased every August for the past several years and is an increase of more than $75,000 since 2011.

That data may be showing some softening in the market. As prices have increased, more people are deciding to sell, which is pushing more inventory to the market. Simultaneously, transactions may start to wane as buyers start to see properties as relatively expensive from those price increases.

This August, residential properties stayed on the market an average of 15 days. This is an increase of 4 days from July and an increase of 3 days over August of last year. Attached townhomes are moving fastest at an average of 12 days on the market, according to the most recent data available.

Despite a slowdown overall from July to August of this year (and every year), taking a longer-view reveals sellers are seeing an opportunity to profit. We’ll have to watch closely to see how buyers react to the continued increase in prices and continuing long-term increase in inventory.

For buyers, little has changed at this point: They need to be well-prepared to move quickly with an attractive offer to get the property they want.

Anecdotally, we saw an increase in listings from our office right after Labor Day – whether that forecasts an overall increase in activity here in the District remains to be seen.