$1 million doesn’t go as far as it used to in D.C.’s market.

What’s happening: New Zillow analysis found that 11 cities and neighborhoods in the DMV have a typical home value of $1 million or more. Nationwide, the number of cities on the million-dollar list increased by 44%.

Why it matters: The appreciation rate is thrilling for sellers but discouraging for buyers who are dealing with low inventory and high prices, all while the threat of rising interest rates looms.

The intrigue: The $1 million price point is under the area’s luxury level and doesn’t guarantee a detached home in D.C.’s market, says Christine Walker, an agent with CENTURY 21 Redwood Realty. Additionally, local buyers with $1 million budgets aren’t always super-wealthy.

  • “They’re D.C. working-class … they’re not mega-rich people,” the real estate agent says. “They are saving and they are working high-powered and high-demand jobs, and getting outbid left and right.”
  • In most cases Walker tells buyers not to give up, even in this market, but for the first time in her career she’s told some buyers (with reasonable home requirements that fit their budget) to “try later,” because there wasn’t anything on the market that fit their price point.

Zoom in: Great Falls, VA; Chevy Chase, MD; Chevy Chase View, MD; McLean, VA; and Cabin John, MD have the highest typical home values in the D.C. area, according to Zillow.

  • Home values in these areas grew anywhere from 6% to 12% in 2021.

By the numbers: Bright MLS data found that in Q4 2021 the number of homes for sale was down a staggering 46% compared to Q4 2020. The median home price for D.C. was $695,000.

Yes, but: Spring could bring good news for buyers, Walker says. Spring is the most popular time to put a house on the market, and so higher inventory is expected.

“I fell in love with D.C. because it was that type of place where you could start somewhere and work your way up,” says Walker, who came to D.C. as a Hill staffer in 2002. “This is not that story right now and that’s no good because that’s the type of people that D.C. has been made of.”