DC Housing Market Surges Back

by 18 Mar 2013

While it’s clear that America’s urban housing markets have been making an exceptionally strong recovery thus far in 2013, it’s clear that certain metros are rebounding with notable speed. The overwhelming amount of these urban markets is distinguished by either a high population of 30-something professionals, or by a stalwart job market. These two quantifiers are both highly pronounced in the Washington, DC metro area, and as a consequence the city’s residential property is showing marked value growth.

According to a new report from the Washington Post, the volume of new homes entering the DC selling market has accelerated rapidly. As the Post articles disclosed, a recent tally from RealEstate Business Intelligence quantified new listings across all DC property segments having risen by 13% last month. This is especially heartening news considering DC’s housing market has been somewhat stagnant throughout the past few months. Considering that sales volumes have risen nationally, it was somewhat curious to note that the DC metro area wasn’t rising with the tide. However, the quick upsurge in local sales seems nothing but a positive sign for the local market.

As the Washington Post report notes, the suppression in sales volume was likely a consequence of apprehension around fiscal meandering on Capitol Hill (both the Fiscal Cliff and the recent Sequester). Cautious property owners have held back sales for the past six months, and now that much of the political unease has settled it seems they’re returning to the seller’s market en masse. The DC sales inventory had been resting at a historic low, but the combination of political quiet and a general trend towards rising values has coaxed a bulwark of new sellers to the field.

In fact, it seems that the median price of a home sold within the DC metro rose by a solid $350,000 in February, effectively a 3.4% rise above that tallied in January. In line with the trend towards an overwhelming rally in asking prices, the average asking price of property sold in Washington, DC jumped 12% last month above that recorded in February 2012. As a decade-retrospective comparative, the sale-to-list price ratio rose to the highest since June 2006, resting at 97.1% last month.

Considering recent trends, there’s a respectable chance that both sales and real estate values will continue to climb throughout the DC metro. Interest rates remain low, and their continued suppression makes the prospect of taking out home loans a significantly easier prospect for first-time buyers. In addition, single-family homes showed the greatest gain in price, and with DC’s local economic fortune and young professional culture, there seems a large and ready market for first-time home purchases. While the region’s recovery in both sales volume and price occurred across the board, area’s that typically attract professionals showed the greatest rise in prices, with both Fairfax and Falls Church performing exceptionally well in terms of property values.

Property investors would also be well advised to note sales activity among personal condominiums, as these remain the most widely bought home types thus far in 2013. Currently, condominiums make up nearly 30% of all homes purchased in the past two months, and considering their density in sought-after neighborhoods such as Dupont and Adams Morgan, they’ll likely continue to retain exceptional buyer appeal.


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