State of the Washington, DC, Real Estate Market – August 2009

Summer has been surprisingly busy this year in the DC real estate world. Here’s the latest:
Buyers are in a race against the clock to claim the $8000 tax credit by November 30, which has spurred activity in lower price ranges ($500k-ish and below) dramatically.
Northern Virginia inventory, in particular, is significantly lower than past years – check out this inventory graph, and the surprising uptick in average sales price just below it. There is still a lack of “good” inventory out there, resulting in a lot of very frustrated buyers who are moving quickly and at full price when they see something they like that is priced right. At least half of the offers I’ve written the past few months (and there were a lot) were competing against other buyers and, even with very solid terms, often losing to others with equally solid terms.
The lack of new construction in the area is also adding to the inventory drop. As this article notes, condo prices are down, driving sales up. But this little bit in the middle is particularly intriguing: “Because the number of projects set to deliver inside the Beltway will drop to near zero, Leisch said prices will rise sharply between 2010 and 2011.”

Even with buyers jumping to write offers, it’s important to structure the contracts to protect yourself. I was quoted in this Express article last month about creating “safety nets” for buyers.

In related news, and adding frustration to the market for both buyers and sellers, there are continuing challenges with appraisals, as noted in this WSJ article.

I’m hosting a free first time home buyer class at Arlington Central Library on Tuesday, August 18 at 7:15 pm. This month is really the latest that a buyer should start their search if they hope to make the November 30 deadline. If you or a colleague would like to attend, please email me to register so I can reserve a seat.

As always, please let me know if I can do anything to help you or your friends with your real estate needs.
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