Washington Real Estate Monthly Muse | by Nate Ward
A concise synopsis of the Washington DC real estate market
Buzz around the office
Fall has finally arrived here in the Nation's Capital and the pace at which my colleagues are moving around the office has increased noticeably. As the temperature cools, the number of real estate transactions closed typically picks up again. The yearly trend is driven in large part by Congress returning from summer recess, and this year has been no different. Despite news in the broader economy, the DC real estate market continues to be strong. As a note from the author (me), feel free to ignore the national news when it comes to local real estate markets. Trying to predict local trends from national real estate news will do you absolutely no good. It's a bit like checking the weather forecast in Denver, and then deciding if you want to wear a sweater on your tour of the White House. Market activity in Washington DC about even with this time last year, but prices here continue to rise. In fact, prices are up over seven percent from this time last year.
Local Business Spotlight
Washington,DC is one of the most highly educated cities in the country. As you might imagine, people here read a lot of books! That said, I always find it surprising how few Washingtonians use the public library system. With 24 locations throughout the city, there is bound to be one in your neighborhood. A membership is free for DC residents and gets you access to meeting rooms, computer classes, assistance for job seekers, income tax help, free wi-fi, free audio book and e-book downloads, and of course the chance to borrow all the books you can read! The main branch (MLK Jr. Memorial Library) is located right in the center of Chinatown and it is massive. If you happen to be driving, the MLK Jr. Library also offers free 15 minute parking if you want to stop in and grab a book you've been meaning read. Here is a link to the DC Public Library home page http://http://www.dclibrary.org/.
Washington DC Real Estate Trend Indicators
The number of homes sold in Washington DC in September 2010 was down 2.82 percent over the same month last year. The time properties sat on the market fell 28 days over last September, with the current average at 66 days on market. There were 3244 active listings in Washington DC in September 2010 and 6631 of those properties went under contract. Average sales price this September was $528k; which is up $26k over last year's September average.
Mortgage Rate News
Mortgage rates are historically low, which is great news if you're looking to buy in the near future. The rate on 30 year fixed mortgages fell from 4.35% on September 9th to 4.27% on October 7th. The rate drop translates into a savings of $4.70 per month for every $100k you borrow over the life of the loan. Rates are getting low to the point where they are actually hindering private investment. Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae continue to fill the void, which means everyone must adhere to their inflexible underwriting standards. When rates eventually come up a bit and encourage private investment, it is likely that the market will see a greater number of homes sold. There are plenty of very well qualified buyers out there who don't fit into Fannie and Freddie's extremely strict lending rubric but have the income and down payment to afford a competitively priced conventional loan.
This property has everything you could possibly want in a one bedroom condo. A low fee, great outdoor space, built in bookcases, a washer and dryer in unit, seven West facing windows, hardwood floors, a spiral staircase, and the condo association allows pets! The location is ideal. You step out your door to the some of the best restaurants and night life in the city, and it's only a five minute walk to the red line (Cleveland Park) as well asthe green and yellow lines (U Street). This listing went under contract within days of hitting the market, but if you know someone who is interested, similar condos right on Mintwood Place should be available soon. Check it out:(link no longer active)
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