The final real estate sales numbers are in for 2015, so let's take a look at how the market performed. The charts are interactive, so click on each for more details.
Following the housing market's best year in nearly a decade, existing-home sales are forecast to expand in 2016 at a more moderate pace as pent-up buyer demand combats affordability pressures and meager economic growth, according to National Association of Realtors® Chief Economist Lawrence Yu. Despite the expected increase in sales, Yun cites rising mortgage rates, home prices still outpacing wages and shaky global economic conditions as headwinds that will likely hold back a stronger pace of sales.
The national median existing-home price for all of 2015 will be close to $221,200, up around 6 percent from 2014. In 2016, existing sales are expected to grow between 1 and 2 percent (5.30 to 5.40 million) and prices between 5 and 6 percent.
Median Sale Price
Take a look at the median sale price for DC row homes (GREEN) and condos/coops (ORANGE) since 2009. Just 4-5 years ago, the median price for a row home was just a touch higher...and sometimes lower...than for a condo. However, the DC row home median sale price has increased from $450,000 to $650,000 over the past five years, and you'll understand why with the next chart...
Supply and Demand. Condo and row home inventory has been historically low, but demand has been historically high. The median price of a row home has rapidly increased since 2009 because there aren't enough homes on the market. The number of available condos has grown at a swift pace since 2012, which explains why we've seen a moderately healthy rate of growth for the overall condo/coop market.
What's this mean?
The DC real estate market has proven to be a steady long-term investment, particularly considering the relatively minimal impact the housing crisis had on DC in comparison to the rest of the country. The region is still one of the nation's most robust economies, largely fueled by the presence of the federal government.
Overall, the city has seen impressive population gains for more than a decade. In fact, July 2015 marked the first time the District has had more than 672,000 residents since 1977, when there were 681,800 people living in the nation’s capital. The District is now adding 1,000+ residents a month, which gives it the third fastest growth rate behind behind Colorado.
If you're thinking about selling your home, now is the time to discuss your options with a competent Realtor. The District is a very strong seller's market NOW...but for how long? In this market, how quickly your home sells is dependent on how well you do the following:
- Marketing - Your agent should use numerous marketing channels to expose your property to potential buyers...and be sure social media is a core component. Buyers like to walk into a property and envision as their own, so use a staging designer and put the personal items in storage.
- Access - Buyers will not purchase a home that they cannot see. Ideally, your home should be vacant before going on the market, but if you must live there, make it easy for buyers to drop by.
- Price - If your home is priced too high, it will not sell.
If you're thinking about buying a home, DC has proven to be a popular place that has experienced continuous growth. There are potential tax benefits to consider, such as the DC Tax Abatement Program, the Homestead Deduction, and the Mortgage Interest Tax Deduction. There are also flexible lending options for zero and low-down payment financing for borrowers. A recent study found it to be 32% cheaper to buy vs. rent after 5 years, so if you plan to be in the area for a while, buying could be your best option.
Last year we took a look at real estate sales in a few of the city's popular neighborhoods (click)