February 7, 2006

MULTIPLE CONTRACTS IN A SLOWING MARKET. Inventory is building in DC, but not in all submarkets. You don't see multiple contracts, except when you do. Sellers should not expect full-value contracts unless of course two buyers really want the place. We are living in a market full of conundrums, realtors report.

The long and the short of it is that the DC condo market is very soft, often down 10% or more off its peak. The problem with the peak was that there often were four or five contracts for one unit, and that drove the price way above the ask, creating an unrealistic expectation for future sellers. Now a condo can sit for weeks with no buyer, and rather rising from the ask, prices drop. Painful for sellers now. Painful for buyers who got in 6 months ago. Good for new buyers. And don't fool yourself, condos still are trading hands. Today it takes a few weeks, but not hours like it did before.

While DC home prices have flattened with some areas hotter than others. Capitol Hill is slower than Mount Pleasant, for instance. This does not mean prices jump above the ask or that sellers always get their ask, but that hosue sellers (condo sellers too!) often must deal with contingency clauses, regardless of price. Inspection clauses. Home sale contingencies. You name it.

The market is more balanced among buyers and sellers. Buyers tend to be the arrogant ones. Houses should retain their value over the next two years. Condos probably have a bit more to give in price, but once the inventory has been absorbed in two years prices could start to creep up again.

And lets not forget that DC is still rebounding. Traffic is nightmarish beyond the Beltway. The DC economy is healthy with a strong employment base. Lots of families with babies who once ran to 703 or Rockthesda, now are staying. Long-term investors will do very fine in DC whether they own a condo or a house.

If you are feeling pain because you paid too much or should have gotten out sooner, remember the first rule of real estate: time heals all wounds.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Poetic! I enjoyed this with my morning coffee before work.