Aren’t we lucky to live Inside the Beltway? Once again I was reminded of how differently the real estate and even the job market have weathered the crisis in DC when I listened to my broker on NPR yesterday. Donna Evers, together with the Washington Post’s real estate editor, Elizabeth Razzi, and Lisa Sturtevant, a professor from George Mason, was invited to discuss “A Housing Market Recovery” on the Kojo Nnamdi Show. The talk was on “healthy signs of recovery” that we might see here, and even the ever-so-cautious Razzi admitted that this is a great time to buy in the DC Metro area. (With 30-yr fixed rates below 4.5 and prices likely past the bottom, why wait if you don’t have to?)
You can listen to a recording of the show here.
Why do we seem to be more shielded? Most likely, it’s because the areas industries are more or less recession-proof: it starts with the federal government, congress, non-profits, lobbyists, zillions of international organizations, the media, the diplomatic scene and so on. All of these don’t only need housing, but they also need the infrastructure and services, the shopping, the dining—in short: many more jobs—to support their life here.
I know what some of you are thinking now: that’s why the rest of the country often envies those of us Inside the Beltway, that’s why they often think we’re out of touch with reality. (I strongly disagree with the latter; we’re following the news just as everyone else does.)
As I said, I’m fully aware and grateful.
(For those of you who are following the local market in more detail, here is The Evers & Co. June 2010 Real Estate Report:
Dollar volume of sales in June showed an increase of 13% over last June, and a survey of the first half of the year showed a whopping 23% average increase in dollar volume of sales over the first half of 2009. Prices were up 3.7% in June, and up 3.6% for the first half of the year over last year’s numbers; this indicates that we will most likely end the year with prices on the plus side. The months’ supply for June was 4.5 months and the first half of the year averaged 4 months, which is low and healthy.
The rapid increase in sales volume and the steady growth of prices indicates that we are in strong recovery in all jurisdictions. While the stock market took a tumble over the past few months and scared off some home buyers, especially in the upper brackets, the fact that interest rates are at their lowest point since the early 1970’s represents a tremendous savings for consumers in all price ranges, and should continue to fuel the housing market throughout the summer and fall.
* Statistics are taken from the Metropolitan Regional Information System for three areas: Washington, D.C.; Montgomery County, Maryland; and Fairfax County, Arlington, Alexandria and Falls Church in Virginia.
© 2012, Catarina Bannier