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D.C. home inventory dropped 27 percent in last five years

There isn’t enough inventory in Washington, D.C. to keep up with demand. This is according to Trulia, who reported that inventory across the nation has fallen for the past eight consecutive quarters. Over the past year, the number of homes on the market in the U.S. fell 5.1 percent.

From January 1, 2012 to January 1, 2017, the number of starter and trade-up homes fell 8.7 percent and 7.9 percent, respectively. For premium homes, the number decreased by 1.7 percent.

Compared to this time last year, homebuyers of starter and trade-up homes have to spend 2.9 percent and 1.6 percent more, respectively, to nab a listing. Premium homebuyers only need to pay 0.9 percent more.

When looking at Washington, D.C. between January 1, 2012 to January 1, 2017, Trulia reported that the median listing price for a starter home rose 43.39 percent. For a trade-up home, the median listing price grew 25.74 percent. Finally for a premium home, the median listing price increased by 25.35 percent.

During the same time frame, the inventory for starter, trade-up, and premium homes dropped by 42.31 percent, 25.72 percent, and 11.56 percent, respectively. When looking at the entire inventory as a whole, the number dropped 27 percent.

Now, the median income needed to buy a median-priced starter home is $40,454, while for a trade-up home the number totals $98,040. For a premium home, the median income needed is $198,454.

Compared to this time last year, homebuyers of starter homes have to spend 0.15 percent more. Buyers of both trade-up and premium homes have to pay 0.1 percent more.

To compile this data, Trulia looked at the number and share of inventory of homes, the change in share and number of these homes, and the affordability of those homes for each type of buyer, whether that be starter, trade-up, or premium.

Photo via NCinDC


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Median home prices in the DC metro area reach February high as inventory tightens

February was a hot month for the DC metro area’s housing market with both median home prices as well as closed and pending sales hit 10-year February highs. However, the area continued to struggle to meet homebuyer demand with a shrinking housing supply last month, according to the recently released DC Metro Area Housing Market Update by RealEstate Business Intelligence (RBI).

Median home prices in the DC metro area climbed 5.2 percent year-over-year to $399,700, the highest February total over the last 10 years, says RBI data.

All property types recorded year-over-year price gains in February, with condos increasing 10 percent to $300,000, single-family detached homes up 5.5 percent to $480,000 and townhomes increasing 5.2 percent to $399,700.

February’s median prices are above both the 5-year and 10-year averages of $379,940 and $351,160, respectively. The metro area’s median price is also 33.2 percent higher than the 2011 February low of $300,000, and 2.5 percent above 2015’s previous February high of $390,000.

Sales volume soared nearly 17 percent over last year, totaling almost $1.6 billion in February. Closed sales were up 7.8 percent to 3,098 from last year, a 10-year February high. Pending sales hit 4,656 in February, up 2.7 percent from last year and also recording a new February high.

Active listings were down almost 10 percent year-over-year in February, marking the 10th consecutive month of year-over-year inventory declines. Last month’s inventory was at its lowest February level since 2014, according to RBI.

But, active listings were up nearly 4 percent from the previous month in February.

Sellers received 97.4 percent of their original listing price in February, up from last year’s 96.7 percent — but it was only slightly higher than the 97 percent recorded in January.

Homes were listed for an average of 28 days in February, 16 days fewer than the previous year.

The report uses data provided by MarketStats by ShowingTime, and is based on listing activity from the listing service MRIS. The data was analyzed by economist Elliot Eisenberg.

Click here to read the entire report.


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D.C. offers more assistance to first-time home buyers

Rising prices in the District have led many home buyers, especially first-timers, to either continue renting or to shift their house-hunting to outside the city either in Northern Virginia or suburban Maryland.

Jurisdictions in both of those areas generally have incentives for first-time buyers, while the District mainly offers help financing loans. Moreover, while the suburban jurisdictions’ annual property taxes are higher, their transfer taxes at closing are general less expensive than the District.

Now the D.C. Council is proposing incentives that could save first-time home buyers thousands of dollars. Earlier this month, the council gave preliminary approval to a proposal to reduce the recordation tax — what buyers pay to transfer the property from seller at the closing — to a flat rate of 0.750 percent of the sales price for all properties regardless of price. Currently, buyers pay 1.1 percent of the sales price for properties $400,000 or less and 1.45 percent of the sales price for properties higher. The council is scheduled to take a final vote on the measure Dec. 20.

At the same time, D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) is introducing more down-payment and closing-cost assistance for first-time buyers.

“The improvements we are introducing deliver on my promise to ensure safe and affordable housing for more Washingtonians,” Bowser said in a statement Monday. “Come Jan. 1, when these new enhancements go into effect, we will change the way home buying works in the District.”

The council’s proposal seeks to benefit not only buyers who’ve never owned a home, but people purchasing a principal residence in the city for the first time regardless of whether they have owned property elsewhere.

Under the current law, a person buying a $400,000 home would pay $4,400 in recordation taxes. Under the proposal, that same buyer would pay $3,000 in recordation taxes.

Currently, a person purchasing home at $800,000 would pay $11,600 in recordation taxes. Under the proposal, that same buyer would pay $6,000 in recordation taxes.

(In the District, sellers pay a transfer tax at the time of closing. That tax will remain at 1.1 percent of the sales price for properties $400,000 and less and 1.45 percent of the sales price for properties more than $400,000.)

In Maryland, first-time home purchasers are offered a credit that exempts them from the buyer’s portion of transfer tax of 0.25 of the sales price. This program significantly reduces the amount of cash Maryland first-time buyers need to bring to the closing.

Virginia’s transfer taxes are lower than those in Maryland and the District, but property taxes are much higher in comparison. Generally, this means that the cash to close a property for a buyer may be less while the monthly payment for your total mortgage may be slightly higher. Still, this lower barrier for ownership may lead first-time homeowners to purchase in Virginia rather than the District.

In the District, assistance for first-time home buyers mainly has been limited to financing programs, including DC Open Doors and the Home Purchase Assistance Program (HPAP). However, sellers found the stringent requirements tedious, thereby making buyers who use them less attractive.

The proposal to reduce the recordation tax, though, would have little negative impact on sellers. It could, however, prompt some sellers to offer fewer credits to first-time buyers. Often times, first-time buyers request a credit from the seller to assist with paying some of their closing costs. This weakened a buyer’s offer by reducing the seller’s bottom line after paying off their mortgage and real estate costs (such as transfer taxes and Realtor expenses) especially in competitive neighborhoods where multiple offers were common.

Bowser announced that the city plans to enhance four programs targeting first-time and low- and moderate-income buyers:

  • The city will boost spending for home buyer programs by 50 percent, allowing 75 more families to participate in 2017 than in 2016.
  • The city will increase the maximum loan amount under HPAP — which provides down-payment and closing-cost help — to $80,000 from $50,000.
  • The city will make the repayment terms for the HPAP loans more attractive to low-income borrowers. Currently, the programs give borrowers a five-year deferral. But when the period is up, borrowers are hit with higher payments. For low-income buyers earning below a certain income threshold, the loans will be deferred until the property is sold or refinanced.
  • The city will add a second HPAP administrator to implement the changes and help operate the program more efficiently.

Still, the changes aimed at increasing the number of HPAP buyers in the marketplace won’t help everyone. The changes will do little to help buyers seeking homes in areas of the District with higher price points in competitive markets given the time to close HPAP loans may be longer than competing conventional options.

Since the Council has limited the credit to Adjusted Median Income I wanted to provide the most current figures to you

  • The 2016 AMI for Washington, DC, as determined by HUD is $108,600.
  • 180% of AMI would be $198,480
  • Then, based on family size factors the income limits for the Bill are as follows –
  • Single (multiply by 0.7) = $136,836
  • Two Person (multiply by 0.8) = $158,784
  • Three Person (multiply by 0.9) = $178, 632
  • Four Person (multiply by 1.0) = $198,480



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They’re All Here: Paint Colors of the Year for 2017

Color-management company Pantone Color Institute recently announced its Color of the Year for 2017, a vibrant spring-green hue called Greenery. If you’re among those who find Greenery a bit too bright to be used in or on your home, take heed. Paint manufacturers have chimed in with their various selections for Color of the Year and, for themost part, it’s a much mellower bunch. Deep grayish blues and purples dominate, but some warm neutrals and bold yellows are also offered up.


It’s worth pointing out that homeowners are in no way expected to change the color scheme of their home with each passing color trend. Where these selections can be useful, however, is when there’s a particular color being touted that you really like. It becomes much easier to find furnishings and decorative accessories that coordinate with the favorite hue because it’s trending.

Shown here are the various 2017 paint colors of the year, from top to bottom: Shadow, from Benjamin Moore; Violet Verbena, from PPG Paints; Byzantine Blue, from Glidden; Cloudberry, from Olympic; Kettleman, from Kelly-Moore; Poised Taupe, from Sherwin-Williams; and Honey Glow, from Dunn-Edwards.

Benjamin Moore

Benjamin Moore’s selection, Shadow, is a deep, dark purple-gray hue that’s quite a shift from its 2016 choice, Simply White. I think it’s a beautiful hue, but it needs to be used with care as it can easily make a space go gloomy. Using it in small doses or in spaces we don’t tend to linger in, such as a stairway, can add a nice dash of drama to a home without bringing everyone down.
PPG Paints

If Shadow is too shady for you, give PPG Paints’ Violet Verbena a look. It’s also a purple-gray hue but one that’s much lighter and brighter. It’s not a pastel but has a soft, soothing vibe nonetheless. I think it’s a terrific color for a bedroom or other space where a peaceful, easy feeling is desired.


Glidden’s pick, Byzantine Blue, is also a purple-gray, but this one has a bit more blue in it than the others. It has a neutral quality due to the heavy dose of gray it has, so it works well with lots of other hues in a home.

Olympic goes even lighter and wispier with its selection of Cloudberry. Again, the addition of gray here keeps it from going pastel, so it’s a nice choice in a bedroom, whether it’s a kid’s room or the master suite.


For those who prefer strict neutral hues, Kelly-Moore is offering Kettleman as its choice for 2017. It’s a dark gray that has a touch of warmth to it, perfect for those who find true gray too chilly. Like Shadow, it’s a rather dark color, so it needs to be used in small doses or paired with plenty of contrasting light hues.

Sherwin-Williams’ choice of Poised Taupe is actually one of my go-to deep neutrals. In my color consulting business I’m seeing a bit of a homeowner revolt against the cool gray hues that have been so popular the last few years, but they aren’t exactly embracing beige again, either. Taupe — essentially a cool medium brown — is the perfect compromise between warm and cool.


Honey Glow from Dunn-Edwards is like a burst of sunshine amid the cooler, moodier hues from the others. It’s a happy, welcoming hue that works well in a kitchen, living room or on the front door.

A couple of paint companies are promoting a slew of colors for 2017, rather than just one. Behr has chosen 20 hues that are divided into three categories: Comfortable, Composed and Confident. As a lover of bold color, I am most drawn to the Confident palette, shown above. Think about using these saturated colors in smaller doses, such as for an accent wall, in a niche or on the ceiling only, rather than on all four walls in a room.


Valspar has put forth a mix of neutrals and bolder hues with its 12 selections for 2017’s hottest hues. One of my favorites of its neutral offerings, Soft Silver Sage, is shown above.



Among Valspar’s bolder color choices, I love the warmth and vibrancy of Here Comes the Sun, shown on the walls above.

Your turn: See anything you like? Which color is your favorite? Tell us in the Comments.

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DC Public Library Releases List of “What Washingtonians Read in 2016” – What was your favorite read this year?


From DCPL:

“This year, more than 3 million items have been borrowed or downloaded from the DC Public Library. These are the most popular titles by type and format.



  1. The Girl on the Train; Paula Hawkins
  2. All the Light We Cannot See; Anthony Doerr
  3. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao; Junot Díaz
  4. Americanah; Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  5. Fates and Furies: A Novel; Lauren Groff
  6. All Aunt Hagar’s Children; Edward P. Jones
  7. The Sympathizer: A Novel; Viet Thanh Nguyen
  8. Go Set a Watchman: A Novel; Harper Lee
  9. The Nest; Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
  10. Eligible: A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice; Curtis Sittenfeld


  1. The Girl on the Train; Paula Hawkins
  2. All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel; Anthony Doerr
  3. My Brilliant Friend: Neapolitan Series, Book 1; Elena Ferrante and Ann Goldstein
  4. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: Harry Potter Series, Book 1; J. K. Rowling
  5. Fates and Furies: A Novel (unabridged), Lauren Groff
  6. Go Set a Watchman (unabridged); Harper Lee
  7. The Goldfinch; Donna Tartt
  8. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: Harry Potter Series, Book 2; J. K. Rowling
  9. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: Harry Potter Series, Book 3; J. K. Rowling
  10. To Kill a Mockingbird; Harper Lee


  1. Fates and Furies: A Novel; Lauren Groff
  2. The Goldfinch: A Novel; Donna Tartt
  3. The Martian: A Novel; Andy Weir
  4. All the Light We Cannot See; Anthony Doerr
  5. Americanah; Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  6. The Girl on the Train: A Novel; Paula Hawkins
  7. Station Eleven: A Novel; Emily St. John Mandel
  8. A Little Life: A Novel; Hanya Yanagihara
  9. My Brilliant Friend: Neapolitan Series, Book 1; Elena Ferrante
  10. The Nightingale; Kristin Hannah



  1. Between the World and Me; Ta-Nehisi Coates
  2. Modern Romance; Aziz Ansari and Eric Klinenberg
  3. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing; Marie Kondo
  4. When Breath Becomes Air; Paul Kalanithi and Abraham Verghese
  5. Why Not Me?; Mindy Kaling
  6. The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics; Daniel James Brown
  7. GED Connection Language Arts: Writing & Reading; Lisa Moore and The Kentucky Network
  8. Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End; Atul Gawande
  9. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business; Charles Duhigg
  10. Thinking, Fast and Slow; Daniel Kahneman


  1. Modern Romance; Aziz Ansari and Eric Klinenberg
  2. Between the World and Me; Ta-Nehisi Coates
  3. Why Not Me?; Mindy Kaling
  4. Yes Please; Amy Poehler
  5. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing; Marie Kondo
  6. Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead (unabridged); Brené Brown
  7. Bossypants; Tina Fey
  8. Alexander Hamilton; Ron Chernow
  9. H Is for Hawk; Helen Macdonald
  10. Hamilton: The Revolution; Lin-Manuel Miranda


  1. Between the World and Me; Ta-Nehisi Coates
  2. Why Not Me?; Mindy Kaling
  3. Modern Romance, Aziz Ansari and Eric Klinenberg
  4. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing; Marie Kondo
  5. Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania; Erik Larson
  6. Alexander Hamilton;  Ron Chernow
  7. Yes Please; Amy Poehler
  8. When Breath Becomes Air; Paul Kalanithi
  9. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear;  Elizabeth Gilbert
  10. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking; Susan Cain


Electronic Magazines

  1. The New Yorker
  2. The Economist
  3. Newsweek
  4. The Atlantic
  5. OK! Magazine
  6. National Geographic Interactive
  7. Star Magazine
  8. Dwell
  9. Kiplinger’s Personal Finance
  10. Bon Appetit


Digital Music Downloads

  1. Adele
  2. Sia
  3. Pink Floyd
  4. David Bowie
  5. Michael Jackson
  6. Meghan Trainor
  7. Bruce Springsteen
  8. Leonard Cohen
  9. Bob Dylan
  10. A Tribe Called Quest”


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The Most Expensive House For Sale in DC Is Actually NOT an OTT McMansion.

There’s a sad, all-too-common real estate phenomenon in DC and some of its surrounding counties that you should know about. The higher the price tag and the more expansive the square footage, the more likely it is that dozens of marbles will have died for its creation, that an entire forest will have been decimated for its faux-Victorian crown moulding, that walnut cabinetry will worm its way into every single room. Let’s call it the More Mantels Than Sense Effect. It plagues our gawking and destroys our will to ogle real estate we will never own.

So what a refreshing moment when you discover that the most expensive house on the market in DC (per Redfin)—$20 million price tag, or approximately $81,000/month—is actually really, really tastefully done.

Yes, it is so big (9,469 square feet) that a loose Pomeranian might never be seen again. But there’s restraint in almost every decision. Wide plank floors and elegant moulding keep the architecture from feeling fussy. A bold brass hood over the stove acts as the focal point in an otherwise sedate kitchen. Windows maintain classic proportions. Overall, it makes us relieved that we can real estate peep again without fear.

1 2 3 4 5 6

For more photos and information, visit Sotheby’s.


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The Capitol dome renovation is complete. Here’s a look back at the project.

The scaffolding on the U.S. Capitol dome is now just another chapter in its history.

The Capitol’s three-year, $60 million restoration aimed at protecting and preserving the dome — its first major overhaul in more than 50 years— is officially finished. The Architect of the Capitol Stephen Ayers announced the end of the renovation Tuesday.

The team used “innovative technology” and “historical tradecrafts” to preserve the original dome, Ayers said in a statement. The project, which was completed under budget by its planned deadline, repaired more than 1,300 cracks in the cast iron; fixed or recast ornaments, gutters and railings; removed hazardous materials; upgraded the mechanical and electrical systems; and repainted the rotunda and dome, he said.

Turner Construction Co. and Smoot Construction Co. together served as the contractor on the project, after winning the deal Sept. 30, 2013, and starting work in November of that year.

During the project, scaffolding extended from the “dome skirt,” or base, to the bottom of the Statue of Freedom, which sits on top of the dome. The final ornament was attached Oct. 27, 2016.

The dome, which was built more than 150 years ago, was last restored in 1959 and 1960, according to the AOC.

Ever see the original dome? Flip through our gallery above for photos of its construction in 1863, the previous restoration, the cracking and breakages that led to this overhaul, and the finishing touches as the scaffolding came down. And, you can relive the past three years in less than a minute with this time-lapse video, below, and restoration overview from the AOC.


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What effect the Trump administration will have on the housing market

The housing market was at the forefront of the presidential election eight years ago but barely received any attention in this campaign. Now as Donald Trump prepares to take office, what lies ahead for home buyers and sellers?

Trump provided few hints of his thinking while running for office, leaving most industry observers to guess at what his plans will be.

“He really hasn’t said much about the housing market,” said Laurie Goodman, co-director of the Urban Institute’s Housing Finance Policy Center. “It’s just so unclear what type of Republican he is” when it comes to housing.

Jonathan Smoke, chief economist at, pointed to Trump’s business background as an indicator of what could be store for the housing market.

“If you are rooting for the economy to improve, you would hope that his background as a business person, as a real estate developer, would pave the way for more growth, more development and that would be a net beneficial for real estate,” Smoke said.

But Trump’s lack of housing policy proposals leaves others anxious.

“The president-elect has basically made his campaign oriented around uncertainty,” said Ralph McLaughlin, chief economist at Trulia. “He laid out a very uncertain policy landscape, and that uncertainty is going to have short-term effects that are more predictable than the long-term ones.”

The biggest short-term effect was on the financial markets, which reacted poorly initially before quickly recovering. Volatility in the financial markets tends to cause investors to flee to safety, which lately has been mortgage-backed securities. That’s helping keep mortgage rates low — great news for those looking to refinance.

“I’m more concerned about what happens to interest rates,” Smoke said. “We appeared to be on a gradual but upward trajectory on interest rates. Is now the December rate hike off the table for the Federal Reserve? There are five weeks between now and when they meet with a lot of data to come out, most importantly the November employment report.”

What effect a Trump victory has on the housing market may vary depending on where you live, McLaughlin says. Because home buyers in economically healthy blue states are more likely to be rattled by the election outcome and concerned about the future of the economy, they might put off making a large purchase such as a home, causing a drag on the market.

In contrast, home buyers in economically stagnant red states are more apt to be optimistic about a Trump administration’s effect on their economic prospects, creating a surge in their confidence about the future and interest in making a big purchase such as a home.

“We think it is a perception-driven boost of confidence, rather than a fundamental economic one,” McLaughlin said.

In the past, most changes in administrations have had little effect on the housing market.

“Historically there’s not a lot you can say about a presidential election’s real and clear impact on the housing market, even in Washington, D.C.,” Smoke said.

Smoke analyzed five presidential elections that took place in the past 20 years and found that outside a three-mile radius of Capitol Hill they had no consistent impact on home sales or prices. Other factors such as economic boons and busts had a greater influence.

“Roughly six to nine months following the election, there were abnormally stronger sales [around Capitol Hill] relative to the prior year,” Smoke said. “If Trump is true to his claim to bring in outsiders and build a government with more people who haven’t been inside the Beltway, then you could believe that there are going to be more transactions than normal as those people seek to move in.”

Terry Clower, director of George Mason University’s Center for Regional Analysis, says Trump’s policies will have more of an impact on the local housing market than who comes to work in his administration.

“I think, at least in the near term, the things he’s talking about are going to enhance economic activity,” Clower said. “Once the dust settles over the next couple months, there could be a beneficial impact” on the region’s economy.

Trump has called for increased defense spending, which would give a boost to local defense contractors. He says he will spend money on infrastructure, a share of which could wash through Maryland and Virginia. Those moves would increase employment and wages, encouraging household formation.

Trump has also talked about rolling back government regulations. At a meeting of the National Association of Home Builders in August, Trump said that “there’s no industry, other than probably the energy industry, that is more overregulated than the housing industry.” However, changing those regulations may be beyond his scope.

“He could try to use his power to ease it, but a lot of the problems are at the state and local levels,” Goodman said.

Goodman said the two biggest issues the housing market faces are supply constraints and credit availability. A recent study by the Urban Institute found a significant gap between new housing creation and household formation, estimating more than 400,000 fewer homes are being built than are needed.

“He could conceivably try to use whatever tools the federal government has to increase the supply of housing,” Goodman said. “That would be a really, really positive set of actions.”

But Trump’s stance on immigration could have a detrimental effect on housing supply.

“Immigration plays a big part in the labor force for construction,” Smoke said. “It’s one of the constraints we have in new construction.”

Something to watch under Trump could be what happens to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Reform efforts have stalled the past several years. But hedge-fund billionaire John Paulson, who is part of the president-elect’s economic policy team, could push for action. Paulson bought shares of Fannie and Freddie in the hope of cashing in when they regained their independence. Since being placed under government control, the mortgage-backers have sent nearly all their profits to the U.S. Treasury, not investors.

“Paulson cares passionately about this, given his positions,” Goodman said.

Trump made a lot of promises during the campaign. It is unclear how many of them he’ll be able to keep. Until he and his advisers provide more clarity on his intentions, the housing sector, like everyone else, will have to take a wait-and-see approach.

“We are totally guessing,” Goodman said. “It could be that housing is not on his list of things to do and you don’t end up with much change over the status quo.”


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Fall housing market may be chilly for D.C. buyers

The crisis of low inventory that plagues the nation’s housing market, particularly in sought-after locations such as Washington, is expected to continue this fall. While homeowners in the city may be relieved to know their home equity is expected to remain intact or rise, prospective buyers face another season of limited choice.

“Inventory in the city is down to a 1.4-month supply,” says Nela Richardson, chief economist for the Redfin real estate brokerage in the District. “People who own property in the city want to stay in the city and they aren’t moving. There’s very little available even in the move-up market.”

Richardson says that while a few more listings tend to come on the market after Labor Day, house hunters in the fall are more likely to be first-time buyers looking for small, affordable homes and condos. She doesn’t anticipate an increase in listings at more affordable prices.

“Those buyers aren’t tied to the school calendar and are more willing to move in any season, while parents drive purchases in the spring and early summer so they can get their kids settled before school begins,” Richardson says. “However, the fall buyers will be competing for the limited number of homes affordable to first-time buyers in the city.”

The 2016 housing market looks very similar to 2015 and 2014, says Jonathan Hill, vice president of marketing and communications for multiple-listing service MRIS in Rockville, Md., following typical seasonal patterns.

The median sales price in the District rose 3.8 percent, from $524,900 to $545,000, when comparing January through August 2015 with that same period in 2016, according to MRIS. The number of homes sold through August rose by 5.3 percent, from 5,485 in 2015 to 5,777 in 2016. In August, there were 221 detached houses for sale in the District, a decrease of 9.1 percent from August 2015, and 335 attached townhouses for sale, a decrease of 5.9 percent year-over-year. The number of condos on the market also declined in August by 3.9 percent compared with August 2015. These inventory declines are expected as the peak summer selling season draws to a close.

“As the condo supply decreased, prices went up, with the median sales price in August at $471,750, an increase of 11.7 percent over August 2015,” Hill says.

Prices for townhouses rose by 1.8 percent to a median of $639,000, and detached-house prices increased 8.8 percent to a median of $849,000 in August. Hill says the higher end of the D.C. housing market is a little softer than that for more-affordable homes.

Buyers at the top of the market in the city are more likely to be able to find a property to purchase, Hill says. The number of houses that sold (105) between $1 million and $2.5 million increased 78 percent over August 2015 and the number of sales (14) between $2.5 million and $5 million increased 180 percent over last year.

The price range with the most single-family houses is from $1 million to $2.5 million. The largest segment of townhouse listings is priced at $600,000 to $800,000. The largest segment of condo listings is priced at $200,000 to $300,000.

“People are afraid to buy at the top of the market,” says Richardson. “They’re looking for bargains in areas that are about to take off and rise in value, so some of the neighborhoods that have seen sales volume increase in the city are more affordable places like Woodridge and Fort Lincoln and Takoma.”

Richardson says that the housing market appears to be slowing nationwide as prices have risen.

“Home prices have outpaced wage growth, and I expect prices to stabilize over the next few years,” she says. “This is a long-term housing issue, with the market not turning over fast enough. People aren’t moving for their jobs or downsizing as anticipated, so this makes it harder for first-time buyers to get into the market.”

While an increase in newly built houses can help buyers in some areas, relatively little new construction is planned for the District, primarily because of the lack of land, says Ben Sage, director of Metrostudy’s Mid-Atlantic Region in Chantilly, Va.

“One neighborhood where we see applications for new development increasing is Brookland [in Northeast Washington], where there are plans for more townhouses,” Sage says. “Otherwise, we mostly see smaller condo developments in various pockets of the city. Most of the multifamily development in the city is rental housing.”


Sage says that while there’s no question that the District is interconnected with the Maryland suburbs and Northern Virginia, the city housing market remains tighter than the suburbs.

“Demand is outstripping supply in the city and there doesn’t appear to be enough new construction to begin to meet that demand,” he says.

While outsiders may think that an election year has a heavy impact on the D.C. housing market, particularly if there’s a turnover in the dominant political party in the White House or Congress, most local real estate experts say elections have little impact on the local housing market. Hill says nothing in the housing data as yet indicates any unusual reaction to the November election, but he says any real shift is more likely to show up in the spring, after the inauguration.

“This year’s election season has been so strange and unpredictable that more people seem to be talking about the possible impact on the real estate market,” Richardson says. “We may see more turnover after November, mostly because some homeowners are waiting to decide whether to list their homes. There’s a general sense of unease that may be making more people hesitant to buy or sell until after the election.”

Whatever the election’s outcome, it appears likely that buyers in the District will need to wait through the fall and winter before they see a significant increase in the number of properties available for sale.


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Inside the D.C.-area’s most expensive homes for sale

With the help of Rockville-based multiple-listing service MRIS, we compiled a list of some of the most expensive homes for sale in the Washington area.

This month, the most expensive new listings include a mansion with 19 bathrooms, a mix of traditional and contemporary homes and several properties with Potomac River views.

• 9410 Piscataway Lane, Great Falls, Va.

$7.18 million

Agent: Becky Wang, Gentle-Lead Real Estate

Built in 2014, this 14,500-square-foot brick home has 8 bedrooms, 12 bathrooms, 5 fireplaces, an elevator and a four-car garage. The grounds include an infinity-edge swimming pool, patios, landscaped areas and woods. The house has balconies, decks and an outdoor living room off the kitchen, family room and breakfast area. In addition to formal rooms, the mansion includes a library, a home theater, a wine cellar, a sauna and a separate apartment for guests.


• 6 Kalorama Circle NW, Washington

$5.75 million

Agent: Michael Rankin, TTR Sotheby’s International Realty

This six-bedroom, seven-bathroom residence in Kalorama includes formal living and dining rooms, a conservatory, a family room with 11-foot-high ceilings and a deck with views of the city. The home, built in 1930, has four stories, four fireplaces, an elevator and a master suite with two bathrooms. The grounds include gardens, terraces and a detached four-car garage.


• 2220 Q St. NW, Washington

$4.5 million

Agent: David Getson and Mandy Mills, Compass

This Kalorama residence, located on a private alley between 21st and 22nd streets NW, is one of the city’s more usual homes. The four-story contemporary-style residence includes more than 2,000 square feet of outdoor space with a heated rooftop swimming pool and roof deck. The house has an 18-foot-tall entrance with a waterfall and a koi pond, an elevator, five bedrooms and five bathrooms. The 5,220-square-foot home also has three fireplaces and an open floor plan.


• 9905 Bentcross Dr., Potomac, Md.

$4.295 million

Agent: Marc Fleisher and Michael Kay, TTR Sotheby’s International Realty

This estate, which rests on nearly three acres, has nearly 28,500 finished square feet on four levels with nine bedrooms and 19 bathrooms. The residence has an elevator, eight fireplaces, a two-story gallery and foyer for entertaining, formal and informal rooms and details such as marble flooring and custom-designed moldings. The home has an indoor swimming pool and the grounds include landscaped gardens and a sport court.


• 3614 Prospect St. NW, Washington

$4.295 million

Agent: Marc Fleisher and Daniel Hynes, TTR Sotheby’s International Realty

This Federal-style Georgetown rowhouse, recently transformed by Petra Development, has three bedrooms, four bathrooms and a fireplace. The 4,224-square-foot house has 11-foot-high ceilings on the main living level, walls of glass and two terraces, including one on the roof. The terraces and most rooms have views of the Potomac River and Key Bridge. The property comes with a one-car garage.


• 39881 Snickersville Pike, Middleburg, Va.

$3.5 million

Agent: Jock Reuter, Reuters Real Estate

This Middleburg estate rests on nearly 80 acres with a lake, a spring-fed pond and parklike grounds. The French country-style house has nearly 10,000 square feet with four bedrooms, seven bathrooms, five fireplaces and a flagstone porch, stone-walled patios, a courtyard and a swimming pool. The grounds include a guesthouse with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a garage and a studio apartment.


• 601 Fairfax St., #303, Alexandria, Va.

$2.95 million

Agents: William F.X. Moody, Robert Hryniewicki, Adam T. Rackliffe, and Christopher R. Leary, Washington Fine Properties

Built in 2014, this condo at the Oronoco in Old Town Alexandria has Potomac River views from most rooms and from a large balcony. The condo has more than 2,000 square feet with an open floor plan, a center-island kitchen with quartz counters and upgraded appliances, two bedrooms and three bathrooms. The unit comes with two garage parking spaces. Amenities in the building include a heated swimming pool, a fitness center and concierge services.


• 1881 Nash St., #2309, Arlington, Va.

$2.95 million

Agent: Julie Zelaska, Smith & Schnider

This penthouse in Turnberry Tower, previously listed at $3.4 million, includes a wraparound terrace overlooking the Potomac River and Georgetown. A private elevator leads directly into this contemporary-style condo, which has an open floor plan with glass doors connecting several rooms to the terrace. The owners are selling the unit fully furnished. The condo has 2,655 square feet with three bedrooms and four bathrooms. Condo amenities include an indoor swimming pool, concierge services, a fitness center and valet parking.


• 3523 Valley St., Arlington, Va.

$2.895 million

Agent: Karen Close, Century 21 New Millennium

Built in 2007, this stone Colonial-style house has 7,000 square feet with five bedrooms and seven bathrooms. The home has four fireplaces, an elevator, a formal dining room, a formal living room, a library, a family room and 10-foot-high ceilings. The property has a covered stone patio, a three-car garage and landscaped grounds.


• 11304 Seneca Cir., Great Falls, Va.

$2.75 million

Agent: Christine Fraley, Keller Williams Realty

Built in 2008, this custom-designed home rests on 2.24 acres and has more than 7,400 finished square feet. Inside there are embassy-size rooms for formal entertaining, 12-foot-high ceilings, French doors, two fireplaces, an elevator and two first-floor master suites. The residence has a total of six bedrooms and five bathrooms, a three-car garage and unfinished spaces for a media room, wine cellar and more.