All signs seem to indicate that the deep freeze is finally melting and the sun is starting to shine on the downtown D.C. real estate market. While low interest rates have been the norm for more than a decade, lofty prices and sluggish buy- ing activity overall have kept many buyers and sellers from connecting until now.
As an urban real estate brokerage that is out on the streets daily, we’ve been see- ing very positive things of interest to D.C. residents and those who want to be D.C. residents. There is a flow of condomini- ums and homes coming out of foreclosure that have been in bank hands, tied up in bureaucracy that are now available at low prices. Purchasing a foreclosure no longer means settling for a neglected property, fixer-upper or “someone else’s problem.”
A common trend among these bank-owned properties are low listing prices used as bait to generate competitive bidding, which helps them determine the true market value. If you end up in these types of bidding arrangements, conventional financing beats FHA and strong deposits will give you an extra edge over others. This is just one of the ways the right real estate company can be an asset. You see, Washington is both “the big city” with glitz and glamour, but it is also a small, tight-knit neighborhood of property owners, developers and sophis- ticated urbanites.
Savvy buyers that are plugged into this network are competing for very nice prop-
erties at even more attractive prices, sometimes getting access to owners for good, old-fashioned negotiation before properties are even listed for the general public.
Also, what’s been very interesting this year, has been the inquiries from D.C. homeowners who purchased a home during the real estate bubble. Happy homeownership is tied to so many different emotions, and we’ve had a lot of ac- tion from owners who have gotten over the initial shock of seeing a drop in prop- erty value or equity and are now looking to get a fresh start with a clean slate.
The market is finally receptive to contingency-based arrangements, which means for the first time in five years you can put your property on the market and write an offer on a new home that is tied to the sale of your current home. Homes that we’ve listed on the market recently for buyers looking to trade up or down have resulted in a flow of offers and open house visitors.
All factors seem to indicate that confidence in the D.C. market is finally back. Buyers looking to purchase now as well as those looking to buy within the next year are coming out of the woodwork.
We recently opened several top-level penthouse units with a Cupcakes & Cock- tail Party at The Floridian in the hot U Street area and had more than 30 people show up on a Thursday night. Also, we sponsored a first-time homebuyer seminar in March and had more than 40 attendees participate on a Saturday morning. Demand is increasing in D.C. for real estate and sellers are noticing.
Gerard DiRuggiero is principal broker for UrbanLand Company, a downtown real estate brokerage headquartered in the U Street corridor. Visit UrbanLand Company on Facebook or at UrbanLandCompany.com for more information.