September 6, 2012 at 1:08 pm EDT | by Sue Goodhart
Home buying like it’s 2005

The house goes on the market and within four hours an agent registers a contract.  The calls continue and 36 hours later there are five contracts on the property allowing for a $25,000 escalation in price and the exact settlement date and rent back period the owners hoped to enjoy. Thinking it’s 2005? No, this scenario happened in mid-August 2012, normally one of the slowest months of the year in the area real estate market. It is specific to the price range from $300,000-600,000.

A number of factors have come together to make the Washington Metropolitan market one of the most active in the country and the most active in years.

First, interest rates are at an all-time low. Buyers are seeing rates at 3.4 percent —something I have never seen anything close to in 20 years of real estate.

Secondly, rents are increasing and renters are seeing the benefit of buying now as the monthly payment amount is equal to or less than monthly rents in some areas.

Finally, inventory levels in some price ranges are slim. Sellers are not moving unless they have a real reason to go—job change, commute, house too small or too big. Equity positions are much smaller than they were during the bubble and so owners are tending to stay in their homes longer than they have in the past.

This is a call to action. If you have been sitting on the fence wondering which way to go, now is the time to jump into the fray as prices will only inch up from here. This fall market is your window and your opportunity to tap into the rare place that is the Washington Metropolitan market.

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