By TED SMITH
There are several pieces of good news on the horizon for homebuyers.
First, the D.C. real estate market is about to enter its fall season of active listings, which will increase the inventory of available homes for purchase.
The D.C. market has two seasons of market activity: spring and fall. Imagine a line graph in the shape of a flying bird (see graph above). The left wing of the bird is longer, rising from January to its high point in April (sometimes May) and diminishing to its low point in August. Then the right wing begins rising to a high point in September or October, and diminishing to its low point — sometime for the year — in December. What this means is that April/May and September/October are good times to look for a home because there are more of them on the market then.
However, the bad news about this pattern is that the “bird” has flown successively lower in each of the previous five years — approximately 600-700 fewer active monthly listings each year. In 2008, the peak month for active listings was October, with 3,363 listings. In 2009, the peak month for active listings was April, with 3,275 listings. In 2010, the peak month for active listings was again October, but with only 2,846 listings. In 2011, the peak month was again April, but with 2,469 active listings. In 2012, the peak month for active listings was actually March, but with 1,721 listings. Thus far in 2013, our peak month for active listings has been June, but with only 1,220 active listings—1,600 monthly listings fewer than the low point of 2,815 in 2008.
Fortunately, there’s another source of new inventory coming around the turn of the year, well before the traditional peak month of the spring season: It looks like the foreclosure process is finally going to begin anew sometime in January, which will bring more inventory into the market. While no one wishes to profit from the financial hardships of others, these properties will provide a source of more inexpensive homes that can be purchased by first-time homebuyers, who are being squeezed out of the current market by rising prices and higher interest rates.
In one final piece of good news, Urban Turf recently featured an article entitled “D.C.’s Best Neighborhoods for First-Time Buyers” (http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/dcs_best_neighborhoods_for_first-timers/7436). Best neighborhoods for 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom homes were Woodley Park, Petworth, and Michigan Park, respectively. You might want to check them out.
Ted Smith is a licensed Realtor with STAGES Premier, REALTORS specializing in mid-city D.C. Reach him at TedSmithSellsDC@stagesrealtors.com and follow him at Facebook.com/MidCityDCLife , Youtube.com/TedSmithSellsDC or @TedSmithSellsDC. You can also join him at monthly free seminars for first-time homebuyers or weekly tours of open houses geared toward first-time buyers and in a different neighborhood each week. Sign up at meetup.com/DCMidCity1stTimeHomeBuyers/.
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