Yes, it has been in hiding! We’ve been waiting for the 2014 spring market to emerge. It did not rush out of the gates in January as it did in 2013. In contrast, the 2014 market is slowing emerging from its cocoon with the “heat” still on in some price points and in certain neighborhoods.
If a well-maintained home in a popular neighborhood is priced appropriately, it will sell. The D.C. market is much more active than it is in the remainder of the metro area, but overall activity is down for a variety of reasons.
Federal workers and contractors are still unsure after the slicing and dicing of the federal budget and program cuts. Many new rental buildings are luring potential buyers to lease by offering “free month” packages and low initial rental rates. The pace of gentrification in the District is slowed only by the scarcity of properties to buy, renovate, and resell.
Even the changeable metro weather has played a part keeping us at home by the fire with Netflix. Yet, we’ve heard that other metro area markets are on a fast pace. Chicago, Boston and Atlanta are reporting that their markets have now caught fire.
Do not despair however, as there is promise of a strong spring market. The trees are starting to bud, daffodils are blooming and the tulips are emerging. It reminds me of my first D.C. spring arrival, having travelled from gray, cold Boston on an overnight train. I stepped out of Union Station and felt like Dorothy when she abruptly landed in Oz. It was alive with color, not black and white.
Blue skies, green grass, and tulips were everywhere and it had the magical feeling of Munchkin Land and the Yellow Brick Road. I felt certain the yellow brick road would lead me to a wonder-filled life in metropolitan Washington, D.C. and it did.
This is how I feel about spring and the 2014 real estate market. We have been drifting through the first quarter in shades of white, black and gray. The colors of spring are about to burst with refreshed life and all those in search of new beginnings will feel the need to find a new home.
Rates are not extremely low but they are not high either. Federal employees will begin to feel more confident. Those who have delayed moving will feel that urge again. We just need the mental relief of a sunny sky and nature to run its course, kick starting a great real estate year.
Sue Goodhart is the top-producing agent at McEnearney Associates in Alexandria and is licensed in D.C., Maryland and Virginia. Reach her at 202-507-7800 or sue@ suegoodhart.com.