“The housing market is roaring right now.”
“Home prices climb to record high in pandemic as buyers seek space.”
“2020: the summer of booming home sales.”
As you might have noticed, these are the types of headlines that have been dominating our news feeds across the nation and in Washington, D.C. And without a doubt, this year did mark a sizable shift in home buying needs as consumers adjusted to our “new normal” pandemic reality. Some trends at the forefront of this unprecedented moment in real estate? More emphasis on space—space to spread out, to be outside, and to work from home—as well as the return of suburban allure. In D.C., we experienced a delayed spring market that ramped up in June and only started showing signs of slowing toward the end of August. During this timeframe, multiple offers were prevalent for homes of many shapes and sizes—from the attached townhouse downtown to the detached single-family home in the suburbs. In short, the news of our increasingly competitive landscape was spot on—at least in some areas of the market throughout this time.
Once September came to a close, though, everything changed. Since then, there’s been a noticeable pause in the demand for specific housing types. Condos are now collecting days on market. The luxury townhouses downtown are seeing only a trickle of showings. Agents are moving to make quick price modifications while inventory sits unsold. The question remains: What is the catalyst for this deceleration? Is it simply post Labor Day inventory lingering? Is it COVID? Social and economic instability? Or perhaps the shift in buyer demands? And with the added pressure of an election on the horizon, there’s no shortage of factors that could account for the current market state. The bottom line, though, is that not all sectors of our diverse housing market in Washington, D.C. (and its surrounding areas) are currently living up to the media hype.
Over the past few months, one thing has become abundantly clear to us Realtors: gone are the days of relying on historical data to guide the clients we serve. We’ve officially entered unchartered territory, with agents reimagining what it means to buy and sell real estate during a worldwide pandemic. As Realtors, we are first and foremost trusted advisers to our clients. These days, our best advice may change from week to week, but our mission should always remain constant: to empower buyers and sellers with information—no matter how suddenly new developments unfold, or how uncertain things may seem.
Although we’re living through unprecedented times, I have faith most of all in the spirit and resilience of our city. In my experience, cities always bounce back—especially those like D.C., with so many opportunities and advantages to offer. I believe that when D.C. fully opens up and the worst is behind us, people will once again flock to walkable neighborhoods where convenience is a way of life. Until that day, knowledge is power. Whether you’re looking to buy, sell, or just stay informed, having a Realtor you can count on has never been quite as important as it is right now.
Marc Ross is a vice president and real estate agent licensed in D.C. awarded among the Top 50 Large Real Estate Teams in America as reported by The Wall Street Journal with the Jenn Smira Team at Compass Real Estate. Reach him at 202-487-0000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.