A frustrated McCardle has been looking for a house to buy in D.C. for some time and is fed up with the lack of inventory. She makes some valid points regarding how quickly quality units are snatched up these days (true) and the fact that many sellers are pricing their homes higher than the market so that they can get a return on their investment (probably true). Then McCardle loses us as she starts lamenting the “copious rights under D.C. housing law” that benefit tenants and how these laws are preventing buyers from viewing homes they may be interested in. (If this is a problem, it is certainly not as widespread as she thinks.)
In short, McCardle’s thesis is probably right, but it is an issue that home buyers in D.C. have been dealing with for months.
In January, Janelle Nanos wrote a piece for UrbanTurf on the city’s housing scarcity, interviewing a number of buyers who were generally frustrated with the selection of available housing in D.C., and for good reason. The article noted that the D.C. housing inventory was at its lowest point in the past three years, down from a high of 31,018 homes in May of last year to 22,260 in January. In his latest analysis of D.C.’s housing market, Ketith Gibbons reports there was a 7.41-month supply of condos and 4.67-month supply of homes listed for sale in D.C. in March, down from a 9.25-month supply of condos and 7.05-month supply for houses in February. So, statistically, D.C. is either in the midst of a housing shortage or on the verge.
Our advice is this: If you see something you really like, make an offer ASAP. But also, get out of the Northwest comfort zone a little bit and explore neighborhoods that wouldn’t be first on your list. There are some good homes for sale in D.C. -- they just may not be a stone’s throw from your favorite bar.
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