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Whether you’re trying to buy a home near the Hill or you’d like to sell your place and sail away across the Potomac, read on for everything you need to know about the Washington, D.C. housing market.
Washington, D.C. housing market overview
While D.C. is unique in many ways, it shares one thing in common with other densely populated urban markets: It is defined by shared living. Condos and townhomes dominate the housing market here. According to data from Redfin, there were more than 550 townhouses and condos/co-ops sold in August 2023, versus just 79 single-family home sales. Those who want more suburban-style living tend to migrate to the surrounding Beltway towns in Maryland and Virginia. In addition, the median price for a home within the District is much higher than the national median — and for a single-family home, it’s upward of $1 million.
Washington, D.C. housing trends & stats
- The median sale price of a home in Washington, D.C. was $625,000 in July of 2023, according to figures from the District of Columbia Association of Realtors.
- That represents a 3.3 percent year-over-year decrease, but it’s still significantly higher than the National Association of Realtors’ nationwide median of $407,100.
- D.C. homes spent 29 days on the market before going into contract in July, a one-day increase from a year earlier.
- Like much of the rest of the country, the market has seen a steep decline of new listings — a 23.5 percent drop from July 2022 to July 2023.
- Sellers typically receive 98 percent of their original list price.
- D.C. has some of the highest closing costs in the country. According to data from Core Logic’s ClosingCorp, closing costs here typically add up to 3.9 percent of the purchase price. On a median-priced $625,000 home, that comes to $24,375.
Should you buy or sell in the Washington, D.C. housing market?
Prices have declined since last year, but they’re still high, and while a lack of listings would typically tilt the power in favor of sellers, high mortgage rates are putting a wrench in what’s typical these days. So it’s hard to say whether the District is truly a buyer’s or a seller’s market. Here’s what both parties need to consider.
If you’re a home seller
If you’re gearing up to sell in Washington, D.C., you should get a solid idea of just how much your house is worth before putting anything in motion. A local real estate agent who knows the market well will be able to help you analyze local comps and come to a fair asking price. Be prepared to walk away with slightly less, though: Homes here have been selling for about 0.7 percent less than listing price, according to Redfin. And remember that buyers are grappling with mortgage rates higher than they’ve been in 20 years, so many who would normally be in the market are sitting on the sidelines for now.
If you’re a homebuyer
If you’re hoping to buy a home in D.C., Bankrate’s home-affordability calculator can give you a good idea of a working budget. For a firmer number of how much you can spend without stretching your finances too thin, get preapproved for a mortgage. That will let you know how much a lender is willing to loan you.
Make sure you consider the total cost of living, too, since D.C. is not a cheap place to deal with the everyday essentials. However, there is financial assistance available for first-time homebuyers and low- to moderate-income buyers. Do some research to see if you’re eligible for any of the programs that can help cover the high cost of homeownership here.
Washington, D.C. housing market predictions
If you’re worried about the potential for a nationwide housing market crash, you can breathe a sigh of relief: Most experts agree that it won’t happen. On a local level, D.C. is always going to be a hub of activity with the federal government based here, so area real estate will always be in-demand. Even if high mortgage rates keep buying and selling activity low in the short term, the outlook for the long-term housing market looks solid.
Find a local real estate agent
Finding a good real estate agent is absolutely essential in a real estate market as complicated, and limited, as D.C.’s. Whether you’re looking to buy or sell, in Georgetown, Dupont Circle, Adams Morgan or Capitol Hill, look for someone with experience in that specific neighborhood. Realtors understand the ebbs and flows of the market, and know the intricacies of a neighborhood’s housing stock. Their expertise can help lower your stress in the leadup to one of the most costly transactions of your life.
Yes, but not significantly. According to July data from the District of Columbia Association of Realtors, the median sale price of a property in the nation’s capital was $625,000, a 3.3 percent drop from July of last year.
While it might technically be a seller’s market, with high prices and low inventory, buyers are beginning to have more leverage in D.C. Home prices have fallen slightly year-over-year, and homes are typically selling for just under their original list price, according to Redfin data. In addition, homes are staying on the market for a bit longer before selling, which gives buyers some much-needed breathing room.