While the Capitol Hill market remains brisk this January, favoring sellers over buyers, I see some telltale signs of change from early last year to early 2015.
Within the Historic District in Jan. 2014, a total of eight fee-simple homes were both listed and sold (placed under contract) in a 30-day period. In the same area this January, 15 fee-simple homes were listed. Ten are under contract or have sold, and five remain active.
While I’ve eliminated a couple of “dogs,” (real estate slang for a home that is highly unlikely to sell due to defects or an unrealistic price, as in “that dog won’t hunt”), this rate of saturation tells me that close-in Capitol Hill is still very strong, but that inventory appears to be increasing. As sellers continue to reach for the stars, the buyer population will thin out.
The area beyond the Historic District — north to Florida Avenue, east to the stadium and south to the Southeast/Southwest Freeway — paints a clearer picture of a changing market.
Condos? The market is definitely losing steam. Within the Historic District, in Jan. 2014, there were four condominiums that were both listed and sold in the same month. This year, four units have gone under contract, out of 13 listed.
Condo inventory in Capitol Hill extended is not looking good for sellers. In Jan. 2014, there were only six condos listed. Of those, two went under contract within 30 days. Compare that to this year, when 28 units were listed and, of those, only nine are under contract.
My advice to sellers is to take nothing for granted and pay more attention to what’s currently available as competition, rather than to last year’s dramatic escalation down the street.
For buyers, pay attention to those condos and houses you see that have been on the market for 30+ days, because if you like the home, but not the price, in such a high demand market a reduction will be around the corner.
A brief disclaimer: This column is dealing only with those homes that were both listed and placed under contract, or sold within a 30-day period, what I call a “30-day saturation rate,” not the sale price increases, which obviously affect the rate of saturation. Those numbers are as random as our houses themselves. My statistics, and resulting opinions, like Capitol Hill real estate in general, are far from pure science. They are meant to provide a general comparison of this year and last — a pulse of the marketplace within and outside of the Capitol Hill Historic District.
The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of HillNow.com.