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Should You Buy or Sell in the DC-Area Housing Market? | Fall 2023

Are you thinking about selling or buying a home in the DC area? If so, you’ve probably been reading a lot of conflicting advice on whether now is a good time to do so. As with most things real estate-related, experts have conflicting opinions, meaning there’s no one right answer for everyone. However, most seem to agree that due to consistent demand and low supply, the DC metro area will remain one of the nation’s strongest housing markets, mainly because this past year’s higher mortgage rates have affected the region to a lesser degree than others in the country.

What does this mean to interested home sellers and buyers?

Washington DC from an aerial view

Is Now a Good Time To Buy a House in the DC Area?

The DC region is spread across the District of Columbia, Maryland’s Montgomery, and Prince George’s counties, as well as Virginia’s Arlington and Fairfax counties and Alexandria and Falls Church cities.

The area has long had low housing inventory levels, and it’s growing even tighter, with buyer demand remaining strong but fewer sellers willing to give up their current lower mortgage rates to list their properties.

Pricing, for the most part, continues to increase, with a nearly 5% increase in median sales prices compared to a year ago. Coupled with a two-decade low in the number of new listings, it appears the ball is still in the seller’s court, especially for single-family homes. Buyers hoping to find a property further out that’s more affordable are finding they aren’t alone. That’s making listings more competitive and driving up prices, too.

Consider your unique circumstances to decide if now’s the right time for you to buy. Do you have enough saved for a down payment? Can your budget support the estimated mortgage payment? If the answer is yes, most experts would likely agree that if you find a home you love, it’s a good time to make an offer. If not, you can always wait until inventory levels rise and interest rates fall. But don’t hold your breath, as rates aren’t expected to drop significantly until the end of 2025.

Should I Sell My DC-Area House in the Current Market?

It’s always a good time to sell whenever there’s lower inventory and higher buyer demand, as in today’s market. Whether you should sell depends on several factors:

  • Do you need to sell, or are you just looking to take advantage of the bigger profit you’d get by selling now?
  • How will you pay for your next house? Unless you’re paying cash or making a substantial down payment, you’ll be hit with the same high interest rates as everyone else. Not to mention the tight market.
  • Have you considered the tax implications of selling your current home? Depending on your situation, you might be hit with capital gains tax, which could impact any potential profit.

The decision to sell or not should ultimately be based on your immediate needs, financial capability, and broader market conditions. Consulting with a real estate professional who understands the Washington metropolitan area can help you make a choice that aligns with your objectives and financial health.

Buying or Selling, Working With a Real Estate Agent Is Always a Good Bet

The bottom line? The DC-area real estate market has advantages for sellers looking to get top dollar for their homes while completing a fast sale. But remember, if you want to stay in the area, you’ll compete with all the other buyers. It could be a financial mistake for buyers to wait for the market to cool and interest rates to drop, as home values are expected to continue rising.

As you can see, there’s no simple answer to whether you should buy or sell in today’s DC housing market. To make it easier, talk to one of the real estate agents at Coakley Realty, who can help you determine which path forward is right for you.

Contact us today to get the conversation started.