All Cash, No Contingencies: DC’s Housing Market Gets Crazier

by Lark Turner

All Cash, No Contingencies: DC’s Housing Market Gets Crazier: Figure 1
The two-bedroom at the Ontario in Lanier Heights.

Three of the homes Catherine Czuba sold in the past month were listed for around $1 million. All went under contract in less than a week, and the sellers had plenty of offers to choose from, most of which had the regular combination of attributes that make up a winning bid in DC’s increasingly frenzied market these days: all cash, no contingencies and, of course, an escalation clause.

A potential buyer for one of the homes put her own house on the market when she heard a two-bedroom unit at the Ontario in Lanier Heights was going to be listed. Her home went under contract quickly, but not quickly enough; the offer was contingent on closing the sale at her old house, and the seller took one of the three competing offers instead. It was a competitive pool for the co-op, listed at $885,000: Two of the offers came in around $900,000, one was in the mid-$900,000 range and a fourth escalated to $1 million. Two were all cash with no financing, appraisal or home inspection contingencies.

“Nobody even touched the $885,000 range,” Czuba told UrbanTurf.

The end result of the other two listings, at 1814 Ontario Place NW and 3414 Porter Street NW, further illustrate what is going on in the DC market. The Ontario Place rowhouse was offered for $985,000; it closes Friday for more than $130,000 above the asking price after drawing in seven offers and going under contract in five days. The home on Porter Street, listed for $992,500, had 11 offers, 7 of which started above the $1 million mark. The home, also under contract in five days, went to an all-cash offer with an escalation clause originally capped at $1.2 million. It sold for more than that.

“The only way we’re going to open up this bottleneck is if we can get more good housing on the market for buyers,” Czuba said.

But more inventory is coming on the market in the DC area, and yet the bottleneck persists. Why?

All Cash, No Contingencies: DC’s Housing Market Gets Crazier: Figure 2
Months of supply in the DC metro, courtesy of RBI. Click to enlarge.

Statistics from RealEstate Business Intelligence (RBI) show that the supply of homes for sale in the DC area market has risen notably over the last several months. New listings in the DC area were at their highest level in 5 years in April. In DC proper, supply is up 4.7 percent over last year. And prices are at their highest level for the month of April since 2007. Despite these metrics, RBI CEO John Heithaus says it’s still “a bullish seller’s market.”

“People start to feel better about real estate,” he said. “Those that purchased coming out of the crash, they’re now seeing appreciation. That encourages more people to not only look but more people to put their houses on the market.”

The data back Heithaus up: The metro’s absorption rate last month, measured in new pending sales, was at the highest level since the peak of the housing boom in July 2005.

All Cash, No Contingencies: DC’s Housing Market Gets Crazier: Figure 3
The absorption rate in the DC metro, courtesy of RBI. Click to enlarge.

Buyers are being drawn to market by low interest rates, loosening restrictions on financing and a steadying job market.

“Without demand, it doesn’t really matter what’s else is happening,” Heithaus said. “But here, consumer confidence is strong, job prospects are robust and salaries have been rising. … And young families and millennial families, they’re staying in the District.”

The resulting competition, not the uptick in inventory, is what agents, buyers and sellers are feeling. Compass’ Gordon Harrison, who successfully competed for a house against 16 other offers in recent months, said the market in the region is as hot as he’s seen.

“Nothing has felt as competitive as this past spring,” Harrison told UrbanTurf. “Inventory is really tight, and it hasn’t loosened enough to take the strain.”

Czuba says the crush has left buyers feeling tired, to the point where she is careful not to price a home at a level buyers may perceive as inciting a bidding war.

“Buyers are exhausted,” she said. “They’ve been outbid three, four, five times. They need a break.”

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/all_cash_no_contingency_dcs_crazy_housing_market_gets_crazier/9916

DC Real Estate Guides

Short guides to navigating the DC-area real estate market

We've collected all our helpful guides for buying, selling and renting in and around Washington, DC in one place. Visit guides.urbanturf.com or start browsing below!

Northern Virginia

Profiles of 14 neighborhoods across Northern Virginia

Looking to Give People A Reason to Stay Past 6pm
Happily Straddling the Line Between City and Suburb
Columbia Pike
Arlington’s Neglected Stepchild is Getting a Makeover
Crystal City
Turning Lemons into Lemonade
Lyon Village
Developing An Air of Exclusivity?
Hitting Its Growth Spurt
An Urban Village Hitting Its Stride
Del Ray
Virginia’s Small Town Near the Big City
Eisenhower Avenue
The Vibrancy Might Take a Few Years
The Quiet Neighborhood By the Beltway
Old Town
Mayberry By The Potomac
132 Commerical-Free Acres
Downtown Falls Church
Staying the Same in the Midst of Change
Tysons Corner
Radical Change Could Be On The Way

See more Northern Virginia »


Profiles of 14 neighborhoods in suburban Maryland

Small-Town Living in the State Capital
Bedroom Community Gets Buzzing Cache
Cabin John
In With The New While Maintaining the Old
Chevy Chase
Affluence, Green Lawns and Pricey Homes
Downtown Silver Spring
Experiencing a Resurgence After a Bumpy History
A Suburb on Steroids
Rockville Town Square
Despite the Dynamism, Still Somewhat Generic
Takoma Park
More Than a Little Bit Quirky
A Foodie Magnet on the Verge of Change
Capitol Heights
Kudzu, Front Porches and Crime
Glass Half Full or Half Empty?
Mount Rainier
Artists, Affordable Homes and A Silo Full of Corn
National Harbor
A Development Rises Next to the Potomac
Riverdale Park
A Town Looking For Its Identity

See more Maryland »

Northwest DC

30+ neighborhood profiles for the city's biggest quadrant

16th Street Heights
DC's Sleeper Neighborhood
Where (Almost) Everyone Knows Your Name
AU Park
One of DC’s Last Frontiers Before the Suburbs
DC’s Northern Neighborhood on the Cusp
DC’s 535 House Neighborhood
Cathedral Heights
Do You Know Where That Is?
Chevy Chase DC
Not to Be Confused With the Other Chevy Chase
Cleveland Park
Coming Back After A Rough Year
Columbia Heights
DC’s Most Diverse Neighborhood, But For How Long?
An Island of Serenity East of the Park
Dupont Circle
The Best of DC (For a Price)
Foggy Bottom & West End
Where the Institutional Meets the International
Forest Hills
Ambassadors and Adventurous Architecture
Foxhall Village
350 Homes Just West of Georgetown
Friendship Heights
A Shopping Mecca With a Few Places to Live
History, Hoyas and H&M
Glover Park
One of DC’s Preppier and More Family-Friendly Neighborhoods
A Posh View From Embassy Row
LeDroit Park
A Quiet Enclave in the Middle of the City
Logan Circle
Trendy Now, But Not By Accident
Mount Pleasant
Sought-After Homes Surround Main Street in Transition
Mount Vernon Triangle
From Seedy to Sought-After
The Long, Skinny Neighborhood at the City’s Northwest Edge
Park View
It’s Not Petworth
Penn Quarter/Chinatown
DC’s Go-Go-Go Neighborhood
Getting a Vibrancy of Its Own
The Duke’s Former Stomping Ground
Shepherd Park
DC’s Garden of Diversity
Spring Valley
A Suburb With a DC Zip Code
Not To Be Confused With Takoma Park
Not Quite Like Its Neighbors
U Street Corridor
The Difference a Decade Makes
Woodley Park
Deceptively Residential
Adams Morgan
No Longer DC’s Hippest Neighborhood, But Still Loved by Residents

See more Northwest DC »

Southwest DC

The little quadrant that could

Southwest Waterfront
A Neighborhood Where A Change Is Gonna Come

See more Southwest DC »

Northeast DC

Profiles of 10 neighborhoods in NE

New Development Could Shake Up Pastoral Peace
A Little Bit of Country Just Inside the District’s Borders
Not to Be Confused With Bloomingdale
Fort Totten
Five Years Could Make a Big Difference
H Street
A Place To Party, and To Settle Down
The Northeast Neighborhood That Few Know About
Michigan Park
A Newsletter-On-Your-Doorstep Community
Evolving from a Brand to a Neighborhood
Ripe for Investment Right About Now
The Difference 5 Years Makes
Big Houses, A Dusty Commercial Strip and Potential

See more Northeast DC »

Southeast DC

6 neighborhoods from Capitol Hill to East of the River

Capitol Riverfront
Still Growing
Hill East
Capitol Hill’s Lesser Known Neighbor
Congress Heights
Gradually Rising
Notable for Its Neighborliness
Historic Anacostia
Future Promise Breeds Cautious Optimism
Eastern Market
A More European Way of Living

See more Southeast DC »