The Return of the DC-Area Condo Market

  • March 11th 2022

by Nena Perry-Brown

A condo at Avidian in Navy Yard.

After a lull last year, the condo market in the DC region is experiencing the first glimmers of a resurgence — and industry experts are cautiously optimistic that it's just the beginning.

The new condo segment of the market started gaining more traction during the latter half of 2021, and the momentum is still going strong.

"What we are seeing is a continuation of 2021, with limited product coming to the market and that product is quickly absorbed," Chris Masters, executive vice president at new condo sales firm McWilliams|Ballard, told UrbanTurf. "We see this trend continuing through the year as supply remains constrained and buyers are eager to make the push into home ownership now that rent concessions due to COVID-19 have burned off and are no longer being offered."

Kami Kraft, a partner at the Mayhood Company, has observed the same.

"The spring market is here and we are perfectly poised for success after several years of unpredictable seasonality following the pandemic," Kraft told UrbanTurf. "Some of our new condominium projects are seeing the highest number of inquiries and weekly visits since March 2020."

The turnaround is also rubbing off on the resale market, albeit slowly.

Recently-sold unit at Yale Steam Laundry. Click to enlarge.

Leah Fernandez of the real estate brokerage Compass thinks that while the market is trending in a positive direction, it is still too soon to make generalizations.

"It's important to communicate that it's a seller's market for single-family homes, and that translates for some condos, but not all," Fernandez explained. 

As the listing agent for a unit at the Yale Steam Laundry building in DC that recently sold for $15,000 above the asking price, Fernandez thinks that condos in boutique or interesting buildings are the listings getting multiple offers. Still, she priced the 1,500 square-foot one-bedroom conservatively to garner interest, and although the winning offer waived contingencies, that likely had more to do with the buyers' long-standing interest in the property than being an indicator of the market. 

Realtor Daniel Brewer believes that while the recent uptick in demand preceded the latest push for a return to the office and the end of mask and vaccine mandates, younger workers returning to the city and downsizing homeowners are two demographics pushing demand. 

"I think we're going to start seeing the condo market heat up more and more as those people start coming back to the city," Brewer told UrbanTurf. "People are ready to start living their life again, and condos are kind of at the heart of city life." 

Bright MLS Economist Advisor Dr. Lisa Sturtevant echoed this sentiment.

"The amenities that make urban living—and condo living—attractive to a set of buyers are again bringing market activity." 

Recent statistics back up this line of thinking. The increase in condo sales could be seen across the region between January and February. The number of units sold increased by 33% in DC proper, 21% in Alexandria, 16% in Montgomery County, and 11.5% in Arlington.

A condo that recently sold on R Street in Logan Circle.

Brewer has first-hand experience with the faster-moving market. He recently sold a condo on R Street in Logan Circle for $30,000 above asking. Shortly thereafter, just as he finished showing a condo in the same neighborhood, he received word that the unit was under contract — two days after it was listed. 

"For any owner-buyer looking to move up and out of their condominium, for pandemic-related reasons or otherwise, there are several interested buyers behind them," Masters says.

Photos by HomeVisit.

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/the-return-of-the-dc-area-condo-market/19372.

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