UT Reader Asks: Should I Sell My Co-op Before The Supply Increases?

by Shilpi Paul

UT Reader Asks: Should I Sell My Co-op Before The Supply Increases?: Figure 1
Residential building at 16th and S Street NW. Google Maps.

In this installment of UrbanTurf Reader Asks, a co-op owner wonders if he should put his unit on the market before the supply of homes for sale increases.

I live in a large two-bedroom apartment in a historic (pre-war) co-op building near the intersection of 16th and S Street NW.

I plan to move away from DC within the next two years, but I’m not entirely sure when (depends on job relocation). My unit has appreciated quite handsomely in recent years (based on comps) and I could probably sell it for around $500,000 now. However, I’m concerned that the coming glut of many brand new condos will impair the value of my place—the classic case of supply and demand.

Do the experts think I should consider putting my place on the market now to lock in the gains? Or do people think prices will at least remain stable over the next year or two, even for older units that have lots of character (and classic proportions, not the smaller sizes of new units), but lack some of the amenities of newer buildings (no gym, no deck, no w/d in unit, etc)?

Readers, what do you think? Post your thoughts in the comments section. If you would like to submit a question for UrbanTurf Reader Asks, send an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/ut_reader_asks_should_i_sell_my_coop_now_before_the_supply_increases/7590


  1. Rell said at 8:13 pm on Monday September 23, 2013:
    I say put it on the market. Who knows where the market will be two years from now. If you are planning on leaving in the next 24 months and your unit sells, you can always find a rental for the remaining time you are in DC.
  1. M. Gordon said at 8:17 pm on Monday September 23, 2013:
    Over the last 15 years, I have sold several DC condos at what I thought was the "peak" of the market and have regretted it each time because the value continued to increase significantly after I sold (despite periods of short decline). If you can afford not to sell, hold onto it until the end of time and keep it as an asset for you and your children. Demographics and the appeal of urban living continue to increase values, especially for irreplaceable locations like 16th and S. You can extract value by borrowing against it and you will always be able to rent it (unless the co-op rules preclude that). In summary - don't sell....ever.
  1. Jeffrey Tanck said at 8:43 pm on Monday September 23, 2013:
    If your home is appropriately priced and well presented when you are ready to put it on the market, it will sell. Your location is consistently in demand, so the value should be stable. That said, The past few years has taught us that it can be hard to make projections on value 2-3 years in the future. Anything can happen. As for new supply, there are not many large condominium projects in the pipeline as most of the larger developments are currently programmed as rentals. New projects in Dupont will be smaller in scale, such as townhouse conversions. Finally, your prospective buyer is probably not going to be interested in a new condo project. The buyer that is looking for an older, charming building (particularly a coop) is generally not looking for a modern, glassy (and much smaller) home. I say live in your home until your life takes you away from DC.
  1. swester said at 9:28 pm on Monday September 23, 2013:
    It all depends on your situation: In the very long term - you'll be fine by holding. You'll always be able to rent in this town. But you might not want to deal with the hassle and carrying costs. In the shorter term, (i.e. in the next 3-5 years), DC is almost certainly going to experience a slowdown in price growth. There is SO much inventory under construction at the moment - basically everything that had been put on hold from '09-'12. Once all of that brand new stuff comes on market, you won't see these mad bidding wars and cash deals like you do now. Your property might be harder to sell at a price that'll make you feel satisfied. I'd say selling now is a good move as long as you aren't planning to buy elsewhere in this crazy market.
  1. Eli Cash said at 1:36 pm on Tuesday September 24, 2013:
    I'm not an expert. So experts, you can tell me if I'm misguided. But as a non-expert, my view is that it's hopeless trying to predict what's going to happen in the market. Don't bother. Calculate whether it makes more sense for you to rent/buy based on the present, not an unknown future. And then keep paying attention to things like rent prices to see whether that changes. There's a chance of not selling at the best time, since it's impossible to know the future. But you can cut down on feelings of regret if you at least made an informed decision with all of the info that was actually available at the time.
  1. zcf said at 3:42 pm on Tuesday September 24, 2013:
    I agree with Eli Cash. I mean, you wouldn't time the stock market right?? Why would you gamble with your home???
  1. nojo said at 5:22 pm on Tuesday September 24, 2013:
    You should be fine no matter what, as mentioned most of the new condos are going to be apartments so their will be a dearth of condos within the next 2 years. Also, a lot of the new condos are going to be on the small side, so even better if your place is nice size and layout.
  1. DomRep said at 8:58 pm on Tuesday September 24, 2013:
    I'm of the opinion if you have any property in DC, whether it's a condo or a rowhouse or whatever, don't ever sell. Rent it out at a fair price (or to the point where it covers your mortgage/utilities and something extra) or use the equity to get a second home or leave something behind for your kids. Just my two cents anyway.

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