WASHINGTON, DC – This article looks at current real estate trends in Washington, DC. We will see rents outperform home values, downtown condo sales to rise and the office and retail sectors to recover.
Rents outpace home appreciation
While Washington, DC is still one of the best places to invest in real estate, there is a shift in the real estate investing community. Many investors are turning to rental properties rather than flipping houses. This is partly due to relatively low interest rates, which can offset higher initial costs and help increase monthly cash flow.
Although the Washington, DC housing market has been a slow recovery in recent years, it is still a viable market that meets the needs of households across the income spectrum. The average home price in today’s market is $708,135.
Downtown condo sales are on the rise
The government sector in the district and a large number of biotech companies in the suburbs are driving growth in the region. Also, Amazon HQ2 is under construction and aims to help the local economy. However, the current infrastructure is not yet fully developed and needs to be renovated.
However, there are other factors slowing down real estate in downtown DC. A number of companies are adopting hybrid and remote working policies. This suggests that pre-pandemic office-level banking may not be as reliable as it used to be. As a result, some leaders in the city are trying to attract new businesses, schools, and people to the area. In doing so, they hope to make downtown a place to live, work, and play.
The retail real estate sector is recovering
The retail real estate sector in Washington, DC is slowly recovering from the decline seen earlier this decade. While the downtown DC market is grappling with a decline in footfall, mixed-use areas are recovering faster. One of the reasons for this is that mixed-use areas have a higher concentration of residential tenants. In the first quarter of 2021, absorption increased in the mixed-use submarket. Despite this, office-heavy sub-markets were again responsible for the negative absorption rate during the quarter.
The multifamily market in DC is expected to continue to recover. However, hotel valuations are likely to remain volatile during the recovery. There are many factors affecting the overall market. Supply chain bottlenecks and rising construction costs will continue to impact the market. Rising interest rates and increasing labor shortages are also likely to impact the market. In addition, the mayor’s office has prioritized supporting ailing sectors and increasing housing affordability.
The office sector is recovering
The office sector is recovering in the district, albeit slowly. According to Colliers International, the availability rate is at an all-time high of 15 percent. This number does not include employees who do not show up for work. The city is also celebrating the one-year anniversary of COVID next month. Most offices in Manhattan are empty most of the day. And with COVID adoption still on shaky ground, it’s likely to stay that way for a while.
The office sector in Washington, DC has suffered from a fall in demand and a rise in vacancies in recent years, tipping the momentum against landlords. Nevertheless, experts see signs of recovery. New Q1 reports show that office absorption in the DC metro area has declined slightly and mixed-use submarkets have started to recover.
Office occupancy rates are approaching pre-pandemic levels
The office market has recently shown signs of stabilization with stable letting and construction activity in the 1st district. However, as future prospects deteriorated, rental activity dropped significantly. With more clarity in the market, office tenants are more confident in their rental decisions. While changes in office space needs varied by district, overall occupancy in inner cities was below pre-pandemic levels.
Long-term rental properties are becoming increasingly popular
As the millennial population grows, the rental market will see a sustained upward trend. In the third quarter of 2019, dollar volume of multifamily transactions grew 9%. The Harvard rental market report includes a range of statistics but no data from the Covid-19 era. Despite the positive development, the rising demand for housing will not prevent rising prices.
Rents in Washington DC are up 1.1% over the past month and are up 5.7% from the same period last year. The median rent in DC is now $1,838 for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,816 for a two-bedroom apartment. However, the growth rate is below the national average of 10.0%.