Is The Sky Falling...or Are There Just a Few Clouds

Yes, it’s true…the real estate market in the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area is no longer at a fever pitch. I’d argue to say that we slowed down over the summer (typical, seasonal stuff) and picked up a little bit at the beginning of September…and since then, it’s been basically downhill. How could it be otherwise?? Every time you pick up a newspaper or tune into a news station, there’s something negative about the real estate market and the public is responding accordingly.

We are also not immune from the impact of the sub-prime mortgage mess. There are buyers who entered the market in our area over the last couple of years who probably were not really “qualified” to buy. Mostly thru no fault of their own, they were talked into loans that were sure to bring them to default…and that’s exactly what’s happening.  We are seeing properties on the market where the asking price is less than the current owners paid and, in many of these cases, the listings read that contracts are subject to “third party approval.” Translation: the bank needs to approve any sale because they’re the ones left holding the property. Whenever one aspect of the market is affected (in this case, it’s primarily in “starter” homes), the rest of the market feels the pain.

At the same time, we are NOT Las Vegas or Miami, where the number of properties on the market is staggering. We do have an increased inventory, but we also have very strong economic growth indicators and people are continuing to move into the Washington Metropolitan Area with very good jobs and very good salaries. These people want to buy homes and will buy homes. The difference is that they will have lots of homes to choose from, won’t have to give up their first born children to obtain a home and will even be able to negotiate the price of a home. In short, we’re returning to a more “normal” housing market – which is not such a bad thing.

On the movie front: If you get a chance to get to the European Film Festival at the AFI Silver over the next couple of weeks, it looks like there are some great choices. The closing movie, “The Diving Bell and The Butterfly” played at the Telluride Film Festival over Labor Day (an annual event for me and several friends and family) and I can recommend it highly!!! Don’t read about it first (we almost skipped it at Telluride because of the description)…just go and you’ll be glad you did!!

Look for more real estate related posts (with movie/cultural/sports recommendations thrown in for fun) and the mood strikes me!!

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