Just like everywhere else in the U.S., Washington, D.C. has been through some serious ups and downs over the past six months as a result of COVID-19. Though many industries are suffering due to the pandemic and unemployment numbers are soaring, the real estate market in the D.C. Metro area is currently reporting higher than average sales.
That isn’t to say that we didn’t experience some scary times back in the beginning when the pandemic first hit. In March of this year, home sales took a steep dive as a result of COVID-19. However, new safety measures and historically low-interest rates have caused a resurgence in the market over the summer. In our current real estate market, it’s hard to tell there’s a pandemic happening at all. In this article, we’ll dive into what has happened to the Washington, D.C. real estate market from March through today and explore some of the ways the industry has adapted to the “new normal.”
The initial shock
Entering 2020, the real estate market in D.C. was off to a fantastic start. According to an article from Brookings, January, and February home sales in the Metro area surpassed the monthly averages from the previous three years. However, the home sales numbers practically took a nosedive in March.
According to the same article, March homes sales fell significantly lower than the monthly average from 2017-2019. During this time many potential buyers put their home-buying plans on hold as fear of the unknown took center stage. At the same time, many home sellers put their active listings on hold or pumped the brakes on listing entirely, wanting to avoid opening their doors to strangers during a pandemic. So, we ended up with somewhat of a stalemate. Yes, sales were down. But, active listings were down too.
Increased safety standards
As we do, people started figuring out how to continue selling homes in this new environment. Listing appointments went virtual, 3D tours replaced in-person showings, and closings were held in parking lot tents. Real estate professionals knew they needed to find a way to take care of their clients no matter what. Turns out that with just a few tweaks, the home selling and buying process can run just as smoothly during a pandemic.
Summer market rebound
Once customers became comfortable with these new safety measures, it didn’t take long for the Washington, D.C. real estate market to bounce back. In fact, the market is reporting record home sales this year. According to an article from Washingtonian, “More homes went under contract this June than during any other June in at least the past decade.” That really is incredible. As quickly as the market tanked in March, it has bounced back.
Home buying is an integral part of the American experience. It is so ingrained in our way of life that it really can’t ever stop completely. Even at the lowest point, March of this year, 530 homes sold in Washington, D.C. That is only 170 or so less than the year before. This was during the scariest part of the pandemic when shelter-in-place orders were being signed and millions of people were being let go from their jobs. So, yes COVID-19 hit D.C. hard. But, the housing market bounced back and is expecting record sales this year.