Apr 1, 2022 - Real Estate

D.C.'s supercharged spring market

Animated gif of a house going down a supermarket checkout conveyor belt

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Washington’s housing frenzy will continue this spring, local real estate professionals tell Axios.

Why it matters: Rising interest rates are raising the stakes for homebuyers. Couple that with still-low inventory, and D.C.'s always-busy spring market promises to remain competitive. Some would-be buyers may be staring down another season of discontent. 

Yes, but: It won’t last forever. Higher interest rates are pricing some buyers out. Senior Zillow economist Jeff Tucker anticipates that any noticeable slow-down in competition will come later this summer. 

State of play: The rise in mortgage rates in recent weeks is jaw-dropping, and outside the range of any recent experience, Axios’ Neil Irwin writes

  • Freddie Mac said the average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 4.42% last week, up from 3.76% three weeks earlier. That's the biggest three-week rise since 1987. Just three months ago, the rate was 3.05%. 
  • The speed and scale of interest rate increases mean that a home within budget for a buyer one week can become unaffordable not long after. 

Between the lines: D.C.’s wealth of well-qualified buyers is also contributing to the competition. 

“You’ve got a well-paid, well-educated and a continuing-to-grow workforce and a limited amount of homes for that workforce to actually purchase,” Greater Capital Area Association of Realtors president Harrison Beacher tells Axios.

What to watch: While housing prices rise, rent is also increasing. McWilliams|Ballard vice president Robbie Cook says he anticipates that more renters will enter the District’s condo market in an effort to make the most of their money.


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