Just one look at this first chart showing the average sales prices in Columbia Heights and Mount Pleasant over the last two years might possibly make you a little nauseous.
Taken at face value this data seems nothing short of erratic and unpredictable, which, in someways is an accurate perspective. One thing you can’t do, is take this chart at face value. For instance, look at rowhomes in February 2011 compared to February 2012 (if you role your mouse over the dot it will bring up the average price for that month). If you take this at face value the the price of row homes in Columbia Heights and Mount Pleasant are up by an average of $190,000 year on year. I can tell you with great certainty that this is not the case.
So why all the crazy data? In short, the Washington, DC real estate market is not easily pinned down by simple property categories. In the suburbs you have nice tidy developments of similar homes, built at the same time, and with similar features. In DC however, you have various home types, sizes, and layouts, built over 100 years ago, that have undergone various forms of renovations and updates over the decades.
My point? A broad look at the sales data, such as this, allows all the above mentioned variables to have a significant impact on the numbers. It’s not that row homes went up in value by $190k in 12 months, its that in February of 2012 there was likely an increase in the number of larger, renovated row homes that sold compared to February 2011. So, that chart above is not so much a roller coaster of actual price fluctuations, but an indicator of timing that certain inventory hit the market and sold.
Confused? Perfect. The reality is, if you want to know what YOUR home is worth in Columbia Heights or Mount Pleasant you will have have to get one on one with someone who can take an honest look at the directly comparable sales with you.
That said, I do offer this anecdote for how the area is fairing overall as we enter into the spring market. In this chart below you can see that in all three major price brackets for these two neighborhoods sales increased significantly over January help with essay. Don’t get too excited, we are still only talking about single digit figures for each category, but the trajectory is good.
Kristin, the founder of The Ramsbury Group, has been representing clients and redeveloping properties in the Washington DC area for over a decade. She has represented residential and commercial clients in transactions ranging from $200,000 to $4 million in value as well as commercial leases up to 15,000sf.