Amid Bidding Wars And Overpriced Offers D.C. Is Surprisingly Labeled As A Top Buyer’s Market. Here’s Why.

A massive difference exists in neighborhoods around the DC area with some houses sitting on the market for months while others are snapped up in days.

By Jeff Vasishta March 15, 2017
Credit: Alexey Topolyanskiy

For home buyers in Washington D.C. used to making offers on beautiful, century plus old brick townhouses only to find themselves in a heated bidding war, the news from Zillow that D.C. is one of the top buyer’s markets in the country may come as something of a shock. Buyers’ markets are associated with desperate sellers slashing prices while buyers are spoiled for choice, getting properties at a steal. No so in D.C. as many will attest. So why the mis-information?

Turns out that Zillow wasn’t wrong. The D.C. Metro area is vast with a large cross-section of neighborhoods. While certain pockets, such the swanky city districts such as Georgetown are hot commodities, in the suburbs of Maryland and Virginia there are deals to be had. Also, the No.1 buyer’s market in the country is in nearby Baltimore, a dense inner-city.

Related: Is The White House The Only Address Up For Grabs? DC To The Highest Bidder

To prove the point, the top buyers markets in the D.C metro region are Huntingtown, Chesapeake Beach, Indian Head, Bowie and District Heights — which are all in Maryland. Conversely Centreville, Franconia, Alexandria, Purcellville and Sterling, all in Virginia, are the top five sellers’ markets.

In some respects, D.C. is an anomaly because of the massive diversity in the surrounding metro area. Normally — as in the case of San Francisco — the number one seller’s market nationally, the surrounding neighborhoods in the Bay Area are also seller’s markets. The same is true for  New York. However, in DC the difference couldn’t be greater. Last year a three story row house NW in Kalorama (the neighborhood where the Obamas and Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump just moved to) went on the market last year for $1.1 million, and ultimately sold for $1.45 million, or 31 percent over the list price — and it was a fixer upper.

“While the property clearly needs work, updated homes on this street can easily sell in the $1.1 million to $2 million range,” Redfin agent Steven Centrella told Washington’s Top News at the time. “With only a couple of these homes popping up per year, even buying the worst house on a great block can be a fantastic investment.”

Related: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Just Purchased The Largest Home In Washington D.C.

Currently, homes in the swanky Georgetown and Kalorama districts can fetch up to $9 million

Conversely showed that there were 129 available homes in the upscale Maryland suburb of Huntingtown, selling for around $200,000 on the low end and close to a million on the high.

The shift from a buyers to a sellers market can happen quickly as occurred in the aftermath of the 2008 financial collapse. With interest rates set to go up, despite lending restrictions relaxing it remains to be seen how the markets will be affected. Major urban markets such as DC with its government centric base is likely to remain solid. Its suburbs could be a different matter.

Jeff Vasishta



Jeff is a writer, husband and father but not necessarily in that order. As a music journalist he counts Prince, Beyonce and Quincy Jones amongst those he’s interviewed. He's also owned and flipped homes in Brooklyn, NJ, CT and PA.

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