New Housing Data for your Holiday Weekend

It’s that time again – January housing data has been released! Yes, it’s also President’s Day weekend, but we’re here to talk about real estate. In January, the market is still defined by tighter inventory and overall higher prices. DC continues to buck the trend, with home prices actually falling vs year ago levels. It’s too early to tell how rising interest rates will affect the local housing market. We’ll get an initial picture of this when looking back at the month of February.

In other news, we’ll cover some of my favorite Instagram accounts for design inspiration. And, could self-driving vehicles soon be coming to DC? The city is researching a pilot program to run along L’Enfant Plaza.

DESIGN TRENDS
Admittedly, I can be a bit of an Instagram addict. But, there are some accounts that are just jaw dropping and amazing to look at it. So, here are some of my personal favorites for all sorts of inspiration. Accidentally Wes AndersonĀ (@accidentallywesanderson) is a collection of photos that look like they could be in the next great Wes Anderson film that has yet to be made. They all exhibit the quirky composition and intense color of a Wes Anderson film. And, the best part is that each image is contributed by different individuals on their travels. Next up is Jackie Greaney’s (@jackiegreaney) expertly curated group of idyllic scenes from Maine – think Americana with just the right amount of snow and adorable dogs. Only a year after starting this venture, she was picked to be one of Country Living’s 100 Most Creative People. Katie Armour Taylor (@katiearmour) is a “California girl living in Copenhagen” capturing her travels and favorites in decor and design. She also has a fantastic blog if you have the time. And, lastly, I love reading Ken Staffey’s House Stories (@housestories_). Ken visits historical homes, mostly around the New York and New England area, and gives you the history that you can’t find anywhere else. That way when you feel like you are wasting time on Instagram, you can at least say you learned something!

LOCAL REAL ESTATE & DEVELOPMENT
Overall, the latest data on housingĀ in the DC area is more of the same – median prices rose for the 16th consecutive month, and inventory continued to shrink. Overall, inventory in the metro area fell by 14.8% vs year ago levels. The trend in DC proper has been the opposite of the region, however, with median home prices falling to $505,000 vs $528,000 in January 2017. Contrary to prior months, where inventory had risen in DC, it did tighten along with the rest of the region, contracting by almost 10%.

In other local news, Mayor Bowser has formed an Inter-Agency AV (Autonomous-Vehicle) Working Group to assess the possibility and impact of an AV pilot program in the District. Specifically, the group is exploring a program along L’Enfant Plaza SW, or 10th Street SW. The Working Group, along with the Southwest Business Improvement District, has released a Request for Information from the AV community on this potential program.

REAL ESTATE, INTEREST RATES & MORTGAGE NEWS
Inflation fears were exacerbated this week when CPI for January surged at a rate of 0.5%. This has many fearing the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates more than expected. On the other hand, some say not to worry – inflation has been subdued for a long time, and it’s unlikely to rise above 2%. We shall see, but I’m sure new Fed Chair Jay Powell will be watching all of this closely. In other news, residential construction seems to be off to a strong start this year, with new housing permits increasing at a rate of 7.4% vs year ago levels.

As of Wednesday, Freddie Mac’s survey showed the 30-year fixed rate mortgage up to 4.38%, the highest since April 2014. In active trading, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is up to 4.53% with some lenders quoting 4.625%.

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