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Big Government Makes Washington, D.C. Nation's Party Town For Housing

Written by on Wednesday, 20 July 2011 7:00 pm

Looking for a home to buy in an appreciating market?

Move over California.

Go East, young buyers. Go East.

The nation's capital is ground zero for the housing recovery.

You might not like the political infighting and partisan backbiting on Capital Hill, but you gotta love the region's housing market.

When it comes to home price appreciation, Washington, D.C. is the hottest major metro in the nation with a spillover effect not unlike the past California housing boom that spilled over into Nevada, Arizona and the rest of the West.

Standard & Poor's much-respected Case-Shiller Index revealed from March 2010 to March 2011, only Washington, D.C.-area homes enjoyed a price gain (4.3 percent), as home prices tumbled in the other 19 of the 20 indexed Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) for the same period.

More recently, Clear Capital said the D.C. area's home prices rose 4.4 percent over the first six months of 2011 and the real estate data collector predicts that for the rest of the year prices will rise by another 2.8 percent.

Nationwide, home prices were down 3.2 percent for the first six months of the year, Clear Capital reports.

What's doing in D.C.?

Blame it on big government -- jobs.

Next to Oklahoma City, OK (4.9 percent unemployment), the Washington, D.C. metro area had the lowest unemployment rate in the nation in May, (the latest metro number available) at 5.7 percent. Nationwide, unemployment was 9.2 percent for June, relatively unchanged from 9.1 percent in May.

While incomes have continued to grow, few jobs were lost in D.C. during the recession according to Alice Rivlin, a former Federal Reserve governor and director of the Greater Washington Research at the Brookings institution.

Last fall Rivlin laid it on the line with the Washington Times.

"The nature of our economy protects us. The federal government is the engine that drives this economy, directly or indirectly, accounting for at least a third of economic activity. In response to the economic crisis, not to mention two wars, federal activity is actually expanding," Rivlin told the Times.

IEDs blow up. Housing booms.

Gayoapolis says "The combination here of a high median income, relatively low unemployment and a well-educated population makes for a strong market and will continue to do so in the future."

Zero in

The Metropolitan Regional Information Systems (MRIS) took the news one step further to pinpoint the area's "Top Five Most Promising Mid-Atlantic Counties."

According to MRIS, the Mid-Atlantic area has a $295,000 median sold price with a median of 40 days on the market and the most promising counties are:

Alexandria City, VA - The median sales price is up 3.6 percent in 2011, from $415,000 to $430,000, and not far from its peak of $445,250 in 2007. The median days on market is currently at 44 days for 2011, but only 26 days in May 2011.

Arlington County, VA - The median sales price is up 2.9 percent in 2011, from $470,000 to $483,500. The area peak was $495,000 in 2005. The median days on market is at 29 days for 2011, 20 days in May 2011.

Washington, D.C. - The median sales price is up 1.4 percent in 2011 from $387,000 to $392,400. The District's high was $420,000 in 2005. Median days on market is 38 days for 2011, 25 for May.

MRIS also named Fairfax County, VA and Montgomery County, MD as area hot spots.

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  About the author, Broderick Perkins

Individual news stories are based upon the opinions of the writer and does not reflect the opinion of Realty Times.