As in all forecasts, we can only rely on what we see to be a general trend. The Washington metro area real estate market in 2014 has slowed in comparison to 2013 with less activity. A trend that was thought to be related to the long, cold winter can now be seen to be caused by a number of other factors.
Those factors include changes in the types of jobs and incomes in the metro area, particularly the reduction in federal jobs. Although the area saw an increase of jobs of 28,000 from June, 2013 to June, 2014, they were not high-wage jobs. That significantly reduces the pool of buyers who can afford to buy a home.
The government shutdown was seen as a wake up call for much of the federal labor force who are being cautious in their moving decisions. Buyers today do not have the benefit of the first-time homebuyers tax credit. There are also fewer affordable homes. Lending requirements are more stringent and salaries are not keeping up with housing prices.
According to the Real Estate Business Intelligence Service (RBI), buyer activity was down from last year in every month. However, the median sales price has remain pretty stable. Inventory continues to grow, although according to RBI, overall inventory remains low, just 43.2 percent of its peak level.
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