Drawing Battle Lines:  Getting Ready for the Spring Bidding Wars?

January 31, 2019

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Traditionally, the Washington area housing market is ­the strongest during the spring market, and depending on the weather, that’s probably March, April, and May.  The chill lifts and trees start to give us blossoms.  The daffodils and tulips come to visit, and the city is at its most beautiful.  This year, however, most of us are hesitant to make predictions. There are way too many question marks. Here are a few of them:
  • Will interest rates go up, and if they do, how will that impact home prices?  Usually, rate increases dampen prices, but not always. But they might not go up at all, or at least not enough to make a difference.  Nobody really knows.
  • Will the latest government shutdown create any anomalies in this spring’s market?  Probably not, but again, we can only guess. The partial shutdown ended, but there is the threat of another one very soon.  And whenever an area’s major employer behaves erratically, the local housing market does not usually benefit.
  • What inventory increases might there become spring? It depends on which part of the market we’re talking about. It will all depend on the neighborhood, the type of property (condos vs. single-family homes) and the price point.
  • What about the Amazon factor?  The other day, I received a robocall with the exciting invitation to apply for a job at Amazon.  The voice said that pay started at $7.00 per hour.  So how many of the promised 25,000 jobs will actually pay a wage that will support a hefty mortgage remains to be seen.
Bottom line, there are many, many questions right now, and instead of answers, we we really only have guesses.  Some of the guesses are quite well educated, but that doesn’t raise them to the level of real answers.  I know what the market is doing right this minute, but this spring? I’m not venturing into March until maybe Valentine’s Day!
Hmmm. I think they call this the “You know what you don’t know” stage.