DC Real Estate News
Keeping up with the latest DC real estate news and market trends helps make your transaction smoother and more profitable.
TOPA reform in DC
TOP STORY
TOPA Change

The D.C. Council voted to exempt single-family homes from the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA). The 39 year-old bill was originally designed to convert renters to owners by giving them right of first refusal if their dwelling listed for sale. But over the past decade, TOPA has come under fire as “legalized blackmail” since tenants began using the law to leverage payouts from sellers or stop sales altogether.

The charge for reform was led by DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson and At-Large Councilmember Anita Bonds, who say TOPA wasn’t intended to include protections for single family homes and that “bad actors” have used the law to drag out the sale of a home by indicating they plan on purchasing it, only to renege at the last minute. This tactic forces sellers into payouts that sometimes reach tens of thousands of dollars, or forces the property off-market, costing homeowners and realtors hundreds of thousands of dollars annually.

Opponents contend that the Council’s bill is the “biggest rollback of tenants’ rights in a decade.”

DCRA Restructuring Bill
DCRA Rehab
DCRA Restructuring

It’s the DC regulatory department everyone loves to hate. The DCRA, or Department of Consumer & Regulatory Affairs, may be subdivided, if a new bill introduced by DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson passes.

The Department of Buildings Act of 2018 restructures the agency according to service type. Building-related services like construction oversight, permitting, building safety, rental code enforcement, etc., will be under the purview of the Dept. of Buildings, or DOB. The Department of Licensing and Consumer Protection, or DLCP, will be responsible for business and professional licenses (including landlord licenses), consumer protection and all business-related services.

DCRA’s failure during recent years to improve its service has been a source of concern and oversight hearings over the past year. Efforts by the Mayor’s office to reform the department have effected only minor change. The bill enjoys strong support among Councilmembers.

DC real estate market data
Market Update
Condo & COop Market Data Update

The Washington DC median sold price for condos & co-ops in March was $479,900, an increase of 5.8% compared to February and an increase of 4.3% from Mar 2017. Average Days On Market for units sold in March was 40 days, 3% below the 5-year March average of 41 days. There was a 23.6% month-over-month increase in new contract activity with 429 New Pendings; an 11% MoM increase in All Pendings (new contracts + contracts carried over from February) to 523; and a 13% increase in supply to 624 active units.

This activity resulted in a Contract Ratio of 0.84 pendings per active listing, down from 0.85 in February and a decrease from 0.93 in March 2017. The Contract Ratio is 9% lower than the 5-year March average of 0.92. A higher Contract Ratio signifies a relative increase in contract activity compared to supply, and indicates the market is moving in the seller’s favor. A lower Contract Ratio signifies a relative decrease in contract activity compared to supply, and indicates the market is moving in the buyer’s favor.

How did your neighborhood fare?

House Flips in DC
“Flips”
Why Are “Flips” Risky?

Beware: The house you flip for may be a dog, not a unicorn. And that’s giving dogs a bad name. “Flips” are homes that have been purchased by a rehabber and “improved” for quick resale. Unfortunately, a good number of flippers focus more on cosmetic aspects of the home and less on its structural integrity or soundness of electrical, plumbing and mechanical elements. Their goals are speed and profit, not care and concern. And that’s the good news. Some unscrupulous DC and NVA flippers have been caught drywalling over serious structural issues that later became homeowner nightmares. While some flippers do a good job, flips are an area of great concern and should be approached with extreme caution. Their popularity has exploded in DC in the last decade, as have the number of serious construction issues and lawsuits. With little regulatory oversight for permitted and unpermitted residential construction in DC, bad behavior can be commonplace. Remember, anyone can decide to start flipping houses, whether they are qualified or not. Permits may or may not be pulled, and in our experience, DCRA inspections are often ignored. Often the properties are held in an LLC to limit liability, so there may be limited legal recourse if you experience problems. Flips are classified as renovations rather than ground-up construction, so they’re subject to spotty DCRA permitting and inspection rather than the much more rigorous building code new projects are expected to adhere to.

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The Isaacs Team offers specialized Washington DC real estate representation for buyers and sellers. Learn how working with us will improve your process and bottom line!
The Isaacs Team LLC
theisaacsteam@gmail.com
(202) 669-5343
Slate Properties LLC
1121 5th Street NW DC 20001
Serving Northwest DC, Northeast DC, Southeast DC and Southwest DC including Dupont Circle, Logan Circle, Crestwood, Capitol Hill, H Street, Kalorama, Mount Pleasant, Columbia Heights, Georgetown, West End, Burleith, Foggy Bottom, Shaw, LeDroit Park, Bloomingdale, U Street, Penn Quarter, Mt. Vernon Triangle, Palisades, Chevy Chase, Friendship Heights, Barnaby Woods, American University Park, Observatory Circle, Forest Hills, Woodley Park, FoxHall, 14th Street Corridor, U Street Corridor, Meridian Hill, Hill East, Barracks Row, Eastern Market and portions of Northern Virginia including Arlington, Alexandria, McLean, Great Falls, Fairfax, Vienna and Falls Church. We do not handle leasing transactions.

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