The Isaacs Team



Washington DC real estate news, market data and new construction project highlights.
DC real estate market data

Washington DC Market Update

New Condo & Co-Op Market Data November 2017

In Washington, DC, the median sold price for Condo & Coop properties for November was $466,700, an increase of 6.2% over last month and an increase of 11.1% from Nov 2016. Average Days On Market for units sold in November was 38 days, 3% above the 5-year November average. There was a 21.2% month-over-month decrease in new contract activity with 312 New Pendings; a 10.8% MoM decrease in All Pendings (new contracts + contracts carried over from October) to 447; and a 7.3% decrease in supply to 744 active units.

This activity resulted in a Contract Ratio of 0.60 pendings per active listing, down from 0.62 in October and a decrease from 0.66 in November 2016. The Contract Ratio is 18% lower than the 5-year November average of 0.73. 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.

Waiting Until Spring to Purchase?

A look at the bar chart confirms what your Realtor has probably told you; that prices rise in the spring. The data is taken from closings, which average 30 to 40 days in escrow, so the increases in May and June reflect sales primarily realized from March through May. Once those prices rise, they become sellers’ comparables and prices of new listings start at those levels and go up from there. If you’re looking to save, buy now.

Support Local Saturday Slate Properties LLC

Slate Announces 52 Week Campaign

Slate Properties Announces ‘Support Local Saturday’
It’s a celebration of DC’s locally-owned and independent businesses!

The Slate Properties team is excited to announce the launch of a 52-Week Campaign celebrating and featuring locally-owned and independent businesses based in The District of Columbia. Beginning November 25th and running every Saturday for one year, Slate will feature one of DC’s independent businesses that enlivens our communities, supports DC neighborhoods and adds to our collective sense of place. Look for photos, videos, stories, and special deals! Slate will introduce the people behind the businesses of DC’s “Main Street” and invite visitors to learn more about their business.

As a locally-owned and independent real estate brokerage based in DC, Slate Properties shares in the mission of these other business owners and is proud to introduce their products and services to you.  We hope you join us for the campaign and follow along each Saturday.


mortgage lending

Will Mortgage Interest Rates Rise in 2018?

Interest Rate Hikes on Horizon

The predicted replacement in February of Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen may or may not result in an escalated pace of interest rate hikes, depending on her successor.

According to the CME’s Fed Watch Tool, there’s a 97.8% chance the Fed will raise rates at its FOMC meeting in December.

The Fed began to unwind its economic stimulus in October with the roll off its $4.5 trillion balance sheet of Treasury and mortgage-backed securities  acquired under the quantitative easing program. October did not see a benchmark interest rate increase, indications are that one additional rate hike can be expected this year. Current forecasts indicate three increases in 2018 and two in 2019.

The goal in raising the federal funds rate, experts say, is moving it closer to a long-term neutral of 3% to 3.5% rather than fighting inflation.

Interest rate increases should moderate economic growth. Typically, consumers are less likely to borrow and borrow less to offset increased interest rates.

The job market is affected by interest rate increases. When the federal funds rate rises, the economy slows, leading to fewer hires and pay increases.

The majority of credit card companies charge variable interest rates tied to the prime rate (approx. 3 percentage points above the federal funds rate). When the federal funds rate rises, the prime rate follows, so expect higher credit card interest rates in 2018 and 2019.

CD rates largely follow the short-term interest rates that track the federal funds rate. However, Treasury yields and other macroeconomic factors can influence rates on long-term CDs.

HELOCs (home equity line of credit) are linked to the prime rate, so when the Fed rate rises, HELOC rates follow.

The Federal Reserve has an indirect influence on mortgage rates, which may rise when the Fed increases short-term rates. Higher mortgage interest rates may also negatively impact property valuations inflated by low interest rates.

In late October, the average mortgage interest rate for 30 year, fixed rate loans rose to 3.94%.  During the same time the previous year, the benchmark rate was 3.47% and the historic average was about 6%.

The average rate on 15-year, fixed-rate mortgages rose to 3.25% from 3.19% compared to a year ago, when the rate was 2.78%.

The average rate on a five-year, adjustable-rate mortgage increased to 3.21% from 3.17% last week.

Long-term home loan rates tend to track the yield on 10-year U.S. Treasury notes. The interest on 10-year Treasury notes has risen since early September, possibly in anticipation of proposed tax cuts that could significantly increase the amount of government debt.

New Credit Scoring Bill

A new Senate companion bill to the Credit Score Competition Act, reintroduced in Congress earlier this year by Ed Royce (R-California), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona), and Terri Sewell (D-Alabama), requires Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to utilize alternative credit scoring models with the goal of ending the FICO monopoly and allowing more Americans to purchase a home. The bill was originally introduced in 2015.

Sens. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) are sponsoring the Senate version, which would allow lenders to use alternative credit scores when assessing consumers’ qualification for a mortgage loan.

Currently, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac require lenders to utilize scoring models developed using aged data (1995 to 2000). Experts say this disqualifies borrowers without a credit score and heavily penalizes many for less than perfect credit scores. The Credit Score Competition Act authorizes the FHFA to set standards and criteria for validation and approval of credit scoring models.

Read the full story at Housing Wire

Wire Fraud

How Does Wire Fraud Affect You?

Protect Yourself From Wire Fraud

Wire fraud attempts are surging in the U.S. according to a recent FBI Advisory. These attacks, in the form of email hacks and phishing schemes, have increased dramatically from 2013 to 2017. The Bureau’s Internet Crime Complaint Center  reports an unprecedented number of attempts globally, especially via emails purporting to be from trusted business associates. They estimate the value of the targeted funds at $5.3 billion USD, but some experts say it could be double that amount. Wire transfers are common in real estate transactions. It’s important to know what the threats are and how to protect yourself against them.

2017 TOPA Reform Bills


In 2017, Ward 1 Councilmembers Anita Bonds and Brianne Nadeau each proposed bills restricting TOPA. Bonds’ bill, TOPA Accessory Dwelling Unit Amendment Act, exempts a dwelling’s rental portion such as a basement apartment, from the law if it consists of less than a third of the total square footage and the dwelling is owner-occupied. This bill shortens deadlines associated with TOPA. Nadeau’s Home Sale Facilitation Amendment Act, prevents tenants in owner-occupied single-family dwellings from selling or assigning their TOPA rights. This bill also shortens TOPA deadlines for single-family homes.

Approximately 200 people attended the DC Council hearing on TOPA reform on September 21st, with about 25 testifying to the Committee on Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson said that, while he continues to be an advocate for tenant rights, there were a number of TOPA issues that would not be remedied by newly proposed legislation and he stated his support for a full TOPA exemption for all single-family homes, eliciting a standing ovation.  A “Fix TOPA” website was launched to document TOPA horror stories.
Next steps are amendment mark-ups, a Council vote, then a 30-day U.S. congress review.
DC house flip

Why Are "Flips" Worrisome?

Why Are “Flips” Worrisome?

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.

DC Construction Permit

DCRA's New Online Permit Site

Get Your DCRA Permit Application Submitted Online

DCRA has upgraded its Online Construction Permit system to allow applicants to obtain permits online from start to finish. No further need for those fun trips to the DCRA office! Included are permits for intermediate and complex jobs. Simply upload plans through the ProjectDox system, pay, and obtain your new permit copy. Questions? Check out the  OCPI User Guide.

SLS Lux Condos 901 5th

901 5TH

SLS Lux Hotels & Residences Coming to DC

SBE’s ‘ultra-luxury’ brand SLS Lux plans a new mixed-use project at 910 5th Street in the Mount Vernon Triangle neighborhood. The property will include a high-end hotel, retail and luxury condominiums.

1309 Q Street #1

1309 Q Street #1

Sold by The Isaacs Team LLC

1309 Q Street #1 is a huge two bedroom + den, 2.5 bath residence one block from 14th Street in Logan Circle. Features include a massive, light living & entertaining floor, 10′-12′ ceilings, vintage hardwood floors, two fireplaces, chef’s kitchen, exposed brick stairwell, powder room, private outdoor space & secure parking. Sold at $1,325,000.

1808 Corcoran

Sold in Zero Days On Market at Record Price by The Isaacs Team LLC

1808 Corcoran is a stylish two bedroom, two bath residence 2.5 blocks from Dupont Circle. Features include a full finished basement, charming patio garden and fun finishes. Sold at $950,000.

DC Development

Washington DC Development

What’s Going Up in the District?

Washington DC is bursting with new construction, a boon for frustrated condo buyers who are encountering tight inventory in the resale market. The WestLight released their first luxury condo offering in November, Elysium Logan is beginning pre-sales on their luxury condo project off 14th on Rhode Island Avenue, 2501 M construction is progressing in West End, and The Adele will begin pre-sales in early 2017. There are many new DC real estate development projects, from boutique to large-scale, in various stages of development throughout the District. See what’s going up in your neighborhood!


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Serving the neighborhoods of 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.
Information on this site is believed to be accurate, but not guaranteed. Subject to change without notice. Realtors are not CPAs or attorneys and therefore not permitted to give tax or legal advice or interpretations. Refer to a tax or legal professional for all related matters. Any information provided on this site pertaining to such issues is not intended as tax or legal advice and is provided solely for the purpose of illustration. Resources cited are believed to be reliable but are not guaranteed and are subject to change without notice.
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