Introducing our first installment of Three Cents Worth—a regular column by our numbers guy, Jonathan Miller. He's a former DC resident now living in New York where he studies the facts and figures behind the nation's housing market. We first introduced him when he had some good news about pending home sales, but we can't promise he's always going to be bringing the sunshine. But he will always tell it like it is.
As a Manhattan real estate appraiser who grew up in the Washington, DC metro area, I thought it would be appropriate to link the two markets in my inaugural Three Cents Worth DC column for Curbed. One of the things that seems to be missing from the DC metro area housing market discussion is some historical context.
Since DC has the federal government as one of its economic engines and Manhattan has Wall Street—and both institutions seemed to work together to make it easier for us to get into the economic mess we find ourselves in, I plotted the year over year change in active inventory (many other ways to do this) and was surprised at how much more pronounced the 2006 spike in DC metro inventory was as compared to Manhattan.
The difference in the latter half of the decade seemed to be related to record Wall Street bonuses, which kept Manhattan going and expanded the new development boom there while DC labored to work off the excess supply. Now that the federal homebuyers tax credit has expired, the two markets, which are arguably two of the best housing markets in the country right now (relatively speaking, of course), things might be a bit more boring over the next few years as we move away from the manic markets of 2008-2010.