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Predictions for D.C.’s real estate market in 2017

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Two D.C. area real estate agents share their insight on what to expect for the upcoming year

When it came to the real estate market in 2016, it was pretty relaxed. In order to learn what to expect for next year, Curbed DC reached out to Steve Centrella, a Redfin agent in Washington, D.C., and Gerda Gaetjen, a RE/MAX agent in McLean, Virginia, for their insight.

See what they had to say below.

Do you expect home prices across the District to rise or lower?

Steve Centrella: All indications point to prices continuing to rise in the District. If rates continue to increase, that might temper that rise by a little bit, but I believe we’ll continue to see price growth.

Gerda Gaetjen: Housing prices should remain stable, perhaps a slight increase, depending on how much interest rates will rise.

Which neighborhoods do you expect to heighten in popularity? Which do you expect to lessen?

Centrella: Given the groundbreaking of McMillian and the development near the Rhode Island Avenue Metro station, I expect Edgewood, Stronghold, and Park View to enjoy some additional popularity.

On the flipside, Petworth is losing a little of its shine. The northern portion of the neighborhood, in particular, doesn’t have as many nearby amenities that buyers are looking for, so they are exploring what they can get in other neighborhoods for the same price point.

Gaetjen: Brookland, Riggs Park, and Brentwood should increase in popularity. Buyers can still get good value in these neighborhoods.

Traditionally popular neighborhoods (i.e. Dupont Circle, Cleveland Park, Logan Circle, and Georgetown) will become less popular since they have become unaffordable for most buyers.

When it comes to flipping, which will be the best neighborhood to invest in?

Centrella: Flipping continues to be very profitable in neighborhoods across the city. Trinidad is still seeing quite a bit of investment, especially considering the commercial reinvestment into Ivy City to the north. Historic Anacostia still provides quite a few opportunities for flippers.

Gaetjen: The best neighborhoods for flipping will be Ivy City and Anacostia. The reason those two area are good for flipping is because the price per square foot is still well below other neighborhoods, plus there is a lot of older housing stock which lends itself well to renovating and in some cases tear down and re-built.

If the plans for a park and mixed-use development in Anacostia materialize, then it will make that area more attractive for potential buyers.

What are the features homebuyers will look for most?

Centrella: Location remains the driver for most buyers’ home search. From there, the classics of updated kitchens and modernized baths are the first things to attract attention. As more families choose to stay and grow in the District, outdoor space and good access to parks and recreation are increasingly important.

Gaetjen: Remodeled and new homes that require minimal work and upgrades before move-in, open lay-out, modern cabinetry, and sleek fixtures in kitchens and bathrooms.

What other trends do you think homebuyers should take note of in 2017?

Centrella: In 2017, the Fannie and Freddie conforming loan limits are increasing from $625,500 to $636,150, which will give buyers some more room on their conventional loan to account for the rise in prices.

In September 2016, D.C. Zoning regulations loosened restrictions on accessory dwellings throughout the city, so next year expect more opportunities for homeowners to add an income unit to their property.

Gaetjen: Homebuyers looking for convenience, so workplace, shopping, and restaurants within walking distance.

The interviews have been edited and condensed for clarity.