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Is it better to buy or rent in Washington DC?

US Capitol Building At Night

There are countless reasons to move to Washington DC. Historic, beautifully developed, and brimming with art and culture, the capital city offers a multitude of features appealing to people from all walks of life. A robust public transportation system and stunning city architecture make daily living here a pleasure. Even the opportunities available promise a bright path ahead in this exciting city where the past, present, and future meet.

Moving here usually comes with a buy-vs.-rent dilemma. The answer to that question is never clean-cut, however. It starts with an understanding of the local real estate market and depends heavily on your personal and financial circumstances.

Unsure how to start the decision-making process? We’ve got you covered.

2021 Real estate in Washington DC

Like any other market, the Washington DC real estate market is subject to many fluctuations. In the past year, though, selling prices of available homes here have been consistently high – much to the cheer of sellers. Homes are selling at a median price of $710k but pricing still differs slightly depending on the neighborhood.

While properties in certain communities may experience an appreciation of as much as 4% in the coming year, there are those more likely to depreciate in value for a variety of reasons. One will also observe the wide selection of listed properties here, from glamorous luxury mansions to upscale modern townhomes. That said, buyers can rest assured that there’s a Washington DC home out there that will fit their requirements and budget.

What do all these mean in relation to one’s decision to either buy or rent? Understanding the market trends allows you, as a prospective buyer, to gauge the proper timing of your plans. It also gives you a clue on the path that’s best to take – whether it’s the renting or the buying route.

Why rent?

Generally, renting is the wiser choice in two scenarios: first, when you see yourself moving again in the short term – whether within DC or to other areas outside of it – and second, when you want to dip your toes first in the market before taking a leap. Renting doesn’t tie you down to any substantial commitment while keeping the door open to buying.

Waiting a while until prices have bottomed out could be wise if you plan to buy anyway. Just make sure to be up-to-date on prevailing market trends. That way, you avoid spending more time than necessary on renting when you could already start allocating funds toward buying a home.

Why buy?

Owning a home can be more economical in the long term, especially if you’re certain about putting down roots in Washington DC.

The key advantage of home-buying is that you gain not just a place to live but a great investment, as well. If you manage to purchase a property in DC while prices are low, you have the chance to sell it later when prices go back up and make a profit. With real estate being a low-risk investment, you stand to keep your investment at the least or profit generously at most, notwithstanding the market’s fluctuations.

For more in-depth advice, contact Heller Coley Reed of Long & Foster for insights into the local real estate landscape. Call 301.674.2829 or 240.800.5155, or send an email to HellerColeyReed(at)gmail(dotted)com for professional guidance on all things pertaining to DC real estate today.