Condos Emerge As Real Estate Market Bright Spot

This Springfield condo is listed at $229,888

In Fairfax County, as in many markets throughout the country, condos generally don’t get much love. They often lag the single-family home market. They don’t sell as fast and usually don’t appreciate in value as quickly.

However, the summer of 2012 has seen new demand for condos.

“Condos are now in short supply, at least in the Annandale-Springfield area” said Pat Sawhney, associate broker at Remax 100 in Springfield. “I have demand but lately the condo inventory has gotten tight.”

That wasn’t always the case. As the county began to bounce back in the wake of the recession, condos were mostly absent from the recovery. Then early this year sales began to pick up.

“Investors sought condos as rental property because rents in the area began to take off,” Sawhney said. “Condos were recognized as the bargains they were.”

Moving higher

This Annandale condo is listed at $229,000.

By mid-year, condo prices were moving higher. In July prices for new condos throughout the Greater Washington Area rose for the first time since 2005, according to a report by Delta Associates. In Fairfax County, a report by Metropolitan Regional Information Systems found that condo prices had risen 2.23 percent year-over-year.

In August, 727 condo sales closed, up 6.87 percent from August 2011. The average sale price rose to $350, 863 — an increase of nearly nine percent.

“It’s been an unusually active summer in the market and condo sales may be one reason,” Sawhney said.

Sawhney says she has also seen a cooling of the red-hot rental market.

“I think rents went up too much, too fast,” she said. “Now, people are deciding it may be time to buy a home.”