Washington, D.C.–Area House Pricing Soar by Double Digits

A blog about business and economics.
Aug. 12 2013 10:17 AM

Washington, D.C.–Area House Pricing Soar by Double Digits

rbi_jul_13_prices

There was a lot of heady talk at the beginning of the year about sequestration putting a damper on the frenzied Washington, D.C.area housing market, but so far the prices just keep getting higher, as measured by MRIS transactions. This kind of data isn't ideal since it doesn't necessarily compare apples to apples, and it's always possible that there just happened to be a disproportionate number of sales involving very fancy houses. But the regionwide perspective seems a little hard to discount.

Even though there are a lot of construction cranes visible around downtown, the number of housing units being permitted remains well below its aughts level—a reminder that the bulk of housing and construction activity involves not particularly noteworthy developments in the suburbs, rather than high-profile projects near the center of the city.

There's a lot of talk at the national level about a "housing recovery," but that phrase could denote any number of things. What we see in the Washington area is that even in the markets where house prices have rebounded fairly strongly, we're nowhere near a recovery in terms of construction activity or construction jobs. High prices might be good for individual homeowners, but they only do something useful for the economy insofar as they stimulate new investment and job growth.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

TODAY IN SLATE

Jurisprudence

Don’t Expect Adrian Peterson to Go to Prison

In much of America, beating your children is perfectly legal. 

Ken Burns on Why Teddy Roosevelt Would Never Get Elected in 2014

Cops Briefly Detain Django Unchained Actress Because They Thought She Was a Prostitute

Minimalist Cocktail Posters Make Mixing Drinks a Cinch

How the Apple Watch Will Annoy Us

A glowing screen attached to someone else’s wrist is shinier than all but the blingiest of jewels.

Books

Rainbow Parties and Sex Bracelets

Where teenage sex rumors come from—and why they’re bad for parents and kids.

Books

You Had to Be There

What we can learn from things that used to be funny.

Legendary Critic Greil Marcus Measures and Maps Rock History Through 10 Unlikely Songs

Catfish Creator Nev Schulman’s Book Is Just Like Him: Self-Deluded and Completely Infectious

Behold
Sept. 12 2014 5:54 PM An Up-Close Look at the U.S.–Mexico Border
  News & Politics
Jurisprudence
Sept. 14 2014 2:37 PM When Abuse Is Not Abuse Don’t expect Adrian Peterson to go to prison. In much of America, beating your kids is perfectly legal. 
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 12 2014 5:54 PM Olive Garden Has Been Committing a Culinary Crime Against Humanity
  Life
Inside Higher Ed
Sept. 13 2014 8:38 AM “You’re More Than Just a Number” Goucher College goes transcript-free in admissions.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 12 2014 4:05 PM Life as an NFL Wife: “He's the Star. Keep Him Happy.”
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 12 2014 5:55 PM “Do You Know What Porn Is?” Conversations with Dahlia Lithwick’s 11-year-old son.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 14 2014 7:10 PM Watch Michael Winslow Perform Every Part of “Whole Lotta Love” With Just His Voice
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 12 2014 3:53 PM We Need to Pass Legislation on Artificial Intelligence Early and Often
  Health & Science
New Scientist
Sept. 14 2014 8:38 AM Scientific Misconduct Should Be a Crime It’s as bad as fraud or theft, only potentially more dangerous.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 12 2014 4:36 PM “There’s No Tolerance for That” Pete Carroll and Jim Harbaugh say they don’t abide domestic abuse. So why do the Seahawks and 49ers have a combined six players accused of violence against women?