The Housing Market in SoBo Heating Up!

| April 20, 2012 | 0 Comments

I’m not sure there has been anything covered in the news more than the economy and the crash of the housing market.  The effects were certainly felt in South Baltimore and around the country.  “In September of 2006, we just knew something was different. There was a different feel in the air and all of the sudden the phone stopped ringing,” Jeff Washo told SouthBMore.com.  Washo, a realtor with Prudential PenFed Realty, has been selling real estate in South Baltimore for ten years.

The housing market really suffered in the following years as supply really outnumbered demand and a restructuring of the mortgage industry made loans very hard to come by.  Many houses sat vacant, many people took their homes off the market and up and coming areas took a big step back.

Six years later, the doom and gloom of the housing crash is in the rear view mirror for many involved in the  local real estate market and Washo just had the best February in his ten year career. “It’s incredible how healthy the market is right now and it feels really good,” Washo told SouthBMore.com.  “I’m working with buyers right now who keep losing out on homes because they just don’t comprehend how strong the market is right now.  Just this week I went through a multiple offer situation with buyers on a 300k house in Federal Hill and a 400k house in Canton, unfortunately we lost out on both.”

With the housing crash feeling like it was just yesterday, why is the South Baltimore market rebounding so strong? Washo attributed three things to the sway in momentum.  “You can’t ignore the Washington, DC effect.  When people see that a two-bedroom condo in Arlington costs them $550k plus condo fees and a large rowhome in Federal Hill or Canton can be purchased for $300k, it leads to a lot of people making the one-hour commute and getting a much better house.”

Many will tell you that cities are emerging right now because they are a popular location for baby boomers and their kids.  Washo has also seen a strong influence from the baby boomer generation.  “It has been projected that the children of  baby boomers could lead to billions in real estate sales.  We are working with a ton of buyers whose parents are very involved in the whole process and we have a ton of co-signers.  The number one rule in real estate is location, location, location, and when the parents are involved,  it’s even more important.  It puts nice areas like Federal Hill, Canton and Fells Point at a huge advantage, but certainly puts the up-and-coming areas at a disadvantage.”

The third big reason the market is so strong is because it’s just so expensive to rent right now.  “It’s cheaper to buy than rent right now.  I try to convince people with large rental budgets that they should buy a home especially with interest rates near four percent,” said Washo.  But the rental market is only getting stronger and demand is getting higher.  “I just rented out a very small three bedroom home for $1650 per month in one hour –  it was crazy,” said Washo.  $1650 is definitely a steal for South Baltimore as many one-bedrooms start near $1500 in apartment buildings on the South Peninsula.

Taking a quick look at the listings on Craigslist, out of the first 20 listings for a three-bedroom in the Federal Hill category, which in real estate language means the whole peninsula, only three are listed for less than $2,000 per month.  One is listed for $5150 per month, one for $3,000 per month and five more listings for over $2400 per month.  Looking at McHenry Row’s website, two bedrooms apartments start at $2,030 per month and go up to $2,530 per month.

It’s not just about people coming to South Baltimore that creates a strong market, it also has a lot to do with people staying and making their home here.  “People are coming here and staying for a long time.  Just look at the improvements in the public schools and some of the great Montessori schools around,” Washo told SouthBMore.com. “We are constantly getting new developments like McHenry Row and new restaurants and retail. Those are the things people really enjoy living near.”

Certainly some very encouraging signs for South Baltimore as I know many of you have made an investment in the area.  If you follow the news you will always hear stats about prices dropping, home sales being down and more doom and gloom, but all that matters is what is happening in your own neighborhood – and according to Jeff Washo, there are great things happening in South Baltimore real estate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the Author:

Founder and Publisher of SouthBmore.com, longtime resident of South Baltimore, and a graduate of Towson University. Diehard Ravens and O's fan, beach volleyball enthusiast, dog lover, and "bar food" foodie. Email me at [email protected] and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.
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