Are investors pricing out the low and middle class in DC??

6 Replies

DC is a tough market for first time low income homebuyers and increasingly so for those in the middle class. What are your thoughts on the impact of investors buying properties and selling them and price points too high for the low and middle class? Are we displacing hard working families? Are we making homeownership more difficult for middle class people to achieve? Thoughts?

The DC area has a HUGELY wide array of price points.  People can buy at almost any price point imaginable from $50k to tens of millions.  Now you wont get a cheap property in Bethesda, but there are plenty of affordable locations in the metro area.

Russell Brazil, Real Estate Agent in Maryland (#648402), Virginia (#0225219736), District of Columbia (#SP98375353), and Massachusetts (#9​0​5​2​3​4​6)
(301) 893-4635

@Rhonda Harrison As @Russell Brazil has mentioned DC is a huge market. Plus, it is a very desirable market due to government, defense contracting, private equity and other businesses operating there. 

It's a free country. Investors have as much right to buy a property as someone else. Trust me, I lived in Toronto downtown which has been going through a property boom like nothing else. It sucks to be on the other side. But investors can't be blamed for affordable housing issues.  

Cheap money (not investors) drove prices up.

Interesting question though (I grew up near DC), housing affordability is definitely an issue in every major market. I get why some would say investors are causing the affordability issue, but my guess is it would be a lot more productive if policies/discussions focused on two issues, (i) why haven't wages been increasing as asset prices and rent have gone up the last 10 years and (ii) why isn't there enough of an incentive for investors to build affordable housing. Ignoring that and saying investors should stop flipping houses doesn't seem to address the core issues (at least in my view). But happy to hear from the other side.

For example, maybe someone who does developments could chime in, but my guess is the numbers on building new affordable housing just aren't compelling, and if policy/markets shift so that it is attractive, you're going to have a lot more BP forum discussions with everyone asking how to get involved (which would be a positive for low income families because supply will go up and rents eventually come down)

@Rhonda Harrison agreed with @Russell Brazil .  Yes investors are actively purchasing but in my opinion it is good for the district's economy.  With growing population, taking a single family lot and putting it to its highest and best use, based on zoning, is giving more individuals the opportunity to move into the area.

That being said, there are still plenty of ares that the middle class can purchase.  Once they purchase it is a great opportunity for them to begin to generate wealth as the developers/investors help their property appreciate in value by increasing the comps.

5-10 years down the road they will be extremely pleased that they purchased when they did.

Cassidy Burns, Real Estate Agent in MD (#SP98377167)
Originally posted by @Rhonda Harrison :
DC is a tough market for first time low income homebuyers and increasingly so for those in the middle class. What are your thoughts on the impact of investors buying properties and selling them and price points too high for the low and middle class? Are we displacing hard working families? Are we making homeownership more difficult for middle class people to achieve? Thoughts?

 I know this topic is about DC, but I have heard similar arguments with concern to areas all over the US.

I do not believe that investors are to blame for displacing working families. The reason the prices are high has to do with simple supply and demand. As an investor, I do not set the price or the value of a property. The market sets the value. I simply work to add value to a property by improving it, and then I realize those profits.

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