Some interesting excerpts from this report on the D.C. housing market from the Brookings Institution:
Incredibly, in 1996, developers did not seek a single residential building permit in the city, but just two years later the District issued more than 429 of them. As the market heated up, more developers went into action. In 2004 they took out more than 1,900 building permits, more than six times the average for the 1990s.Certainly some food for thought.
...Between 2000 and 2003,the median single-family house price leapt by 45 percent -- a higher increase than in any other section of the metropolitan area -- from $159,000 to $290,000. Then, between September 2003 and September 2005 the median sales price of homes in the District shot up even faster, by 57% to $485,000.
...To acquire a home in the increasingly expensive market, an increasing proportion of buyers took out adjustable rate, balloon, and other high-risk types of mortgages. In the first half of 2005, for example, half of all homebuyers in the District purchased homes with interest-only loans.
...Between 2001 and 2003, for example, the average of advertised rents for one- and two-bedroom apartments in Washington shot up by 60 and 84 percent, respectively ... Between 2000 and 2004, the portion of tenants paying more than 30 percent of their income for rent jumped from 39 to 46 percent and the share paying more than 50 percent of their income climbed from 18 percent to 23 percent.