GCAAR’s Jan Brito, Other Real Estate Experts Share D.C. Market Insights

— Panel hosted by the Washington Business Journal draws more than 150 attendees —

Summer brought the typical vacation season slowdown, but inventory levels and sales have kicked back up in the Greater Washington market, positioning the region for a strong year ahead, according to expert panelists at a recent roundtable organized by the Washington Business Journal.

“It comes down to supply and demand, and I believe it’s going to be a very brisk 2022,” said Jan Brito, 2021 GCAAR president. “People are back from traveling and we’re already seeing an uptick in activity along with more inventory.”

There had been a reluctance among 65+ homeowners to sell, but Brito believes we will see movement from that segment in 2022 and 2023, adding to the expected activity.

The Business Journal featured Brito as one of its expert panelists on the 2021 Residential Real Estate Roundtable discussion led by Alex Orfinger, publisher of the Washington Business Journal. Participants included David Howell, executive vice president and CIO, McEnearney Associates; Leo Anzoleaga, senior vice president of residential lending, Draper and Kramer Mortgage Corp.; and Lauren Kinard, president, First Excel Title.

As for the most in-demand home features, Brito says buyers are looking for a dedicated work from home space, as a lot of people will continue to work remotely even when pandemic restrictions are over. “Quiet, separate rooms where people can get work done. That’s been a big criterion in the searches for folks,” she said. Outdoor spaces are also key, including a renewed interest in homes with pools.

According to Orfinger, consumers are highly educated regarding real estate, so in what ways does that influence the panelists’ roles today? Information is different than knowledge, Brito responded. “REALTORS® have both and that’s one reason consumers rely on us to guide them.”

“I love working with and educating consumers,” she said. “They need help with interpreting and analyzing the data and making it make sense for them. A home sale is typically the largest transaction in someone’s life, a very big deal. They rely on someone to navigate that with them, with full service.”

Brito discussed GCAAR’s homeownership webinar series that is enabling people who never imagined they could own a home to become homeowners. The partnership with Capital Area Asset Builders includes two, week-long series of webinars to help underprivileged populations get on the path toward homeownership.

More than 300 people registered for the spring session highlighting homeownership in Washington, D.C., while a series focusing on Montgomery took place in October and drew more than 100.

“The experts agree,” according to the Business Journal summary of the roundtable. “From historically low interest rates to shifts in inventory, to real and anticipated market disruptions and the people who buy, sell and invest in properties, the residential real estate market of Greater Washington, D.C. maintains its position as an indicator of steady economic growth and opportunity throughout the region now and into 2022.”