Washington housing market still going strong

It's no secret the real estate industry has had its fair share of ups and downs over the past few years. However, experts report it's slowly getting better and the Washington metro area is one that's particularly showing promise. A homebuyer currently searching for homes for sale in Washington, DC has picked a good time to invest in this market.

Home price appreciation in the Washington market is accelerating, according to the Washington Business Journal. Since last year, the DC metro area median sale price has gone up 7.8 percent, with houses sold for a median price of $345,000 in March 2012. The District was up 7.7 percent from the first quarter of 2011, with a median price of $395,000. Fairfax is up 11.1 percent with a median sale price of $417,000 and Arlington up 10.9 to $495,000, states the source.

The increase in home prices is likely one of the many factors that has recently landed Washington, DC on the National Association of Home Builder's list of the 101 US Housing Markets that has shown "measurable improvement," according to The Washington Post.

The source explains in order to be placed on the list a market must be showing improvement for at least six months. Improvement is classified as the ability to stay above its low point in the 2009 housing crash in terms of housing prices, employment and building permits.

While it makes sense that higher housing prices are indicative of a strong market, and a high employment rates show people are able to afford houses, but some might wonder what permits have to do with it. The Washington Post says building permits are important because they show developers are confident in an area's housing market.

Furthermore, Washington Business Journal reports Washington, DC has one of the lowest levels of distressed properties in the country. In other words, a property currently under foreclosure or one that sells for much less than market value. Banked owned properties were at a low 12.6 in the nation's capital as of April 5, 2012.

Now may be the time to invest in a Washington, DC house. There are a wide variety of properties within the city limits and in outlying areas including Arlington and Fairfax.