While the Washington, D.C. market has tightened into a sellers market, you may find a good deal in your favorite vacation destination as investors have started moving to second-home buying. Meanwhile, average prices in the D.C. area keep moving up, up, up!
The National Association of Realtors 2013 Investment and Vacation Home Buyer Survey "shows vacation-home sales rose 10.1 percent to 553,000 from 502,000 in 2011.  Investment-home sales declined 2.1 percent to 1.21 million from 1.23 million in 2011, but those sales had been well under a million during the market downturn.  Owner-occupied purchases jumped 17.4 percent to 3.27 million last year from 2.79 million in 2011," according to http://www.Realtor.org.
The survey revealed that "11 percent of vacation buyers and 16 percent of investment buyers purchased the property for a family member, friend or relative to use, often for a son or daughter to use while attending school."
A good number of investors and vacation home buyers also used their cash to invest: "half of investment buyers paid cash in 2012, as did 46 percent of vacation-home buyers.  Forty-seven percent of investment homes purchased in 2012 were distressed homes, as were 35 percent of vacation homes."
Cash is still a popular means of purchasing even in the higher-end market of Northern Virginia. Buyers in Fairfax County in February 2013 paid all cash 13% of the time in February 2013 according to MRIS.com (the regional multiple listing service for the DC region.)
The median price of a home in Fairfax County was $420,000 in February - up more than 15% year over year. For a complete report for February 2013 sales, click here.