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Washington-area condo market poised for growth

Monday - 1/7/2013, 2:36pm  ET

Washington-area condominium sales picked up in 2012, and sales are likely to accelerate in 2013, according to a report from real estate firm Delta Associates.

Delta Associates also sees potential headwinds that could constrain price and sales gains.

In its quarterly condo market report, it says resale inventory, or the number of existing condos currently on the market, is the tightest it has been since 2005, and resale sales have remained steady over the last four years.

Sales volume in 2012 topped 2011 levels, but was still lower than 2009 and 2010 when homebuyer tax credits fueled sales. The average sales pace at newer projects was more than triple the rate of average sales pace at projects that have sold out during the past two years, Delta Associates says, suggesting meaningful pent up demand for new condos.

While condo prices began to rise in some areas around Washington in 2011, it wasn't until last year that prices began to rise uniformly across the region.

Delta Associates sees several factors still holding back the condo market, including difficulty in getting condo construction financing, strict mortgage underwriting standards and ongoing economic uncertainty.

Delta Associates still expects Washington-area condominium prices to continue rising for the next 18 to 24 months.