Traditionally, the winter time is a "buyer's" market. The buyer pool thins out. People loose the motivation to walk around endlessly on Sundays to tour the houses of strangers. The cold air keeps much of the best inventory off the market until the Spring brings new hope of higher sales prices and shorter days on market.
Even in the strong market of DC, things have slowed considerably. However, there is still some great inventory out there. Of course there will always be buyers to compete with, so my advice is to just stay dilligent. There will be less people at the open houses, and fewer bidding wars.
Below is a chart of sales in the district over the past three years. There is an obvious drop off of activity every winter, but also a promising consistent upward trend.
Days on Market goes up every winter, giving buyers some wiggle room as far as making an offer right away or sitting on the property for a bit, but as shown below, days on market is consistently trending down in DC and though leveling out now, it would not be suprising to see a real charge in the market this spring.
Though the median sales price in the District is way above the 5 year average in October, the prices are still always going to be lowest in these next 2 or 3 months.
So if you are thinking about buying in the city, now is a wonderful time. Contact me with anytime with questions or for help finding your dream home or investment in Washington.