D.C. Remodeling Market Down, But Stronger Than Others

Remodeling project sizes decrease in current economy

December 31, 2008

Market Update

W ith the eyes of the country on Washington, D.C., as President-elect Barack Obama prepares to take office, we’re taking a look at the remodeling market in the nation’s capital.

The Washington, D.C., market has always been more recession-resistant because of the large government prescence and wide variety of industries in the area. Even that, though, has not let the local remodeling market escape unscathed during this downturn.

The high gas prices last summer, followed by the implosion of the credit market in the fall rattled homeowners, says Principal Chris Landis of Landis Construction in Washington, D.C.

“There are still projects, but they’re putting them on hold until they figure out what’s going to happen,” he says.


Prices for existing homes continue to decline in the Washington, D.C., area but are not suffering as much as in other cities.

Sun Design Remodeling Specialists in Burke, Va., has seen a similar pattern, with those clients who signed design agreements before the financial crisis really took off taking much longer to pull the trigger on construction, says Vice President Bob Gallagher.

At the same time, those who have signed since then are much more serious and are committing to construction more readily, he says.

Both Gallagher and Landis say project sizes are decreasing as clients think more about how they spend their remodeling dollar.

“It’s want-to-have versus need-to-have,” Landis says. “All the want-to-haves are putting everything on hold.”

While he expects the market in the D.C. area to recover before other parts of the country, Gallagher says the current volatility in the economy makes it difficult to pinpoint when that would be.

Every month, The Market will examine one of the metro areas featured in our annual Market Leaders list. We’ll talk to members of that city’s Market Leaders list about the condition of that market and the challenges they’re facing. The 2009 Market Leaders list will appear in the October issue. 

Case Design/Remodeling Full-service remodeler $49,145,943
BOWA Builders Full-service remodeler $28,820,991
The Window Place Exterior remodeler $9,739,696
Landis Construction Corp. Design/build remodeler $9,200,000
Sun Design Remodeling Specialists Full-service remodeler $8,720,000


Market Update

The need-to-know information about what’s going on in the nation’s capital.

Metro Area Population: 5,306,565 (10.6 percent increase since 2000)

Change in home values: Down 12.52 percent since 2007, up 43.74 percent over last five years

Existing home sales: Down 18.3 percent from 2007 

Median household income: $57,291

Unemployment rate: 4.1 percent (Up from 2.9 percent in 2007)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Census Bureau, Greater Capital Area Association of Realtors, Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight

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