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What Goes Around…

Forgive me for getting local, but since all real estate is, I can't help but let you in on a dirty little secret in my neighborhood. Despite all the talk of prices falling through the housing floor, subprime mortgages changing the way banks do business and every other house in every development heading for foreclosure, something is simmering in Washington, D.C.

Here it comes...

Take a moment to breathe...

Houses are selling!

I didn't need the headline of this week's Washington Post Real Estate section, "Bright Spots," to tell me what I could already see with a quick walk up the street. The housing market here is back, multiple offers are in the offing and sellers are starting to feel a little less like beggars.

Last weekend, I drove past an "Open House" sign on a gorgeous, turn-of-the-century Victorian with a hefty price tag. I was curious to see the inside of the house, but really had to get to more important Sunday engagements (namely Costco), so I figured I'd check it out this weekend. Too late. Sold.

This weekend, I drove past another interesting-looking house that I'd seen in the paper and made sure to make time for the open house. Located in a popular family community in upper Northwest DC, the home was priced at $1.225M. Let me just say I expected more -- way more. Two years ago, sure, fine, this was an easy sell, but today? No discount in the price? Hmmm.

So I decided this morning to take a look at the Greater Capital Area Association of Realtors site and, much to my surprise, found that sales, while still below a year ago, are climbing back up -- way up from December and even September of last year. Condo sales in the District are actually up 28% from a year ago!

DC-area realtors in my Rolodex tell me, yes, it's starting to move again. If -- and that's a big if -- homes are priced well for the neighborhood. Is the market heady again? Well, no, don't lose your head over it, but houses are selling and at good, fair prices. One local expert tells me that since D.C. led the housing bust, it's also leading the recovery.

I'd be interested to hear what's going on in your neck of the 'hood, so let me know.

  • Diana Olick serves as CNBC's real estate correspondent as well as the editor of the Realty Check section on CNBC.com.

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