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Inaugural Housing Market Goes Bust

In today's Post, we bring you the latest on the inaugural rental housing market, which isn't what many expected it to be. Seems like the initial demand from out-of-towners to rent apartments, condos and houses led Washington-area homeowners to flood the market with properties, most of which are still looking for renters.

Brokers cite several reasons for the sluggishness. Initial crowd estimates of 4 million people were far too high -- officials are now planning for half that -- and scared off many potential visitors. The difficulty of getting tickets to official events may have prompted others to stay away. And property owners who had visions of easy money priced their units way too high, often for more than $1,500 a night.
"Everybody wants to make extra cash," said Andre Butters, co-founder of inauguralhomes.com. "They see a few people put ads on Craigslist for $10,000. People think that's what the norm is. That's not what the norm is."
It's a renters' market, and what prospective renters are seeking are residences that are close to the U.S. Capitol and cost no more than about $500 to $600 a night, Butters said.
He had 680 properties listed on his site and a closure rate of about 5 percent, meaning he had done about 40 deals. Almost nothing over $1,000 a night is being rented, Butters said: "There's just too much out there."

Read the full story.

By David A Nakamura  |  January 9, 2009; 8:00 AM ET  | Category:  Housing
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