Yes, the Builders Are Getting Nervous
Developers are like racehorses: They all respond to the starting bell at the same time. With so many apartments and condos underway and in the pipeline—really, it's starting to feel almost 2007-ish around here—it's fair to ask: What happens when they're all done and on the market? There's a lot of pent-up demand in D.C., but some amount has got to be too much.
The specter of oversupply is starting to haunt one of the most prolific local developers, JBG. At a Bisnow event on investment this morning, managing director Matt Kelly was fairly frank about his concern. "If all the projects in the works right now do get going, there will be a glut of apartments, certainly in Washington," he said.
Later, when the panel was asked what keeps them up at night, Kelly eschewed the obvious answer—the federal government sky is falling!—to voice the same fear. "There is just a ton of supply coming," he said. "In certain markets, there will be spot oversupply." Which is developer-speak for holy shit guys slow down so my building will still sell.
Long term, Kelly probably shouldn't worry too much; D.C. is a growth area and people will keep trying to move here. But if all the projects starting now come online at the same time, then yeah, condos and apartments could take longer to sell and rent at lower prices. And then construction falls off a cliff again and we start the whole cycle over.