My Top 10 Predictions for 2012

Credit unions in real estate – if the merger between Pen Fed and Prudential Caruthers is successful – and only time will tell – more credit unions will look to enter the market.  If the merger muddles along as it is now, other credit unions will remain on the sidelines.  This one will be interesting to watch as NAR and RPAC spent so much time and money keeping banks out of the business.

The Presidential election – Nearly 1/3 of voters say how the candidates view housing will impact how they vote.  The foreclosure crisis and 11 million people with negative equity are what concern so many Americans.  Next to unemployment, the stance they take on housing will drive the election.  Therefore, agents will need to get busy listing and selling houses the first half of the year as I see people going back to the sidelines after July to see who wins and what policy they will put in place for housing.

Interest rates – if they go higher, they will crush the fragile housing market which the Federal Reserve will not allow.  Unlike last year’s prediction where I predicted rates to get to 6% and was wrong, this year I believe they will stay in the 4 – 5% range but closer to 4% than 5%.  This is what will keep some people in the home buying mode.

New home sales locally will continue to rise.  The shortage of resale properties available, the fact that 20% of our market is distressed and buyers are tired of the short sale process will continue to drive buyers to new homes.  Price will continue to also play a role in the new home market.  Builders will have to stay within reason and not price themselves out of the market.

Land values in our area will continue to rise.  Fueled by lack of inventory and new home sales, land values will continue to increase.  We are seeing new signs popping up on vacant land already.

Existing home Sales forecast will stay flat.  Unemployment, the election, strict lending guidelines and the fallout from foreclosures will keep people at bay from jumping into home purchases.

Lending guidelines will stay strict and may get even stricter.  As such, it will make our job as Realtors even more challenging.  Both buyers and sellers need to choose a professional and only work with local lenders – not internet lenders.

Foreclosures in NOVA versus rest of USA – we will continue to see low levels of foreclosures in NOVA for the first 6 months of the year, at least.  Notice of trustee sales are down in the papers, short sales make up less than 14% of our market and as such, foreclosures won’t be as prevalent.  The rest of the country needs to be leery as unemployment and dropping values continue to put pressure on home owners and foreclosures will follow as a result.

Investor market and rents – as the inventory of houses shrink throughout Northern Virginia, people remaining leery of the housing market, and lending guidelines continue to tighten – our rental market will continue to be strong and rents will increase.  The good ole supply and demand theory of economics.  This will in turn bring more investors into the market.

Now you have my Top Ten Predictions for the real estate market in Northern Virginia.  Let’s meet up again this time next year and see how I did!  Get it?  Got it?  Good!

Now, go sell something!




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