In Northern Virginia our inventory levels of active resale homes for sale continues to decline. We are down to just over 4,600 homes on the market and we have a 1.8 month supply of homes. Houses that went under contract the last 7 days hit a 6 month high this past week. In a nutshell, houses are selling. Why is this happening? Interest rates hit another record low, we are creating jobs here, rental rates are increasing and our population is growing putting more demand on housing.
Last week I was asked when will we see the spring market or in other words, when will more houses be coming on the market? Some people say when the banks start releasing foreclosures, some say mid-March, and some say when their price rise. Let’s analyze each of these responses.
So far we have not seen the foreclosures hit the market and as a matter of record, the inventory has actually decreased to a 6 month low with only 311 currently for sale. In addition, “Notice of Trustee sales” published have actually remained very low as well averaging only 3 pages per day versus substantially higher numbers in 2008-2010. Lastly, I started tracking short sale inventory just over 2 years ago and we are at an all-time low in this area as well – only 651 are for sale in Northern Virginia.
As far as the inventory levels increasing in mid-March, only time will tell but several agents have indicated they have houses in the process of being prepared to go on the market around this timeframe. If they are not only preparing them for sale but are going to price them accordingly, they will sell. Two properties we listed on Friday received multiple offers because they were price properly and in the right condition. And now for the statement, “when my price increases, I will sell” is a tougher one to answer for many people. Rise compared to what? When they were purchased? Compared to 2004-2007 prices? Compared with the last sale in their neighborhood? Until these questions can be answered, we can’t help them.
We continue to have one of the best real estate markets in the country and it will be this way for the foreseeable future. Please feel free to contact us to learn more about how this market affects you and your situation.