October Market Update

As the summer comes to an end, we’re seeing the real estate market continue to move steadily along. We don’t anticipate any drop off in sales as we enter the fall selling season. We have buyers looking to enter the home buying market – especially first-time buyers. Interest rates remain low, new loan programs are becoming available to help cash strapped purchasers and these opportunities are available in all price points. As I see it, our challenge will continue to be inventory levels, as many home owners are staying in their homes. They are doing so because they are not able to find homes to fit their needs in available move up price points. We are also seeing an increase in the amount of people that are renting their houses since they are gaining equity and have low interest rates/payments which allow them to have positive cash flow.

We also have three types of sellers – those who want to sell, those who need to sell and those who have to sell.  Those who want to sell typically take their houses off the market as we head into the holidays, therefore reducing inventory.  As long as we have houses to sell, the market will stay steady.  Let me know if you have any questions or concerns if you are considering selling – the market conditions just might be in your favor.

Lastly, please keep an eye on what is happening with the President’s Tax Reform – doubling the standard deduction, eliminating state and local tax deductions and only having three tax brackets. Industry professionals predict these may all affect home values by 10%.  Again, if these changes occur, it could affect housing as tax payers who claim mortgage interest deductions may no longer be able to claim this deduction, thereby eliminating the need to buy as a tax plan.  Housing is critical to our economy so implementing this plan could put damper on the economic recovery.  Let’s hope this reform doesn’t pass in its current form.

Halloween-Sold-Sign

Have a happy and safe Halloween!

September Market Update – Special Message

Hi Everyone,

As many of you know, I am extremely passionate about our philanthropic endeavors here at RE/MAX Gateway. We have supported many great causes over the years to include Children’s Miracle Network, The Last Well, Life with Cancer, YouthQuest and many more.

As this latest natural disaster unfolds in Texas, it leaves many of us wondering how we can help. There are many, many different groups/people that will certainly need financial assistance in the coming months, but how does one decide who/how to help?

In a recent article, I read a story about a RE/MAX broker whose entire office has been destroyed by the flood. It got me thinking – imagine if our office was completely wiped out and worse yet, business came to a complete standstill. Or if the entire community we serve was destroyed, our hard-working agents would no longer be able to earn a living and assist others.

Because we are proud members of the RE/MAX family and because our business affects so many in the community with their housing needs, I have decided to organize an effort to help our fellow RE/MAX agents. Our donations will go to a fund to help them clothe and feed their families as they recover from this catastrophic event.

RE/MAX Gateway will donate $25 for every closed transaction by all of our agents in the month of September. Obviously, our contributions will not solve there their problems, but our support will let them know that they are not alone, they are part of a family and that we care.  We are #remaxstrong.

We hope you will join and help make a difference in the lives of the thousands of people whose lives were affected by this storm. Please consider donating to one of the many charities supporting this enormous need.

If you would like to contribute to the RE/MAX Million Dollar Match fundraising campaign, you can do so by clicking here >>> https://www.gofundme.com/weareremax

Have a wonderful September.

Thank you!
www.gateway2realestate.com 

 

August Market Update

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Wow, what a year we are having in Northern Virginia real estate!

Inventory remains low – 13% below last year’s inventory levels, yet sales year over year are up 7.7%. We still have low interest rates and new loan programs – including grant programs – that are becoming available to help more people buy homes. Additionally, days on market are down to just 32 days which is unreal. As a result, we only have a two-month’s supply of houses in all of Northern Virginia. These factors, coupled with strong demand, has prices up over 2%. This is very moderate growth in housing prices, which is sustainable, so there is no fear of a bubble here. The projections for housing prices in our area are an increase of nearly 6% from June of 2017 to June of 2018.  If you are considering a move, now would be the time!

In July, our sales pace was very comparable to last year sales numbers which were strong – we would like this momentum to continue for our sellers. Historically, August inventory levels have stayed relatively flat, but sales do trend down. Let’s keep an eye out to see if this trend continues.

The one other area to keep an eye on is distressed inventory. Short sales are creeping back into the market. Many people who purchased homes back in 2006 and 2007 did so with interest only loans for 10 years, then they adjust to fully amortized loans over the remaining 20 years. This results in big monthly payment increases. Some of the home values are not back to the original purchase price, so refinancing is not always an option for the owner, hence the increase in short sales. It is a tough situation for many people – let’s see how this impacts the market going forward.

School starts early throughout our region this year, so I hope you are able to take advantage of the few remaining weeks of summer.  As always, if you have any specific questions about your situation and the housing market, please feel free to call me anytime.

703-652-5777 or scottmacdonald@remax.net

June Market Update

Summer is here!

Wow, that was one of the fastest months ever, in my opinion. Memorial Day weekend came and went in a blink of an eye, so it must be the height of the Sandbridge Beachdynamic spring market! Median days on the market in Northern Virginia is just 8; the average days on the market is 42. So, houses are virtually selling immediately (often with multiple offers) or they are taking a little while longer to sell. Right now, we are seeing very demanding
buyers in the marketplace. If the house is priced a little high or isn’t updated or staged, they are getting a lot of activity in the first week, but then showings fall off tremendously after that time frame.

So, what is fueling all the activity? There are a few factors, first there is a lot of demand – in certain price points, more on this shortly. Second, interest rates are still great – right around 4% for a 30-year fixed mortgage. Some people are taking advantage of adjustable rate mortgages too. Third, we continue to experience a strong local job market with many people relocating into the area for this reason. Fourth, prices are beginning to increase slightly, so many people are wanting to buy while it is still affordable for them to do so. Lastly, people have equity in their homes and can sell today to move into a larger home or closer to the city to reduce their commute. This is all good news for both buyers and sellers!

What is the situation with pricing I mentioned earlier you ask? The under $500,000 price point for houses and townhouses is on fire, representing a great majority of the median days on market. Yet, homes priced in the $650,000 -$800,000 range outside of the beltway are slow which is causing an increase on the average days on the market number. The upper price points (above $800,000) are seeing activity and sales which is always good for our local market.

I expect to see more of this type of activity and sales at least through the 4th of July. So, if you are considering selling or buying a home, please feel free to call me to discuss your situation in more detail.

Now, go enjoy this beautiful weather!  Happy Summer!

 

 

 

 

 

Scott’s Market Minute 6/2/17

Do you plan on selling your home soon? If so, get comfortable… and watch this week’s Market Minute message for more details…

If you’d like to talk more about your specific situation, give me a call at 703-652-5777 or email me at scottmacdonald@remax.net

Have a great weekend!

March Market Update

The real estate market in Northern Virginia continues its roll into the Spring selling  season. Inventory on resale homes has risen slightly, but so have sales. The slight rise in interest rates have not slowed things down and we don’t expect anything to change. The nice thing if you are looking to buy, you now have more selection – but if the house is in great condition, you will be in a competitive situation. You will definitely want to put your best foot forward in this type of buying scenario.

Here are a few tips to consider when looking to buy a home:

  • Offer at least full price with an escalation clause or go REMAX FOR SALE SIGN SOLD
    in with your highest and best – usually above list price to secure the home.
  • Put down a large Earnest Money Deposit (EMD) – if you are putting a down payment of 5%, make your EMD 5%.
  • Have a very short finance contingency timeframe and have your lender call the listing agent to discuss your qualifications.
  • Waive the appraisal if and only if you are confident in the value, you have the cash available to make up the difference and it is a home you absolutely cannot live without.
  • Conduct a home inspection for informational purposes only with the right to void if you discover anything you were not expecting to find or if a repair is costlier than you expected.
  • Determine the seller’s timeframe and add that date as your settlement date. If they need a longer timeframe to close, consider adding free rentback period with an early close so they are not worried about a long, drawn out closing.
  • Cover all your own closing costs.
  • Do not ask for a home warranty paid for by the seller.
  • Write a personal letter to the seller explaining why you want to be the next home owner.

These tips won’t guarantee you will get the house, but they will help.

If you are thinking of buying, please call me to discuss your situation in more detail and how we can make these suggestions work for you. If you are selling, I have strategies to discuss with you on pricing, staging, and how to handle multiple contracts when they come in on your house – if you don’t want to wait until next month.

Happy Spring!

You can reach me at scottmacdonald@macdonaldhomes.com or 703-652-5777

Scott’s Market Minute 2/17/17

Great weather this weekend makes for a great time to buy a home!  Look for lots of buyers to be out “shopping” this weekend!

Contact Scott MacDonald, Broker/Owner of RE/MAX Gateway for more information and a personal assessment to meet your goals.703-652-5777 or scottmacdonald@remax.net

February Market Update

So Far This Year…

Nothing can stop the real estate market here in Northern Virginia; not the rising interest rates, not the pull back of the FHA mortgage insurance premium reduction, not lack of inventory, and especially not this cold weather we are experiencing.

Sales are strong and we appear to be headed for a robust spring housing market.  In addition to the group of buyers we are currently working with, we are getting lots of online leads from additional buyers asking about houses; both new builds andrrg-logo_small resale. Typically, this group will become home buyers in three to nine months – stay tuned for more details as we get down the road with these leads.

Today’s buyers are looking in all price ranges and in all locations throughout Northern Virginia. As you would imagine, the lower price points are in very high demand, but so are higher priced properties in areas like McLean and North Arlington.  We have some soft spots (lowering of prices and accumulation of days on the market) in the Great Falls area, but typically, if houses are priced right, in good condition and have been staged, they are selling quickly!  Thus, inventory is at a four year low with just over 3,900 existing homes currently for sale. We expect properties to come on the market in February, but with the demand we are experiencing now, they too should sell quickly.

So, what are the lessons we have learned so far in 2017?  If you are a buyer, act quickly! If you find a home meets your criteria and suits your lifestyle, make an offer, don’t wait.  Many properties are receiving numerous offers; therefore they are selling quickly.

If you are a seller, get your house “right” and get it on the market sooner rather than later – there is a strong appetite for housing today.  Buyers are out there and ready to make a move.

If you would like to discuss your situation in more detail, please feel free to call me today.  I would enjoy meeting with you to determine which is the best option for you to pursue.

Stay warm!

Scott can be reached at 703-652-5777 or scottmacdonald@remax.net.

January Market Update

Happy New Year!2011-new-year-resolution

It is truly hard to believe that a new year is upon us; welcome to 2017! It seems that the years fly by faster as we get older. This is an exciting time in so many respects, so it would be nice to be able to enjoy these great times longer.

Anyway, it appears as if we will have an exceptional year here in the Northern Virginia real estate market.  Consumer confidence is at a 13-year high which typically bodes well for housing. Additionally, though the mortgage interest rates have risen slightly since the election, we still have many buyers out in the market looking for and in many cases buying homes today. Online activity as well as calls from our great clients like you have picked up recently.  Also, all indications point to the continuation of high paying jobs here in Northern Virginia. Dr. Stephen Fuller of George Mason University’s Center for Regional Analysis shared with us that employment in the Professional and Business services along with Retail Trade and Health/Education will all continue to grow into 2017. He predicts that 2017 will be “the year” of the decade for housing in Northern Virginia.

There is just one caveat … we need houses to sell! Inventory levels on active resales was down to just over 4,100 homes in all of Northern Virginia this past week.  We haven’t had this few homes on the market since the first week of February in 2012, when it was barely over 3,900 houses. In speaking with other agents, we will have homes coming up for sale in February, but there is an appetite for houses today! So, it is not a bad idea to put your home on the market sooner than later if you are thinking about it and if your home is in the right condition to sell. The belief is that we will continue to have a demand for houses throughout the year, so if you are considering making a move in 2017, please let me know, we are here to help!

I hope you have a joyful and prosperous 2017!  And please remember we are always here to help you and anyone you know with their real estate needs.