April Market Update

As we enter what is considered to be the “Spring MHoliday Social Shareables-Springarket” in real estate, we are lacking one thing that makes sales “spring”… houses to sell and houses to buy.  We have plenty of buyers looking and many more expressing an interest in becoming home owners, but very few houses coming on the market quickly enough to keep up with this demand. Now that we enter April, let’s hope the tide turns so we can have happy new homeowners.

As of the end of March, our months of supply of homes in Northern Virginia is at only 1.1 months which is extremely low. A balanced real estate market is considered a 6-month supply of houses to sell. With these low inventory levels, the result is the increase in escalating prices. We have multiple contracts on many listings with no sales to support these prices when it comes time for appraisal. As such, we are starting to see low appraisals in some instances. The financial crisis has put pressure on appraisers to be very conservative even when you have buyers willing to pay above list price. It has always been my belief that the true market value of a home is what someone is willing to pay for a property and what someone is willing to sell for when it is an arm’s length transaction. Appraisers need to be given latitude to make this happen, not be restricted when we are in the market we are experiencing. I say this within all reason of course and don’t believe buyers should just offer any price to get a house and expect it to appraise. But with justifiable support, houses should appraise for what the market bears. Professional real estate agents should take the time to meet with the appraiser to show them all the supporting documentation and reasoning behind the value of the house. This way, all parties can move forward with the financing of the home without appraisal concerns. This is our job and what we do.  Please call me to discuss if you are considering selling.

If you are considering buying, we can help position your offer to negotiate on your behalf to get the home you want, it is not an impossible task. We have helped numerous clients achieve their dream of home ownership and we can help you as well. Please call me to learn more.

Let’s hope April showers bring us more houses to sell!

March Market Update

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The housing market in Northern Virginia continues to be on fire…in certain price points.  Virtually anything under $450,000 that is in good shape, priced right and is not a condo is selling within days, above asking price with multiple contracts.  Places in the $500,000 – $650,000 price point that have been updated and show well are also selling quickly.  We have a lull in the $650,000 – $900,000 price range depending upon location.  And lastly, properties priced $1,000,000 – $1,200,000 are seeing great activity as well and are even receiving multiple offers in some cases.

In today’s fast paced market, buyers need to be very responsive when they see a home that is of interest to them because, in all likelihood, someone else is also interested in it.  This dynamic is giving some buyers, a little “buyer’s remorse”.  When people feel forced to make quick decisions, they are taking advantage of the home inspection void rights or HOA document review period to get out of contracts at a later point in the transaction.  If you are a buyer, be sure you are committed to the house you are buying and if you are not, be patient and write on one that you are willing to follow through on.  These situations are creating a lot of stress on sellers and it is hurting the buyers who were willing to commit to the purchase and eventual ownership of that home.  Of course, if there is a legitimate reason to back out, by all means exercise your rights to void.  Don’t “jump” for fear of loss, “jump” because it meets all of your criteria.

We have finally entered the rising interest rate environment we have been predicting the last few years.  Despite this, as previously mentioned, houses are still selling which is good for our sellers.  The rise in rates has caused some people to get off the fence about buying which is adding to the number of potential buyers in the market.  Luckily, the interest rates for mortgages are still historically low so it remains a matter of perspective when people say rates are high.  Experienced buyers know we are fortunate to have rates in the 4’s and will still seek home ownership even in this type of environment.

As you know, everyone’s situation is different so please call me to discuss your plans in more detail so I can give you the right advice whether buying or selling.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

February Market Update

Holiday Social Shareables-ValentinesDayThe Northern Virginia real estate market continues to gain momentum despite low inventory levels. There are many buyers in the market ready to buy the right home and in many cases, it is difficult to do so leaving them and their agent frustrated. Typically, this time of year we start to see houses come on the market, but we have not seen a week-over-week increase in inventory since the fourth week of September last year! That is an amazing run, hopefully it will change soon for our buyers. If you are considering selling, let’s get together to see how to position yourself for success in this market.

All indications are pointing for 2018 to be another great year for real estate sales, despite starting off with low inventory levels and increasing interest rates. Interest rates are projected to be in the high 4’s, possibly low 5’s by the end of the year – scary, NOT! When I first got into the business in 1988, rates were in the 12’s. Yes, the rate increase will have some impact but not substantially in my opinion. What could have a greater impact is escalating prices coupled with the higher mortgage interest rates. This may force some first-time buyers to sit on the sidelines because of qualification purposes or potential sellers staying in their houses longer because they don’t find it beneficial to relocate. As always, time will tell.

The low inventory levels are resulting in multiple contract situations in many cases, but not in every situation so it is important to have the right expectation when putting your house on the market. Upper end prices are taking longer to sell as is typically the case. Houses that have not been priced properly, are in poor condition or have undesirable lot conditions will accumulate days on the market as well. In these situations, it is critical to hire a professional to give you the proper guidance to maximize your sought-after results.  We are here to help you navigate the sale in these circumstances, so please call me to discuss your situation in more detail.

 

Scott’s Weekly Market Update

This week in the real estate market – inventory levels are at a 2 year low! Learn more in this week’s market minute message.

If you would 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!

Scott’s 8 Real Estate Predictions for 2018

Check out Scott’s 8 Real Estate Predictions for 2018. Do you agree with Scott’s prediction? Do you have any predictions about the real estate market for 2018 of your own? Share them with us!

Visit our Facebook page and post your real estate predictions for 2108.   https://www.facebook.com/remaxgateway/

Scott’s Weekly Market Update

Inventory levels are still low, but the market is just like the weather today “hot” (for January in Northern Virginia)! Learn more in Scott’s latest Market Minute message.

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

Scott’s Market Update

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Happy New Year! The temperatures in Northern Virginia are frigid, but the real estate market is anything but that. We are seeing activity throughout our area which is great for sellers. We had showings at our listings on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve as well as New Year’s Day – it is crazy! One of our agents had an open house on New Year’s Eve and had 21 visitors…did I mention it is freezing outside?  I haven’t seen this much activity around this time of year in my career of 30+ years.

It is looking like 2018 will be a very good year in real estate – especially for sellers. We ended the year with inventory levels nearly 18% below last year which is 24% below the previous year. The lack of inventory is putting many sellers in the driver seat in the real estate market today. Buyers should not be concerned; more houses will be coming on the market as we enter the New Year and early spring market. Additionally, rates remain favorable and should stay within .5% of where they are today for 2018.

More good news – the tax reform that recently passed will not affect most of our area. The mortgage interest deduction (MID) is capped at $750,000 for new mortgages and our average sales price in Northern Virginia is $516,000 – so this won’t hinder those looking to buy from buying. Also, the deductibility of property taxes is capped at $10,000 so again, for the most part, we won’t see buyers shying away.

Lastly, the ability to avoid paying capital gains on your mortgage principal (if it was your principal residence 2 of the last 5 years) remained in place along with the limit of the gains at $250,000 for an individual and $500,000 for a married couple. This should help us with inventory levels as well! Again, all good things! If you have any questions about your current situation, please feel free to call me.

Have a great 2018 and please stay warm as we battle these icy cold temperatures.

Scott MacDonald 703-652-5777 or scottmacdonald@remax.net

December Market Update

As we enter the holiday season, we continue to see strong sales numbers in the Northern Virginia housing market, even as inventory levels continue to decline. Right now, we have 24% fewer homes for sale than the last week of November in 2016. We are seeing houses that are priced right still receiving multiple contracts, which is unusual for this time of year. Purchasers are ready to buy when they see the right house!

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During this time of year, I often get asked, “should I keep my house on the market or take it off”. My advice is simple –  if you need to sell, keep it on. Nicely decorated houses look festive and cozy which attracts many buyers (see the article about holiday staging on the next page). Additionally, buyers who are looking over the holidays are serious buyers; we don’t get many window shoppers this time of the year.  These buyers are looking because they have a real housing need; whether their lease has ended, they are relocating into the area or they are looking to get a great deal as sellers tend to be a little more motivated when listing their homes at this time of the year. If you don’t have a real need to sell, take your house off the market and kick back, relax and enjoy the holidays. Wait until the second or third week of February to put it back on the market. If you or someone you know is thinking about selling or buying a home, please let me know so I can give them advice specific to their situation.

In other news… After much deliberation, the Senate tax bill narrowly passed during the early-morning hours on Saturday December 2nd in a vote of 51-49. The House passed their bill in mid-November so now they need to both come to an agreement to put on the President’s desk for signature. Details of the final plan are still forthcoming, but we do know that you can write off up to $10,000 in property taxes to local and state authorities and the corporate tax rate is staying at 20%. Both tax reform proposals double the standard tax deduction, which may, in many cases, provide a greater benefit to renters than to homeowners. You will be able to write off mortgage interest up to $500,000 which is helpful to many tax payers as well. The question becomes, will homeowners now also have a dis-incentive to sell their home in order to keep their current interest rate deduction of up to $1 million as they will be grand-fathered? If so, this would potentially add new supply constraints. Stay tuned for additional details soon.

I hope that you enjoy the holidays with your family, friends and loved ones!

Sincerely,
Scott 

P.s… there is still time to RSVP to join us for our Annual Breakfast with Santa event this weekend!!
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