August Market Update

The word on the street is prices are going to collapse…the market is overheated…a recession is coming…we are in a housing bubble. It’s mayhem if you believe everything you read and listen to what the non-experts have to say about the real estate market and the current market we are experiencing.  Quick question. Did you know that 50% of REALTORS have a second job?  Working with a true full-time professional who is up to date on the local Northern Virginia real estate market is more important today than ever before.  You need to have the guidance, advice, and experience to be guided seamlessly through the real estate transaction, so you are protected.  Don’t rely or believe everything you read on the internet.  Call me instead because here are the facts.

Prices – barring an unforeseen event, they are stable in Northern Virginia and will remain this way. Why?  Because our prices have risen only slightly each year after the Great Recession (bar a few examples/areas). We don’t have lending practices in place any longer that allow buyers to buy without strong fundamentals in place and allowing unqualified purchasers to outbid on properties at extreme prices.

The market is overheated – this is not true in all areas of Northern Virginia. Yes, there are areas of Arlington and in certain price points where inventory is extremely low that there are multiple offers but overall, we have seen this trend slow in recent months. Remember, what you read today typically happened 2-4 months ago as stats on the market don’t immediately get released and are reflective of current trends. Every market is different, and this is why you need specific advice on your property if you are selling or if you are considering purchasing a home.

A recession is coming – yes, it is true as we have been in the longest recovery in our history.  All markets are cyclical so a recession will come. What does this mean for housing? It is typically a good thing…interest rates are lowered to stimulate the economy and barring the Great Recession, since 1995 when we have had economic slowdowns, prices have appreciated 81% of the time which is the same as when we have had economic expansion. Don’t fear the word recession and real estate values.

We are in a housing bubble – not true for our area. Prices have not skyrocketed like they have in other areas of the country, as previously mentioned, our prices have only moderately increased year over year. Our inventory of resale homes is 22% below last year’s level and 33% below inventory levels two years ago. Our unemployment rate is one of the lowest in the country. Our salaries are stable to slightly rising meaning people have good-paying jobs.

Lastly, the interest environment we are in is making housing more affordable – rates are low and are going lower. 30-year fixed rates are in the mid to high 3’s (percent) today. There are many refinances that are taking place and there will be more to come so these people will be staying in their houses for a while and will be potential, future landlords which will keep the housing inventory tight moving forward.  This too will keep our market out of a crisis in my opinion.

Again, barring an unforeseen event, we will be in a strong real estate environment for some time here in Northern Virginia.  We actually need more houses to sell as there is pent up demand. If you are considering a move of any kind, please call me today to learn more. I can be reached at scottmacdonald@remax.net or 703-652-5777.

February Market Update

Will the Spring Market Arrive Sooner than Later?

What an interesting January we have experienced both weather-wise and in the real estate business. We have golfed and we have shoveled snow/ice this month.  We have had multiple contracts on some houses, and we have had houses sitting on the market (with no showings) for days and even weeks. We have had mild temperatures and we have had epically cold days. We have had 30 plus people at open houses on weekends and we have had no visitors at others.  We have windy days and days that had no breezes. We have seen mortgage interest rates go up and now they are at yearly lows. And, like the temperatures this week, we have seen inventory levels drop to 14-year lows. As I said, it was a very interesting January.

The biggest question we have in the real estate industry is… When will more houses come on the market for sale? Historically we have seen houses start go up for sale the second week of February. So, will this year be the same or will we continue along the same path we are on now…inventory levels going down? The answer is, time will tell.  In conversations with agents across our five offices, we are hearing about some houses will be “coming soon” but not a significant number of them. If you are considering selling, this could be your perfect time to do so.

What is odd to me, and others, is prices are not escalating like you might expect. The tried and true economic theory of supply and demand in regard to pricing does not apply in this market. We have a lack of supply and LOTS of demand, but prices are staying relatively flat and, in some situations, we are even seeing price reductions fairly regularly. Additionally, in several multiple contract situations, we have not seen escalation clauses or even full price offers. Going back to my original sentence, it was an interesting January.

All this being said, we can provide you with the right advice on how you should approach this “interesting” market. Whether you are selling or buying a home, each market and personal situation is different.  So, give me a call to learn more.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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