July Market Update

Mid Year Update

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It is hard to believe we are already halfway through 2019. The two questions that I have are; where does the time go and where is the housing inventory? The number of houses in Northern Virginia remains extremely low – 20% below last year and nearly 33% from two years ago. The inventory with the lowest levels is in the first-time home buyer price range which is basically houses and condos priced below $350,000. At the time of this newsletter, there are only 717 properties for sale in all of Northern Virginia at this price point. These homes are flying off the market with an absorption rate resulting in a .75 month’s supply of housing. As such, we are seeing multiple offers as there just not enough supply for the number of buyers in this market. To climb the pricing ladder, we will see the month’s supply and inventory rise. As a comparison, houses priced between $350,000 and $500,000 have a .83 month’s supply with only 872 houses for sale. The $500,000 and $750,000 priced houses have a 1.2 month’s supply with 1,252 currently on the market. Both of these numbers are low, historically speaking, so don’t be alarmed if you are thinking of selling your house. Where we see the market slowing is in the $750,000 and above price point. In this price point, we have over a 3 month’s supply of inventory with 1,683 houses for sale. This is obviously a larger price range but shows the higher you go, the longer it takes to sell. I have mentioned many times if a house isn’t compelling – it isn’t selling and the best way to make it compelling is price. If you are considering selling in any of these price points, please call me to learn how to best position your house to sell for the most money in the least amount of time.

So, what does it mean for buyers? There are opportunities in the market to own but you need to be strategic in doing so in every price point. It is important to utilize the services of a professional to negotiate for you to get you into the home you desire. If you are considering becoming a homeowner for the first time or if you are moving up or down, give me a call to learn how this can be done for you.

Have a very Happy 4th of July and please be safe!

June Market Update

The Summer Market is Upon Us!

It is hard to believe we are already through the Memorial Day holiday weekend. Time is really flying this year – at least it seems that way to me. Kids are home from college, summer jobs have started, weekend pool parties are in full swing and the real estate market is just as busy as it has been all year. Let’s start with the amazing mortgage interest rates that continue to tumble downward. They are now well into the threes for 30-year fixed rates and are expected to go down even further. This makes now a great time to buy a home! It can still be a challenge to find the right house, as inventory levels remain extremely low – 19% below last year this same week and nearly 30% below what was on the market two years ago. What is also amazing is that sales are up with inventory levels being down. Through April (latest available data point), there was one more sale this year than last year…one more is one more than before. I believe that interest rates will continue to foster sales through the summer as inventory will come on the market. Let’s talk about your plans if you are considering selling – we can position you properly to take advantage of today’s market.

All this being said, the market is not good to all sellers. The reason for this is some sellers are under the belief that their property will sell regardless of price and condition. We are seeing a lot of unrealistic prices on properties, as well as houses in disrepair or in need of substantial work to get the prices sellers are asking. We have seen average prices up over last year by 2.75% which is great, but it is not 2.75% per month like some sellers are pricing their houses at today (and “hoping” to get for them).

From a buyer’s prospective, we are still in a price conscience market. Buyer’s are concerned about paying too much and are analyzing prices closely, especially if they are using a professional REALTOR and not the internet to help them buy a house. The internet is not the way to buy a house today or anytime. The guidance and expertise of a real estate professional is more important today than ever before. If you are considering buying, we should talk sooner rather than later so give me a call.

Have a great June – enjoy the graduation parties!

May Market Update

I’m Still Amazed…

The real estate market never ceases to amaze me. We have weeks, months and years where sales go up and down, prices go up and down, inventory goes up and down, but now, we are dealing with people’s emotions going way up and way down – including real estate agents. The lack of inventory in some areas have resulted in buyers losing out multiple times on their home of choice. They become frustrated and make irrational decisions on prices, terms or location. These decisions will have an impact on their financial lives as well as their quality of life (including potentially longer commutes). When clients lose out on offers multiple times, agents get frustrated too, either because the clients don’t listen on how to position themselves or with other agents believing they were treated unfairly during the negotiations. This is why it is imperative to work with an experienced agent to help you navigate through this emotional time in real estate. An agent that has been there before, understands what is going on and can provide the right advice so you (or someone you know looking to buy) get the proper guidance and the house you want – without getting tied up in the emotion adding stress to the situation. Well, guess what? I have been through these types of turbulent, emotional times and I can lead you or someone you know through these situations, just call me.  I will help everyone stay calm and focused on the eventual task which is getting the house sold.

Keeping with the amazement theme, we still have very low inventory levels – 20% below last year’s levels. This is creating the type of market I just mentioned. Unfortunately, sellers are not immune to the emotions of selling. Unrealistic expectations of timing, pricing and response times from buyers/buyer agents make for stressful times during selling. It is important to have the right expectations when selling a house, mostly to keep the seller on an even keel. Once again, I am here to help provide the right advice, guidance and emotional balance to get you through the home selling process, just give me a call. I am happy to help!

Have a great Memorial Day!

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Scott’s Market Minute 2/22/19

It seems like Groundhog Day all over again….inventory levels are STILL low! And so are interest rates! Find out more in Scott’s latest Market Minute Message.

Looking to buy or sell? Now may be the best time for you to do so. Give me a call to talk more about your situation 703-652-5777 or email me at scottmacdonald@remax.net

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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Scott’s Market Minute 1/18/19

The temperature is dropping (again)… so is inventory (again). So how low will it go? Inventory is needed, now is the time to sell. Learn more in my latest Market Minute Message.

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

My 2019 Real Estate Predictions

It’s time for Scott MacDonald’s Annual Top 10 Real Estate Predictions for 2019.

What do you think? Do you agree with these predictions? Do you have any predictions of your own for 2019?

Need more real estate information? Give me a call at 703-652-5777 or email me at scottmacdonald@remax.net

November Market Update

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We are Grateful for You!

Now that another Halloween has come and gone, hopefully you weren’t spooked by the real estate market and the news that you have heard about it. The market is good – not bad – not slow – not great – just good. People need to expect that their house isn’t going to sell in a matter of hours or days, it will, in most cases, take a couple of weeks to a month or even longer to sell. As I’ve said before, it all depends upon your price point, condition and location. All around the region, we are seeing median days on market are up as are the average days on market. Again, don’t be spooked, we continue to see steady sales, low inventory and stable prices. Buyers are just taking a bit little longer to make decisions on buying. Some are still looking for the house to be in perfect condition at a “value” price. In some cases, they too, need to be realistic. Not every house is perfect and not every house is value priced so, just make an offer and see how the seller responds. If there is a house for sale, the sellers want it sold and they just want to “hear” it from the market and not the agent in a lot of cases.

So, what is on the horizon? Interest rates will continue to rise which will cause some buyers to leave the market. Some will opt for alternative forms of financing such as adjustable rate mortgages or if you have an assumable loan – assumptions. If you are interested in buying, this is a great option as well. Please give me a call to learn more whether you are selling or buying.

What else could impact our area you ask? Amazon and their HQ2 is the answer! At this time, they are in advanced negotiations with Northern Virginia on their next headquarter location, Crystal City to be more precise. What does this mean for our region? There will be some impact on housing, some impact on commercial properties (depending upon their location), a definite impact on our economy and lastly, an
impact on traffic as 50,000 jobs (or 25,000 if they split the locations) plus supporting company employment will bring more commuters. The local real estate industry is excited about this potential move, but we are not counting on anything concrete until the final decision is made. If you would like to know more, please feel free to call me as I have been following this developing news quite extensively. Also, I am happy to discuss your next move at any time.

Have a great Thanksgiving and enjoy the time with your family and friends!
-Scott

Scott’s Market Minute 4/27/18

Inventory levels are up, interest rates are up, distressed inventory is also down – May is going to be a “lucky” month for sellers! Learn more about what’s going on in the Northern Virginia area real estate market in Scott’s latest message.

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

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.