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!

home is where the heart is.jpg

 

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

January Market Update

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone!  “Wow” … that’s what I have to say about our current invent18_300720_q4 social_shares_new_yearory level of homes for sale. As many of you know, I have been tracking active inventory of resale homes since the first week of March 2005. At first it was monthly, now it is weekly as the market can be very dynamic. The reason I initially started this tracking routine back in March 2005 is because I had heard there were 148 contracts on a house in Arlington. We all thought there was little inventory available, so I ran numbers for Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William and Fauquier Counties, in addition to all the cities within those counties. My analysis concluded that there were only 1,652 houses for sale. With the high demand and unrestricted lending guidelines back in 2005, it is no wonder that we would see so many contracts on ONE individual property. What is even more interesting is by July 2005 there were 7,705 houses listed for sale – truly a rapid ascent, but what is really crazy is that number soared to 22,898 in November 2006. As we all recall, the market crashed in 2007.

So, why do I say “wow”?  Today our inventory level is at the second lowest number since I have been tracking them (March 2005) – only 2,713 homes are currently for sale. I don’t believe we are going to see the rapid ascent as we did in the past, as there is not the exuberance in the market place like there was in the early 2000’s. That being said, we need houses to sell! Buyers are out looking. We had multiple showings on both Christmas Day and New Year’s Day – there is a strong demand for housing. Interest rates are creeping lower, so buyers are looking to take advantage of this opportunity. If you are considering selling, now is a great time. Typically, we see inventory rise the second or third week of February. Let’s see how the market trends this year. Obviously, every situation is personal and different so if you are considering a move, call me to discuss how we can help you.

Wishing you and your family a very prosperous 2019!

 

August Market Update

As Summer Winds Down…

Wow, did July fly by or what? It seems like it just started and it is over already. This month we saw inventory levels stay steady – which is typical for this time of year. The biggest difference is the amount of inventory available in the resale market. We are currently down 12% from this time last year. The good news for sellers is the pace of sales is comparable to last year’s sales – resulting in a 1.9 month supply of homes versus 2.1 last year. Unfortunately, while overall home prices are up, they are not flying off the market as quickly as they did earlier this year. Therefore, patience is required in some selling situations. The buyers in today’s market are taking their time making decisions as they are not feeling compelled to write an offer on the home the first time they view it. The market dynamics have shifted, and sellers need to be aware of this, so they remain patient and not anxious. If you are thinking of selling, let’s get together to discuss your plans in more detail.

Mortgage interest rates are about a half point higher than last year, so this may also be impacting a buyer’s decision-making process. In addition, some houses have higher price tags than what they are worth resulting in some buyer hesitation on making offers as they don’t want to offend the seller. It is a complex transaction and will, in many cases, be someone’s largest asset, so taking the time and analyzing the house, the market and various options available to them can be a good thing for many people. In any of these
situations, I’d be happy to assist in helping find the best location and home
for you when deciding to make a move.

end of summer

As high school sports are back in full swing with their practices starting and the vacation season behind us, let’s see if we don’t have a quick uptick in housing sales before September. As always, time will tell.  Enjoy the hot rainy weather and feel free to call us anytime.

 

July Market Update

Mid-Year Update18_300364_SummerSocialCovers_FB4

With half of the year over, the real estate market in Northern Virginia has slowed to a normal pace. This has put some sellers and Realtors in a bit of a panic as they felt the brisk market we experienced earlier this year was going to continue for a longer time than it did. It is important to understand that the frenetic pace of sales in February, March and into April was not sustainable nor the norm. We still are experiencing sales, but houses are not selling in hours or days for the most part, but are now selling in weeks, which is what is the expected time frame. Buyers are being more selective and taking their time making decisions which, again, is normal. Keep in mind, there is now more inventory and houses are staying on the market longer which means more choices and time for buyers to make decisions. If you are the seller, please know that this is okay. Your house will sell if it has a compelling price, is in great condition and a in nice location, it just won’t sell as fast as your neighbor’s house did earlier this year. Keep in mind, we are still seeing multiple offers on homes that meet the conditions above.

The real estate market can and does change on a dime. Important factors to pay attention to are: inventory levels in your price range, days on market – both average and median, and prices – if are they up or if are they are down. Every market is different and therefore deserves special attention which we can help you analyze. Experience matters so be sure to reach out to us if you are considering selling.

Interest rates on mortgages increased but have recently eased back down which is good news for buyers. We expect to be in this type of environment through the end of the year – somewhere between 4.5 and 5% for 30 -year fixed loans. These are awesome rates for sure, which is important for buyers to remember. The theory is higher rates will affect first time buyers in lower price points more than move up buyers or even first-time buyers in higher price points, so keep an eye out if you are considering a purchase. We are here to help you determine what loan program is best for you. We are full service!
Have a very Happy 4th of July celebrating with family and friends. Be safe!

Scott’s Market Minute 6/1/18

My weekly Market Minute live from Chantilly National Golf & Country Club. The rain has put a damper on the market … what do you think?

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

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

Holiday Social Shareables-StPatricksDay

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.