March 2021 Market Update

It’s hard to believe that one year has passed since our world changed with the Pandemic. There have been so many changes in our daily routines, the way we interact with each other, how we conduct business, and so much more. The hardest part for many of us was that we lost loved ones or could not visit them due to restrictions. Let’s hope this all changes soon with the vaccine. 

As far as the real estate world goes, it has remained resilient and has even thrived. To some, it may be hard to believe, but true. Historically low-interest rates, crazy low inventory levels, and high demand resulted in a frenzied market over the last year. Housing gained over $3.1 Trillion in equity in 2020 as prices escalated in almost every market around the country. We are only a little over two months into 2021, and we continue to see a strong housing market. Inventory remains extremely low, rates have ticked up slightly but are still very attractive, and buyer demand remains very robust. The biggest concern remains the low inventory. We continue to see multiple offer situations in all price ranges throughout Northern Virginia. Many times, contracts are being submitted without the buyers even seeing the home! Crazy but true. Buyers are conducting pre-offer home inspections, waiving all contingencies, and are bidding 10-13% over the list price to get into a home. I believe we will be in this type of market for the next few years. Unfortunately for buyers, I don’t see a flood of houses coming on the market to cover the demand that is out there today.  Interest rates will remain low to help keep the market moving. We continue to have low unemployment relative to other parts of the country, so people are continuing to relocate to our area. Couple all of this with the Millennials entering the market as home buyers; it’s quite the tsunami.

If you are considering selling or buying a home, it is more critical today than ever to have a professional representing you. Expert negotiation skills and market knowledge are essential in this aggressive market. Please feel free to call me to review your situation in more detail or allow us to help someone you know. I am always happy to help.

I am looking forward to warmer weather and more hours of daylight, and I hope you are too.  Happy Spring!

What You Need To Know When Buying or Selling a House In Northern Virginia This Summer 2013

The real estate market continues to be hyper-local today.  We are seeing multiple contracts in many areas and yet houses are sitting on the market in others.  Prices are rising in many areas while we see price reductions in others.  We see houses staying on the market for mere hours to just a few days in some areas while other markets see houses staying on the market for over 30 days to even longer further out from Washington.  If you are buying or selling it is important to seek the advice of a professional so you know what the market is like in your area of interest to give you the right advice.

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There are some aspects of the market that are not hyper-local.  These areas that are influencing the market are interest rates and distressed property inventory.  Interest rates have been on the rise for nearly the whole month of May.  Don’t get me wrong, interest rates are still great and people shouldn’t be concerned but if you are waiting for them to come back down to make a move, the sage advice is to do something now and don’t delay as it will cost you more in the future.  As far as short sales and foreclosures are concerned, their numbers continue to dwindle in Northern Virginia which is great news for everyone who owns a home.  As of the end of May, only 6.1% of the total inventory was made up of distressed homes and they represented only 8.2% of sales in the region.  How does this affect the market?  These numbers have help aid in the rising of prices throughout our area as there are fewer blighted properties, more people caring for their yards and homes so everybody wins.

Our real estate market continues to be one of the best in the country because of our low unemployment rates, increasing property values, tourism, plus we have easy access to water, mountains and all the Washington DC metro area has to offer.  Please let us know how we can help you or someone you know looking to buy or sell a home.  (703) 652-5777

Scott MacDonald

RE/MAX Gateway, LLC

 

Why you should close on your home before July 1, 2013 Grantor’s Tax Increase

Big changes are on the forefront for Virginia real estate if you are selling or buying a house.  The state Grantor’s Tax is going from $1.00 per thousand to $2.50 per thousand of the sales price or tax assessed value, whichever is higher on July 1, 2013.  Here is the impact – on a sales price of $500,000 the fee is going to go from $500 to $1,250Grantors Tax Increase to help ease congestion

The tax is typically paid by the seller in a resale scenario and the builder usually passes this fee on to the buyer.  As a result, it has become a nominal cost associated with selling to one of a greater impact and one that will potentially bring attention to people on both sides of the table.  In other states, including Maryland, this tax is absorbed by the seller with first time buyers, is split in most cases but in the end, is a negotiable item between the seller and buyer.  It will be interesting to see if this becomes the case in Virginia.  Our fee is less than Maryland’s but is still is significant enough to take notice and pay attention to what will be the impact as it becomes implemented and the prices increase.

The change goes into effect on July 1st so you will want to plan accordingly.  This year July 1st falls on a Monday so in order to avoid paying the tax, we are encouraging our clients to close by the 26th of June.  This will ensure the property gets recorded at the courthouse prior to the Friday rush that many title companies are expecting and save your money.

Many of you may recall that back in January of 2008, this tax went up 5 times so the same scenario listed above would have resulted in a $2,500 tax on the sale of properties in Virginia.  Therefore, this increase is not as significant.  In March of that year the Supreme Court of Virginia repealed the tax stating a transportation authority NVTA did not have the right to levy taxes.

The additional fees today are also put in place to cover costs associated with transportation initiatives and road improvements in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads in an effort to ease the congestion in these regions.  As such, this tax is only applicable to these regions.  Let’s see some results, please.

How low will it go?

It has finally happened.  Inventory levels in Fairfax, Prince William, Loudoun, Arlington, Fauquier, Alexandria and all the cities in between have now dropped below 5,000 homes for sale.  We have just 4,692 properties on the market. We have not been this low in nearly a year.  This number is not an all time low – the first week of March in 2005 we had 1,652 houses for sale – this was the all time low for this region.  If you are curious, the all time high was the third week of November 2006 when we had 22,898 houses for sale. So as you can see, we are approaching an extreme situation in housing – nothing for home shoppers to buy.  A more balanced market would be in the 8,500 to 9,000 range – we are at about 50% of where we need to be.

So what does all of this mean?  If you are a seller, now is the time to put your house on the market because there is very little competition.  If you are a buyer, you will more than likely be in a multiple contract situation so be ready to put your best offer on the table initially.  Also, buyers will turn to new construction as an alternative to their housing needs as they can’t find suitable solutions in the resale market.  Lastly, prices should continue to increase – just need the appraisers to agree this is the situation.

What else is low and going lower?  Interest rates.  It is amazing that virtually every week the news is rates continue to hit new all time lows.  This makes now a great time to buy or refinance.

So, what is your opinion?  How soon will it be before we see an increase in inventory?  When will we see rates increase?  I’d love to hear your opinion so give me a call.