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.

August Market Update

It’s amazing!  Our market continues to flourish despite the rest of the economy and other market segments in the real estate business.  Year to date, our transactions are up 21% over last year numbers.  Our belief is that we provide our agents with up-to-date, cutting edge, continuous training to keep them current which has helped us excel in today’s perceived “down” market.  In addition to our success, nationally, June’s numbers of existing-home sales rose for the third consecutive month with inventory easing and home prices declining less sharply in June, according to the National Association of Realtors®.  Our belief is that low rates, lower prices, and the $8,000 tax credit for first time buyers are fueling our business.

 

Some of the trends we are closely monitoring are the Home Valuation Code of Conduct, the Housing and Economic Recovery Act and the Mortgage Disclosure Improvement Act to educate our clients on how the appraisal and lending process will impact their sale from a valuation and timeframe standpoint.  In addition, we are closely monitoring new loan programs, revisiting underutilized programs such as VHDA, buy downs, and FHA ARMS to find ways to finance our purchasers. And we are continuing to stay up-to-date on short sales and the short sale process.  Our experience has been that the process is taking longer and we are having more difficulty in getting them through the banks.  Nationally, only 23% of short sales are getting to settlement.  Make sure to stay current on these changes and updates to give the right advice.

 

A few additional insights are that new home sales continue to flourish, there are more move up buyers entering our market and when we meet the appraiser we are having fewer value issues.  By providing them with comparable sales and details on those sales (short sale, condition, foreclosure, etc.), information on activity, days on market comparisons, number of contracts received and current market conditions to provide the appraiser at the time of the inspection – we are experiencing fewer problems.  We still are having appraisal issues but by meeting the appraiser at the house, we have experienced more appraisals coming in at value than we previously encountered.

 

By staying on top of industry trends, changes within our industry, and educating yourself and clients, you will gain more loyal clients and receive more referrals.  Get it?  Got it?  Good!