September 2022 Market Update

Summer is coming to an end! The question is – is the real estate market coming to an end as well? If you read the headlines, watch the news, and talk with co-workers and family members (who are not real estate professionals), the answer is probably ‘yes’. Prices are going to crash, we are in a bubble, inventory is going to skyrocket, foreclosures are going to ramp up, and more false information floats around regularly. Luckily, you have the voice of reason – me – to tell you the real facts, especially about the Northern Virginia Market. 

First things first: prices will go down in some areas, but not all, and not drastically. Some sellers will be desperate and will sell their homes for less than market value, as their circumstances will dictate their motivation. This is the exception and not the norm. They’ll still make money on the sale, as prices have increased in the last few years, so they’ll not be in a negative equity position. Some sellers will receive multiple offers and prices will escalate – again, this is the exception and not the norm. This is ok, as we don’t need the market to continue to have prices escalate $25,000 – $150,000 over the list price. That was just not sustainable. 

Inventory is not going to skyrocket, and we won’t suddenly have an oversupply of houses on the market. Why? Many homeowners have 2.5-3.5% interest rates on their mortgages and their payments are affordable, so why would they just suddenly list? Because people say the market is going to crash? Not gonna happen. Inventory levels have dropped in the last six weeks in our market, and that trend will probably continue. People are selling today because they need to – not because the market is on fire. Houses will stay on the market for two to three months – not two to three hours, or even two to three days – and that is ok. We are in a balanced market. This will frustrate some sellers, but the market has changed, so settle in and know that these are the conditions today. 

In today’s balanced market, buyers will have time to look at houses more than once and for longer than just five minutes. Their contracts will have contingencies, and this, too, is ok. 

Lastly, we are not going to have a foreclosure explosion. People have equity and jobs. They will exist, but there will not be an onslaught of them.

Sellers – it is time to balance the expectations of your sale to mimic the new market. Have patience – your house will sell. Buyers – know you will have time and choices, which is a good thing, but also know that sellers will not drop prices by 10%. Be realistic and you will get a home that fits your lifestyle. Buy for the long term and don’t be concerned about price fluctuations – they are normal.

With all that being said, some parts of the country will see bigger price drops because their prices increased nearly 50% in just a few years. They will see more inventory coming on the market. Their markets are not as sustainable as ours. Remote work situations have reversed in many cases, making these “hot markets” not so hot. 

I can tell you more and show you charts and images that back all of this up, so feel free to reach out if you want to learn more. As always, I am here to help you (and those you know) with their real estate needs. Call me to discuss how all of this affects you or them!

Now, go watch some football!

August 2022 Market Update

It’s the dog days of summer, and the real estate market is generally as it is this time of year, but just a little bit slower. Typically, the market sees less activity in August – people go on vacation, the showings slow, and prices moderate. Nothing to be concerned about, but the difference this year is the market was so fast-paced the first five months that it seems like things are drastically slow now.

The good news is that we have settled into a more “normal” market. The initial shock of the changing market has worn off. Inventory levels have stabilized, prices are settling, and buyer demand remains active. The weekly absorption rate of sales this year is 19% which is good, relative to other non-pandemic years. For comparison, the rate in 2019 was 18%, in 2018 it was 15% and in 2017 it was a mere 12%. What we need now is for seller expectations to be in line with where the current market is. It will take longer for houses to sell; there are fewer buyers in the market due to rising rates, rising prices, and buyer fatigue. The great news is that there are still buyers in the market. There is no bubble and prices are not crashing.

Why you may ask? Today (versus the Great Recession), we have 5 million more buyers in the first-time home buyer age bracket (28-32) and there are 12 million more household formations. Additionally, the number of homes for sale was 3.7 million nationally in 2008. Today we have under 1 million. Builders only build when they have a buyer – they are not building spec homes like they were before the Great Recession. The overall numbers reflect a better market for both sellers and buyers. The frenetic pace from November through the end of April was not sustainable, nor was it healthy.

So, what’s next? We will have a market where buyers will have the ability to take their time when deciding to buy. When they do write contracts, they will have contingencies in them. There will still be some homes that sell quickly with multiple offers, but it won’t be like it was a few months ago. I want to reiterate that this is a good thing for everyone, as we have seen issues with people who bought homes sight unseen, didn’t do inspections, or have appraisal contingencies.

The bottom line is that if you are looking to sell or buy, you need the advice of a trusted professional. Call me to discuss your situation in more detail. I am here to help!

July 2022 Market Update

Welcome to the summer – and all the fun associated with it! What does summer mean to you? Trips to the beach?  Lazy days at the pool? Cookouts with family and friends? Baseball games?  How about amusement parks? 

In our current world of real estate, we are at an amusement park and rollercoaster rides are what we are experiencing. We’re facing the ups and downs and twists and turns of the most exciting ride at the park.  Now, more than ever, you need to have an agent with experience and knowledge to help you navigate the roller coaster of real estate.  We’ve seen some houses sell with multiple offers in just a few days, and other houses sitting on the market with very few showings in weeks.  We have a high demand for housing and growing – albeit slowly – inventory levels.  Interest rates are up and down regularly, yet they are still at fantastic historical levels.

The rates of the past are the rates of the past. They were artificially low and could not stay that way for an extended period.  Even though current rates are higher than where they were, they WILL come down as we enter a recession.  The good news for real estate is that in recessionary times, real estate has fared well, with only the Great Recession negatively affecting home values.

The reason for that decline in home values was the exotic home loans and the fallout as a result of them.  We are not in the same situation today.

Homeowners have equity today versus the Great Recession, when many people had negative equity the day they bought the house.  As a matter of fact, of people in foreclosure today, 90% have positive equity and 25% of those in foreclosure have 50% positive equity or greater.

So, what does all this mean if you are a seller or a buyer in today’s market?  Sellers need to be realistic with their pricing and have patience, as it may take time for your house to sell.  The good news is that your home will sell as we DO have demand. Even though inflation and rates are up, buyers are out there.  If you are a buyer, you may need to be competitive or you may not be able to negotiate like “the old days”.  In any scenario you find yourself in, we should speak more specifically about your situation.  I am here to help, so give me a call.

Happy Summer and stay cool!

June 2022 Market Update

Lately, we’ve been having conversations with each other, our clients, and others in the industry both locally and around the country to better understand what is happening today in the real world and the Northern Virginia real estate market. Lots of questions are being asked. Do we have a housing bubble in Northern Virginia? Are prices going to crash? When are prices coming down? Should I wait for prices to drop before I buy? Why is it taking longer to sell a house? How high will rates go? Should I sell (or buy) now or wait? 

In my opinion, prices will not be escalating at the rate they were previously. Those dramatic price increases were not sustainable. There may be pockets where prices decline, but we still have high demand at most price points.

Additionally, our price increases were not as drastic as in other parts of the country. According to the FHFA Top 100 Metropolitan Markets Ranking, we rank 99 out of 100! Other parts of the country will see higher price drops, but our area should remain stable. We will not have a “housing crash” in Northern Virginia. 

Don’t wait to buy real estate – buy real estate and wait. Buy because of your lifestyle, needs, and wants – and not strictly because of prices. Buy for the long term, not the short-term gains. Yes, the market has slowed down. Buyers are not “rushing” into buying decisions like they were previously, but remember – that type of market cannot be sustained. It is still a seller’s market. It’s a good thing when a house is on the market 7-10 days.  

If you are thinking of selling soon, give me a call. Rates are going up on 30-year fixed mortgages, but you do have alternatives – most notably, adjustable-rate mortgages and buydowns. The adjustable-rate mortgages are a great option and not what they were when the real estate market crashed in the past. Buydowns give you another option, with lower than 30-year fixed rates. Let’s discuss why these are often viable options for buyers. If you are looking to sell or buy – now is a great time, so call me to learn more.

Enjoy the last few days of Spring before the summer heat kicks in!

April 2022 Market Update

How about this weather? Cold temps, blustery winds, snow, sleet, and sometimes sunshine and warm temperatures all on the same day. It’s so crazy; I can’t figure out what to wear today! These conditions remind me of the real estate market in Northern Virginia this last month. One house had 100 visitors and multiple contracts in two days; another had 15 visitors and one contract in four days – in the same neighborhood one week apart. We also have a house that has been on the market for more than two weeks with just a handful of showings and no ratified contract. As I always advise, you must have the house in pristine condition, priced right, and in a great location to get the most activity as well as contracts. If you think you can sell anything in this market, you are far from reality.

The real question of the month is, “when should I put my house on the market?” Interest rates have impacted the market as they continue to rise. We’ve had the most volatile few weeks of increases, with rates topping out at over 5%. This has some buyers looking to buy sooner rather than later (many believe rates will continue to rise), and they want to get in today. Another aspect to consider when I’m asked this question is the number of houses for sale – especially in your neighborhood. Overall, in Northern Virginia, inventory levels are down 29% from this same time last year – but inventory is rising. I also consider pricing when answering this question. Prices are up over 9% from last year, but with rising interest rates, inflation, and more homes for sale, price increases will not be as substantial as earlier this year. My answer is simple – get your house on the market sooner rather than later. Call me today if you are considering selling and want to see how this impacts you.

So how does all this impact buyers? If you are financially stable to buy a home, don’t wait – just go for it. Remember to buy for the right reasons – lifestyle, distance to work, and schools to name a few, just don’t forget what your why is. Don’t expect mortgage rates or home prices to come down because neither is going to happen for the foreseeable future. Waiting will cost you more. As the saying goes, ‘don’t wait to buy real estate; buy real estate and wait.’ If you are thinking about buying, call me, and we can discuss your situation in more detail.

In the meantime, have a great spring. Hopefully, the weather will begin to normalize soon!

Hot & Sticky… The Northern Virginia Real Estate Market

The real estate market continues to be hot – just like the weather.independence day  Inventory levels remain below 7,800 active properties for sale in Northern Virginia.  Last year at this time we had over 9,550 – quite a difference.  There is pent up demand but we are lacking “really good” inventory.  We have buyers that would move up if they found something suitable in a higher price points but nothing seems to be coming on to help with this situation.  So here are a few quick stats on the overall market:

  • Sales of existing homes reached the highest annual pace in over 9 years at 5.29 million.
  • Inventory remains below the 6-month norm and prices are still on the rise, however, this is very hyper-local so ask me for details.
  • Interest rates are at a historic low of 3.48%.

Now, just like the weather, things can be a little sticky…if properties get priced too high, they are sitting on the market.  They are getting lookers, just no offers which at times has led to frustration for our sellers.  It is important to keep in mind proper pricing today is still critical.  To learn more about how we can help you with selling your home, feel free to call me.

The big news recently has been Brexit and how it will affect us in the United States.  Well, virtually immediately, interest rates on mortgages dropped to three year lows.  The good news is they are expected to stay this way for a while.  There is speculation that International investors may sell off their holdings in the UK and invest in the US which could be good news for cities like Washington, DC, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles – let’s keep an eye out for this movement.  The overall sentiment is we may not see its full impact for years but in the short term it will be good for the US housing market.

As always, we are here to help with any questions you may have regarding the Northern Virginia real estate market and have a safe, fun and enjoyable July 4th celebration.

Scott MacDonald

RE/MAX Gateway

Scott’s Market Minute – Robust Spring Housing Market Expected

Scott MacDonald’s Northern Virginia real estate housing market trends, local statistics and how this can impact your buying or selling a home  click to play video

Contact Scott MacDonald 702-652-5777 Broker for RE/MAX Gateway for more information and a personal assessment to meet your goals.

Scott MacDonald

RE/MAX Gateway

 

Unlike the weather out there…the Northern Virginia Real Estate Market is HOT!

Very Low Inventory + Lots of Buyers = Good News for Sellers!  click to play

Thinking about selling your home?  Contact Scott MacDonald 702-652-5777 for more information and a personal assessment to meet your real estate goals.

Scotts Market Minute 2016FEB12

Now is a great time to buy and sell a home in Northern Virginia!

Scott MacDonald

RE/MAX Gateway

Northern Virginia Real Estate – Optimism and Home Buying are in the air for 2016

We continue to have great optimism about home sales in 2016 despite the storm of the century just a few short weeks ago.  We are experiencing a mild winter and agents are building momentum into the spring market making this a great time to buy or sell a home. optimistic heart line Interest rates are phenomenal despite the Federal Reserve raising their rates.
Inventory levels are below last year’s level year-to-date and the great news is, sales are up.  We have pent up demand for housing in Northern Virginia which can be seen when visiting open houses on weekends and our listings are getting great activity throughout the week.  Today’s buyers are serious and are taking action on homes that are staged well, in condition and priced right.  In many cases, we are seeing multiple contracts.

In looking back at 2015, through November, sales of both new and existing homes had increased over the previous year.  According to a recent release from the Department of Commerce, new home sales in 2015 came in at 490,000—the best numbers since August of 2015.  We expect these numbers to increase throughout 2016 as well.  Builders have expressed multiple times they are optimistic as well.

Basic information on the economy shows us that unemployment is at a 7-year low, wages are 5% higher than a year ago, and home prices continue – moderately.  Let’s hope this trend continues as we definitely need higher paying jobs in our area.

One area of potential concern today is in the refinance boom of 2005-2007.  During this time, many borrowers took out 10-year mortgages that were interest only and their reset dates are now coming into maturity.  This means their loan balance is now amortized over 20 years for the last 20 years of the loan increasing their monthly payments significantly.  Add to this potential issue is many of the homes used to collateralize these loans have not gotten back to the value of where they were making it difficult to refinance again.  This could result in short sales and foreclosures.  Let’s pay attention to how this plays out.

As you know, if you have any questions or concerns, you can call, text or email me anytime.  We are here to help you.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Scott MacDonald

RE/MAX Gateway

Northern Virginia Real Estate, Housing Inventory and Snowmagedon 2016

Scott MacDonald video update about the local housing market statistics and the impact on buying and selling a home in Northern Virginia – even with Winter Storm Jonas and the possibility of Snowmageddon 2016!  click to play video

Scott Market Minute 2016JAN22

Now is a great time to buy and sell a house!

Contact Scott MacDonald 702-652-5777 Broker for RE/MAX Gateway for more information and a personal assessment of your housing goals.

Scott MacDonald

RE/MAX Gateway