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

Buckle up and hold on tight! 2016 Northern Virginia Real Estate Market Update

Wow, 2015 flew by in a blink of an eye and I am sure 2016 will as well.  As Happy New Year 2016 from REMAX GatewayI mentioned in my previous market updates, we pretty much enjoyed a stable market for housing in 2015.  I expect things to pick up in 2016 because of all the recent activity.  Many of our agents have been working through the holidays with clients and I too have been meeting with both buyers and sellers looking to make moves in 2016 – more so than any other recent December.  So buckle up, the market will be moving forward in a positive direction.

A few areas in the mortgage arena for us to keep our eyes on are rising interest rates and loan products.  Now that the Fed has raised their rate, mortgage interest rates are now just above 4%.  Still great, don’t get me wrong, but they are just a tad higher than where they have been most of 2015.  The other interesting thing to watch with mortgages are the new programs coming into the market.  Fannie Mae now has a low down payment loan to compete with FHA loans.  These loans compete because the down payment can be a gift so buyers don’t need to have their own money saved for the down payment.  Additionally, I have read there are potentially no down payment loans coming back into the market soon.  These two loan products could help Millennial buyers enter the market sooner as they have not been able to save for their down payments due to high rents, student loan debt and lower paying jobs.  This is important because Millenials will be the largest home buying demographic once they can afford to buy.

Something else to watch is as sales continue to rise, prices too will follow – hopefully at a sustainable rate and not like the San Francisco market or our market from 2002-2006.  Home ownership is extremely important to wealth building and consistent growth in prices help this happen for many people.  We don’t need an escalating housing price market like we had in the past, as no one wins in the end.  I would expect a 3-5% increase in housing overall in Northern Virginia.  Some areas will see more, others less, so please ask me about your home’s value if you are interested.

As always, if you or someone you know is looking to buy or sell a home, I am here to help so please feel free to call me.  Here is to making 2016 one of your best years ever!  Happy New Year!

Scott MacDonald

RE/MAX Gateway
4090B Lafayette Center Drive, Chantilly, VA 20151
Offices strategically located throughout Northern Virginia.

Economic Forecast for 2016 and what it means to the Northern Virginia Real Estate Market

Happy Holidays!  Sorry for the delay this month but I wanted to have our Economic Summit with Dr. Stephen Fuller to fill you in on what is coming down the pike for our economy here in Northern Virginia.happy holidays from REMAX gateway

This year sales remained strong and higher than last year indicating we are still in an improving market.  Prices are stable as we wait for higher paying jobs which happened in the last local jobs report.  Higher paying jobs, along with lower inventory will put upward prices on houses in the future.  Next year will be even better than this year but it appears as if 2017 will be the best year of the decade so we have that to look forward to in housing.  Also, new home starts as well as sales are projected to increase in this same manner which will create even more jobs for our local economy.

Additionally, we see no reason that the Continuing Resolution bill will not pass and be implemented which will lead to the first of 8 interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve.  Both announcements are due the second and third week of December.  The mortgage interest rates published today already have this rise in rates priced into them so we are not expecting a spike in mortgage interest rates next week when it is announced.  It is projected that by 2018, the Fed rate will be about 3.25% and mortgage interest rates will be around 6%.

Our job market will continue to grow in mostly higher paying jobs but the food and leisure jobs still are the strongest in our economy.  Professional Services and Health Care are coming on strong and this is where the higher paying jobs are for us.  This trend will continue for the next few years.

All in all, a bright forecast for our real estate market just in time for the holidays!  If you would like a copy of the presentation he gave us, please let me know and I will send it to you.

Enjoy this time of year with your friends and family and please be safe!  Until next year, Happy Holidays!

Scott MacDonald

RE/MAX Gateway
4090B Lafayette Center Drive, Chantilly, VA 20151
Offices strategically located throughout Northern Virginia.

 

7 Success Tips for a Mastermind Group

As I was thinking of ways to improve my Platinum Club meetings I came up with this little agenda for myself and thought you could use them in your mastermind or round-table discussions:

  • Have the group discuss one thing that was currently working really well in their business.  What activities are giving them their biggest bang for the buck?
  • Ask about what one thing they need help on,are struggling with, or want to brainstorm on in this session.
  • What oneresource, such as a blog, podcast, service, product that they believed others in the group would appreciate knowing about and they are getting benefit from.
  • Encourage everyone to speak – ask pointed questions about the market, marketing, lead gen, upcoming events, and networking successes plus make sure everyone answers a question but don’t let one person dominate the conversations.  Spread the wealth so to speak.
  • Have agents share disappointments as well so others learn from their mistakes or can help them approach the situation differently to be more successful next time.
  • Group members can also help you to tap into other skill sets and networks. They may be able to fill gaps in your own knowledge, or introduce you to key people in different industries or from different backgrounds.  Have agents meet with top producing agents in the office or from other companies and report back what they learned.  Could also meet with lenders and title people as well – the biggest thing is to get them out in front of people.
  • Also, by meeting regularly and holding one another accountable for achieving their goals, members of our groups can inspire one another to stay on track. Knowing that you have to share your progress in the next meeting can spur you on, so that you don’t let the group down. Have everyone set one goal prior to leaving.  Then in two weeks, ask them how it is going (or remind them of their goal) so they can report back the following month.
  • Finally, you can also lean on one other for support – remind them this is one of the biggest benefits to the group and will help them grow, support of others.

By getting everyone involved in the conversation, they feel included and it helps them to gain confidence in what they are doing.

Get it? Got it? Good!

Ready to join a Mastermind Group? Give me a call 703-652-5777

Scott MacDonald

RE/MAX Gateway

4 Most Important questions we ask this time of year: Are the kids back in school yet? How was your Summer? How is the Real Estate Market? How are Interest Rates?

Wow, the summer real flew by this year.  Swim meets, baseball games, family vacations and house sales all made time fly. As school begins and Labor Day is upon us, we generally see a little slow down in our market but a few weeks into September and through the first few weeks of November we see the market generally pick back up and this year should be no different.

In my daily routine I often run into friends, past clients, other real estate professionals and of course my agents.  The question most asked is “how’s the market”.  The answer is always, “it depends”.  Are you a buyer, seller or are you looking to rent or are you a landlord PLUS, where are you speaking about the market specifically?  The reason is, it is different under each scenario and in different locations.  Real estate is and will always remain, hyperlocal.  Generally speaking, the Northern Virginia market is better than it was last year.  We have more sales, prices are stable, but there are also more homes for sale.  There are pockets where inventory is low and others where inventory is increasing making it even more important today to speak with a professional about your situation in more detail.

The second most asked question is “how are interest rates and are they going up anytime soon?”  Mortgage interest rates remain great hovering right around 4% for 30 year fixed loans.  A few months ago the Fed spoke about raising rates around this time but with the recent financial market setback and the fact that the job market for higher paying jobs is still flat, it appears a rate hike is not likely.  Additionally, with an election year just ahead of us, no one will be eager to raise them while trying to get re-elected or be in favor of an increase if they are trying to get elected.  Therefore, it does not appear we will see an increase in rates anytime soon keeping our interest rate environment stable.  To learn more, please feel free to call me.

So, kick back and enjoy the Labor Day holiday with friends and family as I climb Mount Kilimanjaro.  I will report back about our great adventure next month.  We are accepting donations until October 3rd so please feel free to help our cause by visiting http://fundraise.thelastwell.org/scottymac and make a difference in the lives of others.

Thank you!

Scott MacDonald

Healthy Housing Market For Home Buying And Selling in Northern Virginia

The Northern Virginia real estate market continues to remain stable. Recent numbers show that houses are selling, prices are raising slightly, and inventory levels are increasing slightly. All of these numbers are at healthy levels in my opinion. 2015 Interest Rates Home Prices in the Northern Virginia Real Estate MarketThis news is making now a good time to both sell and buy a property.

One thing that has been a wild card is interest rates. Increased rates can hamper the steadiness of our market and right now they are near 2015 highs.  Over the past 3 weeks, there have only been two days where rates managed to improve even a little bit.  Four out of the past six days have seen uncommonly big moves higher.  These are the sorts of moves that we’d normally only see 2-3 times per month, so to see 4 of them in just over a week is alarming. It is definitely an area we need to pay attention to moving forward.

Going forward, I see more of the same out of our housing market. There will be a good home selection for buyers to choose from, reasonable prices and rates remaining in the 4% range. As good homes come on the market that are priced right, they are selling because there are buyers in the market looking to own. Houses that have been on the market because the owners “pushed” prices, didn’t have them in the right condition or just had bad timing (putting them on the market at the end of October) will continue to sit. Buyers want fresh listings, not old, tired listings that have been lingering on the market. Therefore, it remains critical to have your house staged, in the right condition and priced right to get it sold if you are looking to put your house on the market.

If you have any questions or concerns about your situation, feel free to call me today 703-652-5777 . I am happy to discuss how we can help you.

Scott MacDonald

RE/MAX Gateway

NFL Super Bowl Challange and a “No Deflate-Gate” in the Northern Virginia Real Estate Market!

Watch Scott’s Market Minute!

Low interest rates, low resale housing market inventory and great loan options.  If you are considering buying or selling real estate – contact me for a free consultation 703-652-5777 or scottmacdonald@remax.net

Will You accept Scott MacDonald’s NFL Challange?

How To THRIVE IN 2-0-1-5

Happy New Year Gateway Agents,

Now that the holiday season has come and gone, it is time to get geared up for 2015 and make it your best year ever.  In order to achieve all you desire, you will have to make sacrifices, develop more willpower, practice more discipline, have more consistency and continue to grow personally and professionally.THRIVE IN 2015

The sacrifices you will have to make will come in various areas. 

One is time.  Time with family and friends will be limited.  As you will be busier than you have been before, are you ready to make this sacrifice and are they?

Another area is investing in yourself and your business.  Do you have the money and resources available to you and are you willing to allocate them appropriately this year to realize the success you are planning for in 2015.  Lastly, committing yourself to working more efficiently, effectively and focused is a huge sacrifice – are you ready to make the sacrifice for your success?

Developing willpower – the ability to say no to unproductive, time-wasting activities is huge.  You will have to say no to coffees, lunches, happy hours, and ball games with family and friends to keep you focused and on point.  Do you have what it takes to develop this necessary ingredient to high levels of achievement?  Get willpower do to the hard things and get successful.

Practicing and working on discipline is critical to getting the results you want for yourself.  Getting up earlier, staying at the office a little later, developing a morning routine that gets you on track the rest of the day, sticking with a structured schedule – daily – and pushing yourself outside your comfort zone are the pieces of the puzzle that will get you further, faster.  Be disciplined in your activities, work smarter not harder and achieve great things in 2015.

Accomplishing tasks, making things happen and doing them regularly, with consistency is a key ingredient to success.  The important thing to keep in mind here is to not let a few disappointments slow you down.  Consistently set a schedule – with top priorities the night before you leave the office, consistently call your database, consistently attend networking events, consistently grow your database, consistently review and adjust what your plan is according to how the market fluctuates.

Growing personally and professionally is another success factor.  Start an exercise program, eat healthier, drink less alcohol and sodas, stop smoking, and take time to think.  Grow professionally by attending trainings, get involved in mastermind groups, obtain a designation, get a mentor or coach and meet with an “expert” in the business to get their perspective on what is happening and what they are doing to be successful.

Here are a few more tips to consider – stay positive, stay focused, talk to yourself and stop listening to yourself, read more and watch less TV, stop complaining, hang around people more successful than you, volunteer your time, learn something new every day and take action.

Don’t just survive, it’s time to thrive in 2-0-1-5!  Get it?  Got it?  Good!

Now, go sell something

Scott MacDonald

RE/MAX Gateway

New Year Sparks Hope and Much Anticipated Home Sales As Early Spring Real Estate Market 2015 Approaches

The beginning of the year always brings about hope, excitement and anticipation of good things ahead and 2015 is no different.  We believe that this year will be a much better year for real estate in Northern Virginia.  There are many reasons for this optimism – great rates, new financing programs, lower inventory levels, positive consumer confidence and pent-up demand.

Let’s review each of these areas.HOPE SPARK IN 2015 REAL ESTATE MARKET

  • Great rates. Although there has been a very slight uptick in rates recently, rates remain very low historically.  Additionally, the interest rates will remain low through 2015 perhaps not reaching 5% until later in the year.
  • New financing programs. Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae have both begun to accept 3% down payments for first time home buyers.  There will be guidelines such as a minimum 620 credit score, borrowers will have to take an educational class, and they couldn’t have owned a home in the last 3 years to qualify.  With 45% of renters delaying a home purchase because of available funds for a down payment, this should increase the number of home buyers in 2015.
  • Lower inventory levels. In September of this year, we reached a 7 year high in inventory in Northern Virginia with 9,163 houses for sale.  Since that time, the number of available homes has declined each week.  We now have just 5,944 homes for sale which resulted in a brisk sales month for December.  Some of these properties will come back on the market this upcoming spring, but many sold.  As long as we have a moderate winter weather-wise, inventory will slowly enter the market and we won’t have the accelerated inventory levels we experienced in May of 2014 due to the weather.
  • Positive consumer confidence. Many more people today believe that the economy, their personal situation and the real estate market are all going to be better in the future.  These optimistic expectations are leading indicators to people purchasing in the upcoming months – including housing.  Additionally, Freddie Mac and builders also have high expectations of the housing market.  These expectations will have a positive impact on housing in 2015.
  • Pent up demand. As previously mentioned, December experienced a brisk sales month here locally.  We continue to receive calls, emails and internet requests on our homes for sale.   This shows us that there are many people ready to buy the right home that suits their personal lifestyle needs.  Also, many people who went through distressed sales just a few years ago are able to purchase again.  Job growth coupled with population growth locally will also increase demand for housing.

One other area to see home ownership grow in 2015 and beyond is the Millennial homebuyers.  They believe in home ownership as a wealth building opportunity and an overwhelming majority of them will be buying in the next 5 years.  Lastly, rising rental rates will push more people into ownership as a cost savings measure.

All of these positive influences in our region will strengthen our housing market in 2015 and beyond.  As we see our local economy continuing to rebound after 4 years of stagnant growth, this will have a positive impact on housing.  To see what this means to you, please feel free to contact me.

Cheers in the New Year!

Scott MacDonald

RE/MAX Gateway

Happy New Year 2015 _ ScottyMacsBlog Real Estate Market