August Market Update

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Wow, what a year we are having in Northern Virginia real estate!

Inventory remains low – 13% below last year’s inventory levels, yet sales year over year are up 7.7%. We still have low interest rates and new loan programs – including grant programs – that are becoming available to help more people buy homes. Additionally, days on market are down to just 32 days which is unreal. As a result, we only have a two-month’s supply of houses in all of Northern Virginia. These factors, coupled with strong demand, has prices up over 2%. This is very moderate growth in housing prices, which is sustainable, so there is no fear of a bubble here. The projections for housing prices in our area are an increase of nearly 6% from June of 2017 to June of 2018.  If you are considering a move, now would be the time!

In July, our sales pace was very comparable to last year sales numbers which were strong – we would like this momentum to continue for our sellers. Historically, August inventory levels have stayed relatively flat, but sales do trend down. Let’s keep an eye out to see if this trend continues.

The one other area to keep an eye on is distressed inventory. Short sales are creeping back into the market. Many people who purchased homes back in 2006 and 2007 did so with interest only loans for 10 years, then they adjust to fully amortized loans over the remaining 20 years. This results in big monthly payment increases. Some of the home values are not back to the original purchase price, so refinancing is not always an option for the owner, hence the increase in short sales. It is a tough situation for many people – let’s see how this impacts the market going forward.

School starts early throughout our region this year, so I hope you are able to take advantage of the few remaining weeks of summer.  As always, if you have any specific questions about your situation and the housing market, please feel free to call me anytime.

703-652-5777 or scottmacdonald@remax.net

What A Buyer Wants In A House For Sale In Northern Virginia

Now that the spring market has sprung – inventory levels too have sprung into full bloom.

Our inventory levels are at three year highs with over 6,100 homes for sale in Northern Virginia. We have not had this many homes for sale since November of 2011 – nearly 3.5 years ago.  This is good for buyers who are searching for homes but sellers need to be cognizant of what this means to them.Image

Inventory levels are up 36% over this same time last year so sellers need to be competitive when they put their properties up for sale. What we have been seeing in the market is buyers are very discriminating now when it comes to their home selection. Properties need to be in model home condition, have great curb appeal and need to be priced right in order to get offers. When homes meet these criteria, they often times are receiving multiple offers while their neighbors who haven’t staged their homes, haven’t gotten them into model home condition or haven’t priced them properly sit on the market. We see sellers push values and stay for sale for extended periods of time. We see other sellers who don’t declutter or continue to “live” in their homes versus stage their homes properly and they sit on the market. Lastly, we see sellers not make the appropriate upgrades like painting, carpet replacement, adding granite, etc. and their homes continue to stay up for sale while others sell. Many of today’s buyers don’t want to make the upgrades, don’t have the vision to get homes into the right condition or don’t have the funds to make the improvements but qualify to buy the homes that have been put into the proper selling condition. As inventory levels rise, it is extremely important to make your house as competitive as possible to get it sold because there are buyers out there.

On another note, interest rates remain low which is helping purchasers become home owners both as first time buyers and as move up buyers which is good for our market. As rates increase, we will see people embrace adjustable rate mortgages as an option – especially first time buyers as their objectives are to only stay in the property for a short period of time. If you are considering a purchase, please ask about ARM’s and if they are a viable option for you.

Let’s hope the weather heats up and helps fuel the real estate market. The winter was brutal and the comment was made, if you can’t get out and buy milk and bread, you can’t get out and buy a house. Come on warmer temperatures – we need ya!

Scott MacDonald

RE/MAX Gateway

 

Video

Northern Virginia Real Estate Market UPDATE! What You Need To Know To Sell Your Home

House inventory has dramatically increased in Northern Virginia. Buyers have more options. Real Estate Agents & Sellers alike… You need to watch this video blog for tips and tricks to help sell the home. Want to talk about your property in specific? Call Scott MacDonald (703) 652-5777 or email scottmacdonald@remax.net read more… https://scottymacsblog.com/

Scott MacDonald

RE/MAX Gateway

Scott’s Market Minute: Spring Real Estate Market Is Warming Up

Residential inventory of houses for sale in Northern Virginia is beginning to pick up and the Washington Wizards kicked off the playoffs with their first win! Get all the stats here and everything you need to know to set yourself up for success! Are you buying or selling? Contact Scott MacDonald (703) 652-5777 scottmacdonald@remax.net to find out the best strategies to put yourself ahead in this housing market.

Scott MacDonald

RE/MAX Gateway

Video

7 Ideas For A Successful Real Estate Open House

The Spring real estate market is already warming up and due to low housing inventory, an Open House can be an effective way to get your listing seen. Listen as Scott offers some great ideas that were shared in “The NEW Agent” training series on how to help ensure a successful real estate open house.

Scott MacDonald, Broker/Owner/President of RE/MAX Gateway mentors and offers practical advice to real estate agents. Want to learn more? Contact Scott MacDonald (703) 652-5777 scottmacdonald@remax.net to learn more about how to be your best as an entrepreneur in the real estate world. Read more at scottymacsblog.com

Video

LOW INVENTORY: Homes for Sale Needed in Northern Virginia!

Low inventory and multiple offers – listen as Scott MacDonald explains the current housing market from both buyer and seller perspective.  Scott offers practical advice to homeowners who are thinking of selling, as well as, market trends and forecast for the Northern Virginia Real Estate Market.
Contact Scott MacDonald (703) 652-5777 scottmacdonald@remax.net to learn more about your specific real estate market or read scottymacsblog.com/

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Is it over yet? Why Northern Virginia Home Sales Went On A Wild Roller Coaster Ride

October took the real estate market roller coaster ride.

Rates went up, rates came down.  Sales went down, sales went up.  Inventory rose, inventory came back down.

Real Estate Market Roller Coaster Ride 31OCT2013

In some areas, the number of multiple contracts went down, then they went back up.  Inventory of short sales and foreclosures were down, then they rose but luckily by not too much.  The government shut down and the government opened back up – luckily, it was not too long and did not have a tremendous impact on the housing market.

Our emotions went up, our emotions came back down, as there was a lot of concern about delays in closings associated with the shut down because of the reduced number of employees at FHA and the IRS, but we avoided a potential disaster there.  Additionally, we were worried about the government defaulting on their debt which would have sent interest rates skyrocketing, and again, fortunately, this did not happen.

Even though there were so many ups and downs, the market in October this year was still better compared to a year ago.  There were more home sales, higher home prices and more homes for sale for buyers to choose from, although the uncertainty skewed people’s perception.  So now you know why October was such a roller coaster for real estate.

What lies ahead on the horizon as we enter the winter market?  My belief is we will be in our typical winter market.  Homes will come off the market for the holidays.  Motivated, savvy buyers will be out buying homes.  Interest rates will remain in the low 4% range.  Home prices will continue to stabilize throughout the Northern Virginia area.  Houses that are priced right, in the right condition and right location will see multiple offers and our market won’t be as up and down as it was in October.  Basically, we will continue to have a robust housing market locally.

To learn more about your situation, please feel free to call me today. Scott MacDonald (703) 652-5777.

Scott MacDonald

RE/MAX Gateway, LLC

Why has the real estate market slowed down?

Why has the real estate market slowed down?  In my opinion, it is a combination of a few factors.

Why has the real estate market slowed down?

First and foremost, it is interest rates.  Over the last year, rates have risen nearly 1.5%.  A lot of people say they can’t believe with rates so low, how people cannot qualify for a mortgage.  Well this kind of increase will remove buyers from the market regardless of where the rates start and where they end up – 3.25 to 4.75 or 8 to 9.5.   An increase in interest rates like this is going to have an impact on the market.

Also, house prices have increased by over 17% the last 3 years in our area.  This price increase has also helped to eliminate buyers from the market.  Higher prices in any area of our lives – cars, restaurants, food, etc. will eliminate buyers – it is a natural fact.  Couple this with the interest rate increase and we have a slower market.

Additionally, there are fewer homes to choose from in the lower price points as well making it difficult for buyers to even find acceptable housing to purchase.  There are only 1,210 properties priced below $300,000 in all of Northern Virginia and only 271 are single family homes, the rest are town houses or condos.  If there are fewer options for entry into the market, there are going to be fewer sales thus slowing down the market.

The upcoming finance reform with QM, QRM, and Basel III the first of the year together with the easing of QE 3 leaves a lot of speculation about the future of rates and sequentially, the housing market.  Keep a keen eye on these developments to measure their impact.

So is the sky falling Chicken Little? 

Why has the real estate market slowed down interest rate increase

Well, let the numbers tell the story.  The housing market today is not substantially different than this same time last year and everyone was excited about the market then.  Funny how the brisk spring market with low inventory, low interest rates and multiple contracts has clouded the vision of some people.  Inventory is up just 6% over last year – not a terrible or scary number.  Sales are up in a week to week comparison to last year by 3.5% – a pretty good increase, right?  The 2.1 month supply of homes is virtually the same as last year’s 2.0.  Distressed property inventory has dropped 40% – which is a fantastic number.  This has resulted in a majority of the increase in homes for sale being arm’s length transactions – another good thing.  The last number to mention is properties that settled the last 30 days.  We are up 14% over last year indicating we are actually experiencing more sales.  So, if looked at from a long term perspective, our real estate market is actually doing pretty well.  All this being said, we still need to price properties properly as well as get them in the right condition to get them sold for our clients.

Keep a positive outlook on the market, good things will happen.  Now, go sell something!

Scott MacDonald

RE/MAX Gateway, LLC

Video

How are Interest Rates affecting the Northern Virginia Real Estate?

Scott MacDonald of RE/MAX Gateway offers valuable information as to how interest rates are driving the real estate housing market in his video blog Scott’s Market Minute.

Sellers are urged to price houses competitively to sell fast. For a free Home Market Analysis, contact Scott MacDonald (703) 652-5777  There’s still time to get your home listed for sale!

Buyers, rates are climbing, now is the time to buy a home! Email Scott for a free optimized homes for sale search list. scottmacdonald@remax.net

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Top 3 Reasons Why You Should Buy or Sell a Home in Northern Virginia NOW!

Wow, it has been a crazy 8 weeks for interest rates.  As we have discussed in the past, if someone was considering buying or refinancing, they should do it then.  Well, I hope you took that advice because interest rates have gone up three quarters of a point in just the past 2 months.  This week, we saw the largest increase in rates since April of 1987 – that’s 26 years!  The reason behind the increase is Ben Bernanke of the Federal Reserve made remarks that they may be tapering its bond purchases later this year if the economy continues to improve.  Although the stock market was up the second quarter with all three indexes recording gains of between 2% and 5%, it too took a hit on these comments.  We will have to keep a close eye on the economy and see where rates will go moving forward with this type of news on the forefront.  If you recall, at the beginning of the year, we predicted rates to rise to around 4.5% which I believe will still be the case, I thought it would be more gradual and not so drastic.

Largest interest rate increase since April, 1987

Largest interest rate increase since April, 1987

All of this being said, interest rates from a historical perspective, are still very low.  Today 30 year fixed rates are 4.25% with .75 points on conforming loans above $417,000.   While the increase in interest rates will certainly dampen some housing activity, the effect will be softened by the high level of buyer affordability, and home sales should still remain strong.

What else do we see in our real estate market?  We continue to see housing prices increase throughout the area as demand remains strong despite the increase in rates which is good news for our sellers.  We are also seeing more houses coming onto the market in Northern Virginia which is good news for our buyers. The inventory of resale homes is above 5,000 for the first time since the third week of October 2012.  Since the beginning of the year, inventory levels are up nearly 37% but we are still in a seller’s market with just a 1.4 month’s supply of homes.  The market still remains competitive with many properties receiving multiple contracts.   We had one house with 3 contracts on it this week in Virginia Run.  Distressed property inventory remains very low as well – just 6.9% of the market which is good news for everyone.   We should continue to see these trends continue throughout the summer.

Lastly, we are excited to announce we have signed a lease on our 5th office.  It is in the Clarendon section of Arlington and is located at 3000 10th Street – look for our grand opening announcement soon.  Please let us know how we can serve you.

Scott MacDonald

RE/MAX Gateway, LLC