January Market Update

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone!  “Wow” … that’s what I have to say about our current invent18_300720_q4 social_shares_new_yearory level of homes for sale. As many of you know, I have been tracking active inventory of resale homes since the first week of March 2005. At first it was monthly, now it is weekly as the market can be very dynamic. The reason I initially started this tracking routine back in March 2005 is because I had heard there were 148 contracts on a house in Arlington. We all thought there was little inventory available, so I ran numbers for Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William and Fauquier Counties, in addition to all the cities within those counties. My analysis concluded that there were only 1,652 houses for sale. With the high demand and unrestricted lending guidelines back in 2005, it is no wonder that we would see so many contracts on ONE individual property. What is even more interesting is by July 2005 there were 7,705 houses listed for sale – truly a rapid ascent, but what is really crazy is that number soared to 22,898 in November 2006. As we all recall, the market crashed in 2007.

So, why do I say “wow”?  Today our inventory level is at the second lowest number since I have been tracking them (March 2005) – only 2,713 homes are currently for sale. I don’t believe we are going to see the rapid ascent as we did in the past, as there is not the exuberance in the market place like there was in the early 2000’s. That being said, we need houses to sell! Buyers are out looking. We had multiple showings on both Christmas Day and New Year’s Day – there is a strong demand for housing. Interest rates are creeping lower, so buyers are looking to take advantage of this opportunity. If you are considering selling, now is a great time. Typically, we see inventory rise the second or third week of February. Let’s see how the market trends this year. Obviously, every situation is personal and different so if you are considering a move, call me to discuss how we can help you.

Wishing you and your family a very prosperous 2019!

 

April Market Update

Crazy Weather, Crazy Market…
spring scott blog

The Northern Virginia real estate market has been a lot like our weather in March…hot and cold. We’ve had some markets that have been on fire – Reston as an example; while others have been normal which makes Realtors and sellers feel on edge or think that the market is “cold”. It is extremely important to have the right expectation when selling your house – not every house sells in a day with multiple contracts. Many houses take a couple of months to sell. The current average is 62 days on the market in Northern Virginia. This is below the national average so we still have a great market. Buyers are buying and as result, the supply of existing houses for sale is down to a 1.2 month supply of homes. So, my advice is to be realistic if you are going to be selling your house and if you get a contract quickly, make the most of it, but don’t expect the process to happen fast.

Again, the good news is that sales are up 6% over last year, sales prices are up 2.8%, mortgage interest rates are still phenomenal and the inventory levels are increasing – so we should continue to see a good spring market. Even with inventory levels increasing, we are still 19% below last year’s levels. My belief is this will continue to happen for the next few months – inventory will rise but we will still lag behind previous years because we have strong fundamentals in place for a good housing market.

If rates continue to rise as a result of “Trumpenomics”, buyers will and should consider adjustable rate mortgages. Typically, ARM products like a 7/1 ARM run about ¾ of a point less in interest rates. As an example, 30 year fixed rates are about 4.25% and a 7/1 ARM is about 3.5% – definitely something to consider when buying a house today.

We can discuss your plans in more detail to see if this is a viable option for you. Please let me know if you have any specific questions or concerns as I am here to help!

Happy Spring Break and Easter!

Would you like to learn more? Give me a call at 703-652-5777 or scottmacdonald@remax.net

 

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

Don’t kick yourself later…stay on top of the trends!

Platinum Group April 2011

The Platinum Group is made up of Realtors from various companies that meet once per month who earn in excess of $250,000 – the true top producers in the business.  We discuss market conditions, trends, short sales, foreclosures and many other topics.  The advice given should be taken to heart if you are in the market to buy or sell as this is relevant information in regards to our market.  If you are an agent, feel free to share what we discuss with your clients.

Spring has sprung…inventory levels are up just as we had expected them to be this time of year but what has surprised me is that the level has jumped 13% in just 2 weeks.  Luckily, there are buyers out there looking to own because decent listings are coming on and off the market.  Houses are selling but the properties need be in the right condition and priced right.  Above average condition is selling – low prices are selling – if you have both they are sold, if you only have one or the other you are sitting on the market.  It is imperative now more than ever to understand this scenario.  If you don’t, the house will stay on the market.

Although inventory levels are rising, the good news about our market is that foreclosure and short sale activity have been stable and are making up a lower percentage of the inventory available.  I am not completely sure if we have seen the bottom on this or not – my experience and what will be written about later also indicate we are not completely out of the woods in regards to distressed properties.

In the price range $475,000-650,000, there has been little to no activity in Centreville/Chantilly…first time buyers are buying and the wealthy understand the value of the market – interest rates, property values, etc. so they are buying in upper price points.  The reason for this being a difficult price point is because of lack of move up buyers in the market today.  Many move up buyers over the last 3-4 years have either short sold or got foreclosed on so there is now a void in the market – it may take a few more years for this segment of the market to recover – stay tuned!

Sellers are more willing to do work today – they are watching home improvement shows, are  going on line and look at other properties and how they are presented and making the house show to attract buyers.  Putting the home in model condition is the key.  Decluttering, neutralizing colors, sprucing up the yard, packing up belongings and getting a storage unit are the keys to getting the house in the right condition to sell.  I find it interesting that we spoke about this on more than one occasion this month.

Be careful how you load you photos – some internet sites only pull the first 5 posted on MLS.

Foreclosure releases are slow and have been since November.  Many people are still in the house because they know they can stay in the house and not pay any mortgage or rent and cash for keys is nowhere near the savings of not paying at all.  In reviewing the paper and in particular, the public notice section, more foreclosures are likely to come on the as filing notices are increasing in the paper.  Fannie Mae is sitting on 162,000 properties valued at $15 Billion.  All total with banks, and Freddie included, there is over $1 Trillion inventory.  Obviously, these numbers are national numbers – we are looking into local numbers so stay tuned.

To understand the consequences of short sales and foreclosures, go to www.lindaferrari.com she has all the potential scenarios.  Your credit score may be the least of your worries.

Interest rates are projected to be in the range they are today through the summer which should help us absorb the increase in inventory levels this time of year.

This is valuable, timely and informative which needs to be acted upon and/or shared.  Get it?  Got it?  Good!

Now, go sell something!