I met up with a potential buyer last night at a well-priced listing that is seller owned and completely fixed up inside. She was worried the price was too high, we hadn’t hit bottom yet, things could get worse, etc., etc.
She was not unlike many buyers out there in markets across the country that have already started to show signs of recovery. In Northern Virginia – the bottom was hit months ago. It’s a challenge of Myth vs. Reality.
(See this piece from Mortgage News Daily on foreclosures dropping: http://www.mortgagenewsdaily.com/12112008_realtytrac_foreclosures.asp)
For instance, in Fairfax County (just a few miles from Washington, D.C.), the inventory is down 23% while pending sales are up a whopping 60% over the last 30 days. In addition, average prices have leveled off for months now at pre-2004 levels and starting to rebound.
Buyers are now competing on foreclosures with multiple offers and escalating their offers over list price.
Prices are still thousands higher than they were in 2002 and previous. The good news for homeowners who want to move up is that if they purchased before 2002, more than likely, they can sell for a profit and move up for a lot less than they could have just a couple years ago.
The concept that “My house has lost money” is only important when you’re selling. What the consumer should look at is the purchase price vs. the sales price – not the height of the market value vs. today’s value. If you bought for $275,000 and sell at $375,000 – there’s $100,000 in profit – regardless of the fact that your house swelled in value to $450,000 three years ago. Such a seller has NOT lost $75,000, instead, he’s profited $100,000. In addition, he’ll be moving into a good deal in today’s housing and financing market.