Thursday, September 10, 2009

Remember 9-11

Hello my friends and co-workers


I just wanted to remind you that tomorrow is the 8th Anniversary of 9/11. It’s been a long and hard battle since then and the memories of that day linger on.


Please join me in remembering the families of those who lost their lives on that tragic day and thank God for the mercy and protection He has shown us these last several years.


God Bless America!


Anthony Carr




Thursday, July 30, 2009

Taking Advantage of the Advantage

Housing markets are turning around all across the country. The way this is measured is first through pending sales and then the following closed sales. By the time the national numbers turned, the recovery had already been happening for months.

Albuquerque is one such city. Prices are still down from last year, but they are now leveling out at around $180,000 (for about 8 months now). The pendings have been increasing for months and now the closed sales are following suit. The same is true for cities such as Las Vegas, Washington DC, Miami, and others.

Are you taking advantage of this advantage as a sales person? Are you getting the word out to your local sphere about what's happening in the local market place?

The recovery has happened, predictably, in two fashions in the favor of buyers.

1 - While prices dipped, buyers could have named their price and received thousands of dollars back from the seller to buy their home.

We had a phrase of -- "what would be the price you just couldn't walk away from" on this house. The buyer would look it over and say -- "Well -- if it was $25,000 less, I would buy it." So that's what we'd offer - and that's what they would get. While the market continued it's slide, buyers got ahead of the drop and "stole" houses all over the country. To the shagrin of banks and owners, the buyers pulled in discounts in the hundreds of thousands. The agents who knew how to forecast that drop, helped buyers save a ton of money and made good incomes through the process.

2 - The cost of money kept dropping and then Uncle Sam started throwing in money to boost morale and buyer interest.

In the home-purchase process, buyers have to buy two huge commodities -- the house - of course, everyone knows that. They keep waiting for the price to drop to the bottom and THEN jump in and buy. But you have to also look at that second product - the money.

The cost of money is measured in the interest rate and the points paid for such interest rates. This year, buyers have picked up money for interest rates as low as 4% - those are rates that my grandparents never saw!

So we have low prices and low interest rates. Did you pick up on that as the sales pro? More importantly - did you get your buyers on board and off the fence?

If you wanted to have predicted the come-back, then a look at sales on a state-by-state level would have been a good place to start. The media looks only at price. A very foolish move. A recovery begins when the buyers return - much sooner than when prices start upward.

On this table from you can see that the hardest hit states (California, Nevada, Arizona, Florida, Virginia) have now had the best quarters (up 100%+ in some markets).

Yea - we hit the bottom alright. Get ready for the bounce.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Local Outlook is All that Matters: Inventory Down, Prices Up

As I’ve been saying for months – the Northern Virginia market is totally in a seller’s market. The only price range not fully recovered is the over $1 million price range. Every other price range from the $100,000 condo to the $700,000 single family is selling like the proverbial hot cake. Fresh off the griddle, and ready for the butter and syrup. And therein lies the problem – or should I say, opportunity.

When it comes to housing data, sales prices, inventory levels, pending sales, etc., it doesn’t matter what’s happening across the country when you’re looking for a house in your locality. All that matters is what’s happening in the market where you want to sell or buy. It doesn’t matter that foreclosures are slated to increase nationwide when they are selling like hotcakes in Fairfax, VA.

The challenge for buyers in Northern Virginia is they have little inventory from which to shop. As a result - the bonus for sellers is that prices are on the rise. Not year over year, mind you, but month to month, they are definitely on an upward ascension.

Since January 2009, the overall average sold price has increased 15%. The average price in January was $376,669. In May the average price tapped at $433,257. (Source: Metropolitan Regional Information Systems, Inc.) Is this a trend? Well, consider this: the last time we had a 4-month, month-over-month increase in sales prices was in 2006. (At that time, by the way, the average price hit $553,618).

Why is this happening?
* Foreclosures rates are dropping in Virginia (Source: George Mason University, Center for Regional Analysis)
* The inventory is beginning to include private-seller owned properties (instead of banks), stopping the price drops and pushing them forward and upward.
* Buyers are taking advantage of the affordable housing prices, the historic interest rates and the First-Time Buyers Tax Credit (up to $8,000) before it expires November 30, 2009. (But there’s talk on Capitol Hill to extend the sunset period.)

So what? What does this mean to you? Buyers get in line. You will be competing for well-priced homes now. We have multiple offers in all price ranges. (The highest I’ve heard told of so far is 23 offers in a weekend).

Sellers, get ready to sell quickly if you are priced competitively and start using home of choice clauses and ready to move into your new home sooner. (The higher up you move in price, the more inventory that’s available). You have the opportunity to move up into your bigger home for a smaller price for the home and a smaller interest rate for the loan.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

What Part of “Bottom of the Market” Do You NOT Understand?

I was looking over the supply of houses on the market this week in Fairfax County, Virginia and it’s really getting dangerously low. Compared to May of 2008, we have 55% fewer homes on the market – and 20% more contracts written on them.

That leaves home buyers with only a 7-week supply of houses and it’s getting smaller. Officially – we’re in a sellers’ market. For pocket markets (townships, subdivisions, etc.) it’s as hot a market as it was in the peek of 2005-2006 – it’s just that the prices are much lower. Ergo – the opportunity. If you’ve ever heard about buy low, sell high – now is the time to buy low.

The same is true across the country. Pending sales are up all over Florida, in Seattle, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, you name it, and buyers are coming off the fence like they were stung by a bumble bee!

For a macro look at how this can benefit you - consider the suburban Washington DC market of Fairfax Countty. If you are sitting in a house purchased in 2000 or earlier, you’re most likely sitting on a lot of equity that could enable you to move up to a larger home with the upgrades you’ve wanted but couldn’t afford.

I know – this sounds like a sales pitch – but frankly – it’s just the simple truth. Sellers and buyers have a unique opportunity to purchase a house at prices that have been backed up several years and at interest rates not seen for decades (currently in the mid-5% range).

In fact - we haven't seen these kind of rates since they've been tracking them at Freddie Mac (

The average price of a 4BR, 2BA house in Springfield, VA, for instance, sold for $235,665 10 years ago. Today, that same house sells at $371,549. While this price is down from the last five recent years, the pricing has leveled and starting to rise in pocket markets throughout Northern Virginia.

And if you’re wondering if the market has turned around consider this – the average days on market for that house in Springfield is down to 18 days. That is not a misprint – NOT 180 Days, but 18 Days – a little over 2 weeks. Many other towns in the area are in the same situation.

So what?

  • Inventory is beginning its dip downward because buyers are coming off the fence, the foreclosure rate in the Northern Virginia area has been cut nearly in half (see and
  • Regular owners have not yet decided to place their homes on the market yet.
  • We are experiencing multiple offers (7 - 10 is not unusual, we've seen upwards to 35)
  • Escalation offers are back - one of my team members lost a bid after escalating $75,000!

Thursday, May 21, 2009


This post is going to be very local in nature - Northern Virginia readers -- we need houses to sell! The market has turned on a dime and sellers are now starting to get their asking price, (or 10s of thousands more -- see Steve's comment on last posting); entertain multiple offers and move up to their next house with very cheap loans.

Are you ready to sell? Who do you know that's ready to sell? Please respond asap so we can catch this upsurge for you, get your home sold and move up to that next great home that you can buy with interest rates that even you grandparents haven't seen! (Lingering today under 5%).

The whole Northern Virginia market is down to a 2.0 months' supply -- that's deep in seller market territory. For price ranges under $500,000 it's even less than 2 months!

Call me today, please! (703) 819-9800. I need the lead!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Home Sellers Market Returns in D.C.

If you’ve been waiting for the Seller’s Market to return – wait no longer! In the first quarter of this year, several towns and counties in Northern Virginia have entered the Seller’s Market territory with less than a 3-month supply of homes available to home shoppers.

Buyers have been leaping off the sidelines for months to snatch up houses that have had a 5-year backup in pricing. For instance, this activity has reduced the standing inventory in Fairfax County down from a 6.54-month supply in March 2008 to a 2.94-month supply today. Here’s how the regional absorption rates look:

Northern Virginia: 3.14 months
Arlington County: 4.33 months
Loudoun County: 3.31 months
Alexandria City: 3.18 months
Fairfax County: 2.94 months
Prince William Co.: 2.03 months

Prices are starting to move up, however. Homes in the lower end are beginning to sell at or above the asking price. Meanwhile, average sales prices are selling at 96% of asking prices. As the market tightens, those price increases will start creeping up higher end homes as well.

So what? What does that mean to you? If you or anyone in your family is a first time buyer – get off the fence! The federal government is offering an $8,000 tax credit (with no pay back required!). Prices are still very affordable. And there is also $0 down payment financing available for first-time buyers as well – coupled with the $8,000 tax credit. The credit is available on homes settled by December 1, 2009.

If you’re a move-up buyer - now may be the time to make that move up before prices start escalating out of control. If you bought before 2003, you most likely have the equity necessary to make that move up while the time is right – prices are lower than in 6 years; interest rates are lingering in the 5% range (even in the 4%'s with points!); and there’s inventory still available.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Northern Virginia Real Estate Market As of March 16, 2009

Today, the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors sold market is up 10.26% year-to-date.

Today, the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors pending sales market is up 21.09% year-to-date.

Today, the Fairfax County sold market is up 40% year-to-date.

Today, the Fairfax County pending sales market is up 30.96% year-to-date.

AGENTS - have you told anyone?

BUYERS - have you gotten off the fence?

SELLERS - are you ready to move up before prices do?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


I wanted to take a moment and encourage you to Punch Through what’s happening in your business right now. Operate on what you KNOW instead of what you FEAR!

Fear paralyzes.
Fear creates hesitation.
Fear transforms your confidence into doubt.

Knowledge is power!
Knowledge strengthens your resolve!
Knowledge beats down fear every time!

Our clients want someone with confidence to show the strength in the market and help them defeat the fear they have of buying or selling a home in today’s market.

They have a suspicion that the market is different in Northern Virginia – but they don’t KNOW it – You Do!

Once you Punch Through – amazing things happen. The picture in this email is of a jet at the precise moment that it breaks the sound barrier. I’d like you to see the sound barrier broken in real time. Click the link below for a 30 second video on a jet doing exactly that.

PUNCH THROUGH self doubt
PUNCH THROUGH challenging contracts
PUNCH THROUGH those questions in your mind about how good you are!

Because you are GOOD!
Because you are the BEST TRAINED!
Because you KNOW this is the BEST time for the market in years!


Tuesday, March 03, 2009

DC market rated #1 by Forbes

Finally -- it's not just me. Forbes magazine is letting its readers know that the DC market is on the upswing. Take a look at the link above for the Top 10 as rated by

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Just Leave Well Enough Alone

Yes, I understand we're in the worst foreclosure real estate market on record; and that a lot of people did a lot of bad things; and that we're probably only half way through getting through this real estate debacle. However -- I just ask that the feds be careful how much they need to push along the recovery in the marketplace -- it's already happening.

On the street, we watch inventory, pending sales and pricing to determine if a market is about to turn around either upward or downward. We could track it in 2006 when it started halting and now it's tracking upward.

Ahh- you say, the prices are still down. Yep. Because that's just the final piece of the equation. Prices are down across the country, and they will probably remain soft until the inventory starts shrinking - which is what's starting to happen.

Consider these sales and pending sales numbers across the country:
  • San Jose, CA: Sales up 51% in January 2009
  • California: 2008 sales up 26% over 2007
  • Northern Virginia (Metropolitan Washington DC): Pending Sales +41%;
  • Manassas, VA: pending sales +50%
  • Florida: January sales +13%
Market after market, sales are starting their predictable climb upward after prices have dropped by as high as 50% in some areas. Whether we like it or not, feel good about it or not, has no bearing on whether or not the markets are starting to turn around. They are.
(The charts here show Northern Virginia sales price drops that correlate with the number of sales increaseing through 2008.)
In these same markets, agents are starting to report multiple offers on bank-owned properties that need a lot more than just paint and carpet. In my office this week, my team is starting to report that while buyers have finally gotten off the fence, now there's no inventory and what's left is selling for $25,000 to $40,000 more than asking price in a shower of multiple offers.

No - this is NOT 2004. It's now 2009 and we're about to repeat the whole cycle of the last run up. Why? Simple -- supply and demand, mortgage money available and willing/able buyers ready to pick up good deals who have been saving their money for three years for prices to hit the low they've been waiting for. Well, it's hit it and they have pulled out their check books to start the bidding.

It will continue upward as well and here's why.
  1. Lack of inventory. The resale inventory has been primarily been made up of foreclosures and the federal programs to rehash old mortgages and stop the foreclosure cycle will create a drain on the need of inventory. Seller-owned properties are scarece because sellers who are okay financially are upside down on their mortgages and must wait till prices return to their previous levels before they can even consider selling.

  2. Prices have hit the psychological low. When you've been dealing in prices around a half million dollars for years, a house priced at $300,000 sounds like a real deal. Buyers are diving in with a vengeance and bidding up; again, removing the safeguards of home inspections, home warranties, and appraisals (if they have enough cash).

  3. Small new home inventory: New home builders pulled out of the market and must now ramp up again to build the product buyers want. This will take years to get going. They just can't start building, they have to get the infrastructure planned, permited and approved before they can turn the first shovel of dirt - this takes time.

  4. Job growth. As go jobs, so goes the housing market. Several job markets have continued churning out employment even through this latest downturn. Washington, D.C.; Boston; Dallas/Ft. Worth; Houston have added, rather than shed new jobs over the last 18 months. Meanwhile, the surge of the stimulus packages (whether you like the package or not, the attention on the urban infrastructure is a good and needed thing - that will create labor jobs) these jobs will create the need for housing in those markets. States are already applying for and spending the stimulus millions.
Economic growth creates jobs; houses are where the jobs go at night. Meanwhile, the prices have hit the bottom in many areas and already started the surge of buyers jumping off the fence. The inventory is shrinking, the next item to tip will be prices.
Anthony Carr is an award winning sales coach and managing broker in Northern Virginia. He's tracked and written about the real estate market since 1989. His blog He's the author of two books and contributor to Donald Trump's The Best Real Estate Advice I Ever Received.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Obama Housing Plan

I thought you would like to know this information about how the Stimulus Package will affect housing in our area. Frankly, it will tighten up an already tightening market in Northern Virginia. We have been experiencing low inventory and rising prices for the last 6 months west of the Potomac and see no end in sight. Sales are up more than 25% in Fairfax County (and nearly 100% in Prince William County) compared to a year ago. Nevertheless – the market is hot and the incentives below may create an even hotter sellers market as we move forward in 2009.

  • First-time buyers are back in the game (with 0% down financing and payments less than rent);
  • There’s now an $8,000 tax credit (with no payment back required!) for first timers;
  • Parents are helping kids purchase their first home;
  • Investors are picking up properties that create cash flow…

The challenge for many markets across the country where inventory is already starting to shrink and pending sales sour is whether the market will overheat once again.

Meanwhile, below you can see an overview of how the stimulus package will help homeowners stay in their homes

From the Weichert Insights newsletter:

"As you may know, President Obama presented a new plan this week to prevent foreclosures and stabilize the housing market. The Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan will be funded with money from the $700 billion financial industry bailout passed by Congress in the fall.

"The plan was designed to help up to 9 million families avoid foreclosure by restructuring or refinancing their mortgages. While it may seem that the main benefactors of the initiative are homeowners at risk of defaulting on their mortgage, we will all benefit. Defaults and foreclosures result in lower home values, lost jobs and economic troubles for local communities.

"The main components of the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan are to:

Provide incentives for mortgage lenders and servicers to modify loans in a way that would reduce monthly mortgage payments to sustainable levels and aid up to 4 million homeowners struggling to make their payments.

Allow Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to refinance mortgages they own or guarantee, even when more is owed on the home than what it is worth. By removing restrictions on the government-sponsored enterprises, monthly payments could become more affordable for up to 5 million homeowners.

Keep mortgage rates low for all buyers by doubling support for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which were taken over by the government last year.

Said National Association of Realtors President Charles McMillan, "The administration's proposed plan, combined with provisions like the $8,000 first-time buyer tax credit in the just-enacted American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, will help minimize foreclosures, shrink housing inventory, stabilize home values and move the country closer to an economic recovery."

For a printable version of this message, click here.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Market is Up - Inventory WAY Down - Prices Holding Steady - Rates Down

2008 was the Year of Recovery in Northern Virginia and it will continue in 2009, but this time, with a vengeance! Northern Virginia continues to outperform the region, the state and the nation. Buyers face low inventory, competing with multiple buyers and even paying at or higher than asking price. If the market is divided by price ranges, there’s the Hot Market and the Not Market, thus, property condition is as much a factor as price.

Properties priced under $400,000 are snapped up by first time buyers, move-up sellers, and investors. Between $400,000 and $600,000, the houses are still selling that are priced right and in good condition – usually to first time buyers with plenty of cash and some move-up sellers. Above that range and it’s a tougher market. Many homes are priced right, but there are just no takers. The question of “how low can you go?” keeps being asked of sellers.

Inventory in Northern Virginia (from the border of Washington, DC, to western Fairfax County) is down 26% over the same period last year. Combine that with Pending Sales up 27% and you have buyers battling each other for the well-priced houses in good shape. Enter the all-powerful Interest Rate to home prices that have dropped over the last three months and you have a perfect storm for the advent of a Sellers Market.

Power of Interest Rates
Many times, consumers miss the importance of the interest rate. As of this writing – you can buy a home (or refinance) for 4.875%. These are rates that our grandparents haven’t even seen! What this means is thousands of dollars of savings per year on the mortgage today, compared to just a few months ago. When rates were around 7% mid-year in 2008, a mortgage of $350,000 would have run $2328. Now, it would be $1,852. This gives a buyer two choices – buy the same house for a smaller payment or move up the price range by almost $100,000. Fixed rates are tracking even LOWER than adjustable rate mortgages.

So what? Inventory is slipping – we need more houses on the market to meet today’s demand. Buyers are competing again for houses that look good and priced right. Consider two choices – 1) make the move up (or down) now, while prices are stable and interest rates are low; 2) invest at a time when the rent will cover the monthly payment.
While the local papers and television stations report on a dropping market nationwide, it’s not the case for the real estate market surrounding the White House. The market continues to respond to the job growth adjacent to the nation’s capital (+28,000 new jobs in the DC area in 2008 over 2007).