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.