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.