I regularly get asked, "How's the market?" From a Realtor's point of view, it's ALWAYS a good market! It just depends on what YOU want to do – buy, sell or invest? In today's market, it's actually good for all three classes of clients. Sellers are benefiting from increased home prices; buyers are enjoying some of the lowest interest rates on record and a strong housing inventory; and for investors, if you're getting a mortgage, interest rates are low enough that the payments can be covered by your rental income in most cases.
Let me break it down:
Currently, the Northern Virginia market is at about a 3 months' supply. Traditionally, three months constitutes a "normal" market. Normal is good for buyers because it allows them an ample amount of inventory to look over and then the ability to negotiate on price and terms. For the past several years, buyers in the D.C. metro market have been battling each other with escalation clauses and giving up home inspections to win contracts. Now, there is calm in the market which allows buyers to get a more level playing field. Meanwhile, interest rates are under 4% again!
Prices have continued their appreciation this year in most zip codes. In October, median home prices increased beyond last year's prices in Fairfax County by 2.3% (+$10,000). The median price for October stood at $450,000 (for all property types). In Arlington, the median price increased 1.6% to $536,000. In Washington D.C., median sales prices moved up 9.9% to $500,000.
It's all about cash flow for investors. And in today's market with the low interest rates, investors are able to purchase a condo, and including condo fee and taxes, still walk away with a cash flow (disclaimer: it has to be the right price and the right condo fee – call to start your search). If you're able to strike out the high condo fees, the return on investment is even more attractive.
An interesting factor that plays in the D.C. area market is politics and mid-term elections, which have historically placed a temporary damper on the market. This year was no exception. In the two weeks running up to the election pending sales dropped 22% compared to the same two week period last year (a non-election year). In the third week, once all the votes were counted, contract writing increased 6.3% over the same period of time last year. (Source: data from MRIS.com).
The market is in good shape for nearly every type of buyer and seller. Until next time… I'm never too busy for YOUR referrals!
Until next time…