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I can only say – HOW DID IT TAKE SO LONG? One of the best researched articles from the Washington Post on the misleading information that’s found on Zillow<dot>com. Thank you Ken Harney! If

I came up with values with 20% ranges for my sellers, I WOULDN’T HAVE ANY SELLERS! Excuse me, did I just leave the caps button on?? Click Here the article.

I have a plumber in my house fixing a leak that I “thought” I noticed about a week ago. But I let it go. “Naah. It’s not a leak – probably just creekings of a 40-year-old house,” I second thought-ed it. Now – wet floor, carpet and drywall one week later – I realized again – I shouldn’t have waited.

There are plenty of things we shouldn’t wait on. Home maintenance and repair is one of them. Another for real estate professionals is how you treat your business. Work toward the market that’s coming, not in the market you’re in.

We are in a very hot market – low inventory, rising prices, few days on market – sound familiar? The difference this time, though is that there’s no frothing in the market and the appraisers are doing a good job at keeping prices in line. We’re not seeing consistent 10-20% increases in the values.

But – as a professional – work toward the market that’s coming. We know real estate, just like the stock market, runs in cycles. We may be ending this last run-up cycle. For Northern Virginia, we’re still running strong – but that doesn’t mean, keep marketing and working like you’ve been working and marketing the last 10 years.

It’s time to keep your finger on the pulse of pricing even more than before. Watch the inventory closer. Start connecting with your database of relationships consistently and letting them know what’s happening to the market and to their home value.

Note cards, popping by to see folks, and calling them to check in must be a consistent, daily routine for any real estate agent who wants to weather the ups and downs of our industry.

Don’t wait! When you think you should call someone, drop by and see them or send a note – do it!

Here’s my take on the 2016 Presidential Election. Nothing.

Neither candidate would have250433, has had, would have had or ever will have (just trying to get all the tenses in there) an effect on my business plan to help as many investors, purchasers and sellers with their real estate needs as a real estate professional.

Nevertheless- Read the rest of this entry »

You’re going to hear about an amazing surge in pending sales for May 2013 pretty soon, but be still. In the midst of a hot market, there’s always an explanation for why pending sales for pocket markets would escalate by 100+ percentage points. Taking a gander at the table below, you’ll see that several markets in the D.C. area surged ahead of May 2012 in the 100%-plus range.

The final numbers will differ a bit from the info below, but as of the 25th of May, the Alexandria zip code area of Fairfax County, for instance, was up a whopping 140%. In May 2012 there were 127 pending sales, this year for that same time period, buyers nabbed 305 contracts. The same type of surge occurred in Springfield (141%), Falls Church (120%), Fairfax (116%), etc.

While we’re excited about the surge, it’s tempered by looking at the headlines and economic events that were occurring last year at this time. Namely, the NY Times announced, “Jamie Dimon, the bank’s chief executive, announced in May that the bank had lost $2 billion in a bet on credit derivatives…” and subsequent reports put the loss at around $9 billion. (For more info, take a look at this wiki report: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_JPMorgan_Chase_trading_loss). What followed last year was a 1,100 loss on the Dow from April 27 through June 1, 2012, an investigation and resignations of JPMorgan Chase executives.

As goes Wall Street, many times, so goes the real estate buyers’ confidence. This year – the stock market is in all-time record territory, job creation is eeking upward and jobs are really growing in Northern Virginia, resulting in confident buyers with good mortgages, competing for homes.

Meanwhile, other good local news includes: listings are up; prices are up; and days on market are down. Need more information? Call us at Weichert Realtors, McLean VA at (703) 821-8300 if you want to know how the latest news affects your real estate goals.

The data below is compiled from the local MLS, MRIS.com. 

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Wouldn’t you know it – as soon as word get’s out that real estate is picking up, the investors move in. Daily Real Estate News Reports, “More investors are betting on housing’s recovery in the stock market. A U.S. housing recovery is bringing about high returns for investors in the stock market, and prompting more housing-related companies to jump in.” See more about it on Realtor.org.

The D.C. housing market has been a shining light in an otherwise tepid economic picture for the region. Home sales prices are set to finish up for 2012 over 2011 — which will be the fourth year in a row that the region has enjoyed value appreciation.

The chart below is for Northern Virginia home prices, which had a high average price of more than $525,000 for the summer and finished December out with more than $518,000. (The average home price includes all housing types – condo, townhouse and single-family).

The December price is only 8.1% below the highest December price on record, which was set in 2005. The tortoise-speed appreciation over the years is actually a very healthy road to recovery, rather than the sky-rocketing fashioned appreciation of the mid-2000s.

Most home sellers and 

Northern Virginia Average Prices 2012buyers have not even noticed the recovery and many buyers are surprised at the level of activity at open houses these days when they visit on a Sunday. (First opens are drawing dozens of visitors these days, instead of t

he usual trickle in open houses of the past).

 

Home sellers can be assured of good traffic and a strong sale if their home is priced appropriately. Buyers are continually blessed with excellent mortgage interest rates.

Give us a call if you need more information about your particular market. We can be reached at Weichert Realtors/McLean at (703) 821-8300.

Home buyers are out in force in Northern Virginia. So far this month, there’s been a 17.4% increase in the number of contracts written compared to the same period January 2012. Nearly 1,000 buyers have put homes under contract in the counties of Fairfax and Arlington, and cities of Alexandria, Fairfax and Falls Church (the close-in burbs of Washington, D.C., for out-of-town readers).

The D.C. market has continued it’s bullish temperament, since Congress came up with its agreement to avoid the fiscal cliff (at least for now).

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Pending sales are tracking ahead of January 2012 by 16% for Northern Virginia (Fairfax and Arlington Counties, cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church.

Nevertheless, the absorption rate is at spring-like levels, tracking at a 1.64 months supply (meaning that if no more listings were to become active, the current supply of homes would all go under contract in about 7 weeks.)

Job growth in the region, increasing rental rates and low mortgage interest rates are all three creating a perfect storm for the region.

Need help navigating it all? Give us a call at (703) 821-8300 at Weichert Realtors in the McLean/Old Dominion office.

 

 

As we look at the 2009 real estate market recovery in Northern Virginia, there are various indicators to pull out to demonstrate how hot the market has turned here. The first item to watch is the pending sales. (I know many people want to look at pricing, but the problem with watching pricing is you never know where the bottom is until it bounces back up!)

Pending sales let you know buyers believe prices have hit bottom and are starting to jump off the fence. As pending sales (contracts written) pick up speed, the number of closed sales follow suit. Once sales surpass year-over-year percentages, the media starts jumping on board, officially announcing the market has turned.  Well – we saw the turn last fall (nearly a year ago) and all the numbers have been in a positive run since.

Next – I reported that inventory was hitting lows that would result in higher prices. And that’s exactly what happened. In my last issue of Around Town, I shared with you how the average prices have been moving up now for 7 consecutive months– well, that’s now 8 months straight for the whole region. And that brings us to the final indicator of a turning market, and that would be the Days on Market.

As of July 2009, the average days on market (DOM) for houses sold in Northern Virginia has hit the 60-day mark. The significance of 60 days is that it is half the time it took (120 days) to sell a house at the height of the buyers market, which was in January 2008 (see the chart on the flipside of this newsletter).

So what? What does this mean to you? Well – it doesn’t take much to figure out what’s happening here. Prices hit the bottom for buyers, buyers jumped off the fence, inventory dropped, prices are moving upward and now more buyers are jumping in droves, dipping the time on market.

We are selling more and more regular sales these days – non-foreclosure – and that means regular sellers are moving up to the larger, more updated home since they have plenty of first-timers and move-up buyers in line to buy their home for a profit. The market is tightening up!

Make your move now while there is still plenty of higher-priced inventory available.

So where are we headed in our outreach to those around us? Do we still need to advertise in local papers? Should I have a radio program? How about getting on the phone? Email? E-books? Social Media?????

The answer is – integration. It’s not just the next Social Media outlet (Facebook, Twitter, et. al.); and it’s not just the old standby of a newsletter or print ad.

The astute marketer must use all the media to get the word out. We are in transition. While Facebook is the largest social media outlet in the world – still, only a fraction of all the people in your market place are logged on, sitting down to it, and keyboarding into it every day.

Thus – you MUST integrate your outreach. The same message with many outlets. I’m finding the old fashioned 1-page newsletter mailed to my personal sphere is creating more response and money to the bottom line than any other outreach today – pushed by other media – blog, Facebook, web site…

The presentation above demonstrates the transition we’re flowing through right now.

A good example is Britney Spears’ latest back-to-school campaign for her new fashions – she has completely shut out television, cable and traditional web sites from the marketing plan. It’s a use of two tools: video and social media – and a twist in her strategy.

Click through the presentation above for the details.

It’s not about the tools, but your strategy!

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 (http://www.freddiemac.com/pmms/pmms30.htm).

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 www.CRA-GMU.org) 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!

Just remember DON’T MAKE A LOCAL DECISION BASED ON NATIONAL INFORMATION!

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