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So what is an absorption rate??

When I’m looking at a market to see if it’s leaning toward buyers, sellers — or neither — I look to the absorption rate. This means how long would it take to deplete the inventory at the rate that homes have gone under contract in the last 30 days. (Huh?) Read the rest of this entry »

The fall of every year has become the “buyers market” season of every real estate year in the past few. While inventory may still be tight in some of our markets in the DC area (the DMV), many purchasers have hibernated, thinking that if they wait till the spring, they’ll be able to have better luck at finding what they want.

Such thinking could cost you a brick of cash. Because = there’s another key component you overlook if you’re just keeping track of inventory as an indicator of when you should buy. It’s the interest rates. It could cost you thousands of dollars per year to wait when you consider where they are right now and what could happen by the spring of 2018.

Here are some simple calculations – if you’re buying a $500,000 house with 5% down at an interest rate of 3.5%, the payment is roughly $2,641 in Fairfax County, VA… When that rate moves up a percent to 4.5%, your cost goes to $2,915. Same house, same taxes – $3288 MORE per year…$16,444 over the next 5 years — more than $30K in 10 years.

Waiting could cost you. The smart buyer stops waiting and get’s in the game! Got a question or need professional help? Contact me here: pmms_chart8.17

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!

If you really want to know how a real estate market is going, look at the absorption rate. The absorption rate measures how long it takes to absorb the inventory of homes at the rate houses are going under contract. I.e., if there are 100 homes and 50 go pending in the last 30 days, then that reflects a 2-months supply (100/50=2).

Sellers marketsSlide1 are under 3 months; normal are between 4-5 and anything over 6 is considered a buyers market. The DC market is pretty much a seller market all around. I measure the DC and Northern Virginia counties surrounding DC.

For more graphics, click this link to the Facebook page.

The latest headlines from the national media have caused a little confusion in the marketplace. Of course, the headline doesn’t tell the whole story (see this one for 2017ytdjanpendingsnvaexample: And keep in mind…


In the DC market, the pendings are NOT down. In fact, year to date in Northern Virginia – pending sales are up for the year +15.8%) , for January (+18.3%) and MTD for February (+14%), according to data from the local multiple listing service.
It’s a strong market in N. Virginia even though the inventory has shrunk since last year, sellers are finding multiple offers in some cases, and buyers have continued enjoying affordable interest rates.


Home shoppers purchase two products when they buy a house – the property itself and a mortgage. The difference between the two is the house price is advertised in living color online, on postcards, in QR codes, etc. The loan pricing, however, is a little less dramatic.

The house listed in today’s market in Northern Virginia, while listed at $500,000, may actually sell for $515,000 or there abouts. The mortgage price, on the other hand, is measured in interest rates.

How will it effect your buying power? Take a look at the chart below and you can actually measure the power of your  monthly payment by watching rates move up and down. About a month ago, rates were around 3.5% – now they are roughly a full percentage point ahead of that mark (yes – 4.5%).

What’s the phrase? You snooze you… Oh well – 4% rates are STILL REALLY GOOD RATES. Give us a call if we can help you talk with a loan professional or see how these moves in the market affect your buying power. (703) 821-8300.

What can you buy for $2,000 per month?

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: 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, 

Slide1 Slide2

While the Washington, D.C. market has tightened into a sellers market, you may find a good deal in your favorite vacation destination as investors have started moving to second-home buying. Meanwhile, average prices in the D.C. area keep moving up, up, up!

The National Association of Realtors 2013 Investment and Vacation Home Buyer Survey “shows vacation-home sales rose 10.1 percent to 553,000 from 502,000 in 2011.  Investment-home sales declined 2.1 percent to 1.21 million from 1.23 million in 2011, but those sales had been well under a million during the market downturn.  Owner-occupied purchases jumped 17.4 percent to 3.27 million last year from 2.79 million in 2011,” according to

The survey revealed that “11 percent of vacation buyers and 16 percent of investment buyers purchased the property for a family member, friend or relative to use, often for a son or daughter to use while attending school.”

A good number of investors and vacation home buyers also used their cash to invest: “half of investment buyers paid cash in 2012, as did 46 percent of vacation-home buyers.  Forty-seven percent of investment homes purchased in 2012 were distressed homes, as were 35 percent of vacation homes.”

Cash is still a popular means of purchasing even in the higher-end market of Northern Virginia. Buyers in Fairfax County in February 2013 paid all cash 13% of the time in February 2013 according to (the regional multiple listing service for the DC region.)

The median price of a home in Fairfax County was $420,000 in February – up more than 15% year over year. For a complete report for February 2013 sales, click here.

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




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