Ready, Set, Go . . . 2011 Has Begun!

We’ll be doing a year-end wrap-up for the Vienna-Oakton area later this week. It’s a good way to get some perspective on what has happened in our local market versus what happened around the country. Thankfully, our local market seems to be much healthier than the rest of the U.S.! In the meantime, 2011 has begun with a bang!

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The Belt Team ratified contracts on two of our listings over the holiday weekend. SOLD! Congrats to our Sellers! And we also caught up with a few of our Belt Team Realtors to see what their “crystal balls” show for 2011. Here’s what they had to say:

Terry Belt, CEO of The Belt Team commented, “Remember that real estate is local and as it relates to our local market, home buyers arrived at the closing table in larger numbers than last year as  the Northern Virginia/DC/MD region continued to enjoy increases in homes sales from year ago levels. Listing activity remains stable – a combination that has kept inventory under stiff pressure. The outcome is a robust market with promise for 2011. The biggest wild card that could damper the prospects for a strong market for the entire year would be a severe spike in mortgage interest rates. I recommend that Buyers and Sellers strike while the iron is hot, especially in the close-in areas The Belt Team serves of Fairfax and Arlington counties where the market conditions continue to improve with strong demand.

Susan Hussey predicts that “2011 will continue to show an improving Northern VA housing market overall with more activity and price improvements in the upper brackets than we saw in 2010.  I believe the market will continue to be balanced between buyers and sellers.

If you only follow the national news, you might be surprised to hear that as Susan references, last week we saw a 3-6 month housing supply in the Vienna – Oakton area. This means that despite what you hear in the national news (that many markets are still in a Buyers Market), the Vienna – Oakton market is very balanced between Buyers and Sellers.

Mary Jane Perry offers this prognostication & advice for Buyers: “I think interest rates are finally going to rise. We saw some incredible interest rates in 2010 (as low as 4%) – not only for first-time homebuyers, but also in the Jumbo Loan markets.  It won’t stay that low forever. I see it perhaps coming up to 5-6%. If it was me, I would not continue to wait on interest rates before naking a buying decision!

Mary Jane added, “And for all my sellers sitting on the fence, you may not like this next prediction:  I do not see sales prices going up. I believe prices will remain flat, close to our current 2010 prices. Buyers are technically savvy and feel they can determine for themselves the “current market value” of a home, and therefore, won’t pay more than they have to. Buyers will continue to put pressure on home prices.

 

Gail Belt, Founding Partner of The Belt Team, provides a different take on 2011: “I am cautiously optimistic that the 2011 market will continue the improvement we saw in 2010. We will know more in the 1st quarter, once we see what the new Congress implements based on the “message” the country sent in last November’s elections. The key ingredients are “returning buyers” and” realistic sellers”—that combination will result in healthy sales.

And as always, the market is cyclical. Kevin Kleifges reinforces this with his comment: “I predict a slow beginning in January with a gradual uptick in real estate activity starting in mid February and continuing through the late spring into the early part of summer.” We see this hold true year after year. And so if you are thinking of selling this Spring – NOW is the time to prepare. In fact – NOW may be the time to go on the market. You’ll have a LOT less competition!

If you’re thinking of buying or selling a home in Northern Virginia in 2011, please don’t hesitate to give any of us a call. We are more than happy to share our expertise with you – to walk you through the process – help you get pre-qualified for a loan – consult with you on what things need doing before your home goes on the market (or even on what things don’t!).

CALL THE BELT TEAM AT (703) 242-3975 or Contact The Belt Team here.

BELT – Bringing Expertise, Loyalty and Trust to Real Estate

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