2021 Fall Foliage Prediction Map

With only a few weeks of summer left, it’s time to start planning your leaf-peeping for the year! If you are a fan of fall like we are, you’ll be excited to know that SmokyMountains.com has released it’s annual interactive fall foliage prediction map!

“The 2021 Fall Foliage Map is the ultimate visual planning guide to the annual progressive changing of the leaves. While no tool can be 100% accurate, this tool is meant to help travelers better time their trips to have the best opportunity of catching peak color each year.”

And there is something new this year. According to TravelandLeisure.com, Smokymountains.com will publish a mid-season update to their prediction map for those areas that are known to peak later. This update will be live sometime in mid-September.

According to the Virginia Department of Forestry, Virginia generally peaks between October 10th and 31st but can vary year to year based on things like temperatures, rain, wind, etc. As seen on the map below, the week of October 18th is predicted to be peak for much of Virginia this year.

SmokyMountains.com also has a complete list of the top places to leaf-peep in all 50 states. Some spots noted for Virginia include:

Shenandoah National Park

Whitetop Mountain

Potomac Heritage Trail

And…head over to the Virginia.org’s travel blog to see many more options for leaf viewing throughout the state!

Some fun facts about autumn leaves:

  1. Why do leaves change their color? Both chlorophyll and carotenoids are present in the chloroplasts of leaf cells throughout the growing season. During this time, chlorophyll is produced and broken down, and leaves appear green. As days get shorter, chlorophyll production slows down until it stops. The green color is no longer visible, and other pigments present (carotenoids) with the chlorophyll are then revealed. During autumn, bright light and excess plant sugars produce anthocyanins within leaf cells.
  2. Why do leaves fall? In order to cope with the harsh winter temperatures, trees slowly close off the veins that carry water and nutrients to and from the leaves with a layer of new cells that form at the base of the leaf stem, protecting the limbs and body of the tree. Once this process is done, water and nutrients no longer flow to and from the leaf enabling the leaf to die and weaken at the stem, eventually falling gracefully to the ground.
  3. What happens to fallen leaves? When leaves fall to the ground, they begin to break down and eventually create a rich humus on the forest floor that absorbs dew and rainfall. This nutrient rich ‘sponge’ acts as a continual source of nutrients and water for trees and plants, helping to promote life and plant health in the next spring season.

Additional resources:

So get your calendars out and start planning this year’s fall foliage trip! And let us know your favorite place to view the autumn colors!

Sources: SmokyMountains.com; VA Department of Forestry; TravelandLeisure.com; Virginia.org

Why 2021 Is Still the Year To Sell Your House

If you’re trying to decide whether or not to sell your house, this is the time to think seriously about making a move. Fannie Mae’s recent Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI) reveals the number of respondents who say it’s a good time to sell is higher now than it was over the past few summers (see graph below). Today, the majority of consumers, 75 percent, say it’s a good time to sell a house.

Why 2021 Is Still the Year To Sell Your House | MyKCM

Why is sellers sentiment up year-over-year?

The higher good time to sell sentiment has to do with today’s market conditions, specifically low housing supply and high buyer demand. In the simplest terms, we don’t have enough houses available for sale to meet buyer demand.

According to the latest data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), we’re still firmly in a sellers’ market because housing supply is well below a balanced norm (shown in the graph below). 

Why 2021 Is Still the Year To Sell Your House | MyKCM

Clearly, the scales are tipped in a seller’s favor today. But while housing supply is undeniably low, the right side of the graph shows how the inventory situation is improving little by little each month as more sellers list their homes for sale.

As a seller, that means each month, buyers have more options to pick from. By extension, that means your house may get less buyer attention with time. Danielle Hale, Chief Economist for realtor.com, explains it like this:

More homeowners continue to list homes for sale compared to a year ago… Notably, while new listings continue to lag behind a more ‘normal’ 2019 pace, the gap is shrinking. Even though homes continue to sell quickly thanks to high demand and limited supply, new listings are subtly shifting the balance of market conditions in favor of buyers.” 

So, what’s that mean for you?

If you’ve been waiting for the perfect time to sell, there may not be a better chance than right now. Inventory is gradually increasing each month, so selling sooner rather than later will help you maximize your home’s potential. The unique mix of low supply and high demand won’t last forever.

Reach out if you want to discuss what you need to do now to sell your house and take advantage of this sellers’ market. 703-242-3975 | Info@TheBeltTeam.com | Contact Us

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10114 Sassafras Woods Ct – Just Listed by The Belt Team!

Price, features and more photos: 10114 Sassafras Woods Ct, Burke VA 22015!
Welcome to this lovely updated walkout end unit townhome that backs to trees in sought after Burke Centre! This 3 bedroom/2.5 bath home has a newly renovated kitchen with granite counters, stainless steel refrigerator, range/oven, microwave and dishwasher. New primary and secondary baths, updated flooring and freshly painted. Owner has also replaced the roof and windows! There is a deck off of the living/dining room that looks out over the private natural setting. This unit also comes with 2 assigned parking spaces. Enjoy all the wonderful Burke Centre amenities including walking trails, outdoor swimming pool, tennis courts, community center…and close to shopping centers, restaurants and so much more! Many convenient commuter options available – Burke Centre VRE (less than 2 miles away), Fairfax County Parkway, Burke Lake Road and Roberts Parkway. Don’t miss this great opportunity to live in popular Burke Centre!
Call Terry Belt & The Belt Team for more details or to schedule a showing! 703-242-3975

Call The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975 if you are thinking of buying or selling. The Belt Team has been in business for over 54 years and would love to help make your real estate dreams come true! 

Free Instant Online Home Valuation – What Is My Home Worth?

Real Estate: It’s Still a Lack of Supply, Not a Lack of Demand

One of the major questions real estate experts are asking today is whether prospective homebuyers still believe purchasing a home makes sense. Some claim rapidly rising home prices are impacting demand and, by extension, leading to the recent slowdown in sales activity.

However, demand isn’t the real issue. Instead, it’s the lack of supply (homes available for sale). An article from the Wall Street Journal shows this is true for new home construction:

Home builders have sold more homes than they can build. Now they are limiting their sales in an effort to catch up.”

The article quotes David Auld, CEO of D.R. Horton Inc. (the largest homebuilder by volume in the United States since 2002), explaining how they don’t have enough homes for the number of buyers coming into their models:

“Through our history, to have somebody walk into our models and to tell them, ‘We don’t have a house for you to buy today’, is something that is foreign to us.”

Danielle Hale, Chief Economist for realtor.com, also explains that, in the existing home sale market, the slowdown in sales was a supply challenge, not a lack of demand. Responding to a recent uptick in listings coming to market, she notes:

“. . . if these changing inventory dynamics continue, we could see a wave of real estate activity heading into the latter part of the year.” 

Again, the buyers are there. We just need houses to sell to them.

If the slowdown in sales was the result of demand waning, we would start to see home prices beginning to moderate – but this isn’t the case. As Mark Fleming, Chief Economist for First Americanexplains:

“There’s a lot of conversation around rising prices and falling quantity in the housing market, and there’s this concept, or this idea, that it’s a demand-side problem . . . . But, if demand were falling dramatically, we would actually see less price pressure, less home price growth.”

Instead, we’re seeing price appreciation accelerate throughout this year, as evidenced by the year-over-year percentage increases reported by CoreLogic:

  • January: 10%
  • February: 10.4%
  • March: 11.3%
  • April: 13%
  • May: 15.4%
  • June: 17.2%

(July numbers are not yet available)

There’s a shortage of listings, not buyers, and there are three very good reasons for purchasers to still be interested in buying a home this year.

1. Affordability isn’t the challenge some are claiming it to be.

Though home prices have risen dramatically over the last 18 months, mortgage rates remain near historic lows. Because of these near-record rates, monthly mortgage payments are affordable for most buyers.

While homes are less affordable than they were last year, when we adjust for inflation, we can see they’re also more affordable than they were in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and much of the 2000s.

2. Owning is a better long-term decision than renting.

Real Estate: It’s Still a Lack of Supply, Not a Lack of Demand | MyKCM

recent study shows renting a home takes up a higher percentage of a household’s income than owning one. According to the analysis, here’s the percentage of income homebuyers and renters should expect to pay now versus at the end of the year.While the principal and interest of a monthly mortgage payment remain the same over the lifetime of the loan, rents increase almost every year.

3. Owners build their wealth. Renters build their landlord’s wealth.

Whether you’re a homeowner or an investor, real estate builds wealth through growing equity year-over-year. If you own, your household is gaining the benefit of that wealth accumulation. Fleming says:

The major financial advantage of homeownership is the accumulation of equity in the form of house price appreciation . . . . We have to take into account the fact that the shelter that you’re owning is an equity-generating or wealth-generating asset.”

Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American, elaborates in a recent article:

“. . . once the home is purchased, appreciation helps build equity in the home, and becomes a benefit rather than a cost. When accounting for the appreciation benefit in our rent versus own analysis, it was cheaper to own in every one of the top 50 markets, including the two most expensive rental markets, San Francisco and San Jose, Calif.”

Today, that equity buildup is substantial. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports:

“The median sales price of single-family existing homes rose in 99% of measured metro areas in the second quarter of 2021 compared to one year ago, with double-digit price gains in 94% of markets.”

In 94% of markets, there was a greater than 10% increase in median price. That means if you bought a $400,000 home in one of those markets, your net worth increased by at least $40,000. If you rented, the landlord was the recipient of the wealth increase.

Bottom Line

For many reasons, housing demand is still extremely strong. What we need is more supply (house listings) to meet that demand.

Are you thinking of selling? Please reach out to speak to one of our experienced agents to develop a plan that best fits your situation. 703-242-3975 | Info@TheBeltTeam.com | Contact Us

Wondering what your home is worth? Click below to get a FREE/INSTANT Home Valuation!

Home Sale Statistics in Northern Virginia – July 2021

The Northern Virginia market didn’t look much different in July vs June but what about compared to July of last year? Listen to Terry answer that plus another common question we get…is August/end of summer a good time to sell? Hint: his answer is different this year. Watch to find out why!

Here is a summery of the Northern Virginia market for July 2021. Then be sure to click the links at the bottom of the post for the July market stats for some hyper local areas.

Northern Virginia July 2021 home sales:

4,099 homes went under contract in the region. This is down 6% from the same time period in 2020.

70% of the homes that went to settlement in July 2021, sold in 10 days or less from when they hit the market.

• Average sold price was $662,192 (up 7% from the same time period in 2020).

5,026 homes came on the market. That’s down 4% from July 2020.

• Homes that sold (closed) averaged 12 days on market 7 days faster than in July of 2020.

• There is currently a 0.9 month supply of homes (remember, in a balanced market – the demand from buyers equals the supply from sellers – there is a 5-6 months supply) in the Northern Virginia – and 3,693 homes for sale (townhouse, condo and single-family).

OVERALL: Northern Virginia remained an aggressive Seller’s Market. As with last month, we didn’t see a significant change in the monthly numbers from June to July, but we did see some slowing in the year-over-year numbers.

It is still so critical to work with an experienced agent whether you are buying or selling.  So, if you are thinking of buying or selling, contact us NOW (703-242-3975).

To see what the conditions are like in your community, click on the link to your desired city below! 

Vienna: July 2021 Home Sales

Oakton: July 2021 Home Sales 

McLean: July 2021 Home Sales 

Great Falls: July 2021 Home Sales 

Reston: July 2021 Home Sales 

Falls Church: July 2021 Home Sales 

Arlington: July 2021 Home Sales

Alexandria: July 2021 Home Sales  

*Data compiled from SmartCharts, MarketStats by ShowingTime, whose data comes directly from the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

Want to know what your home is worth? Click below to get our free instant home valuation!

The Best Use of Time (and Money) When It Comes to Renovations

The Best Use of Time (and Money) When It Comes to Renovations | MyKCM

In the current sellers’ market, many homeowners wonder what, if anything, needs to be remodeled before they list their house. That’s where a trusted real estate professional comes in. They can help you think through today’s market conditions and how they impact what you should – and shouldn’t – renovate before selling.

Here are some considerations a professional will guide you through:

1. With current supply challenges, buyers may be willing to take on projects of their own. 

A more balanced market typically sees a 6-month supply of homes for sale. Above that, and we’re in a buyers’ market. Below that, and we’re in a sellers’ market. According to a recent report by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), our current supply of homes for sale, while rising, still remains solidly in sellers’ market territory:

So, what’s that mean for you? If you’re a seller trying to decide whether or not to renovate, this is especially important because it’s indicative of buyer behavior. When there aren’t enough homes for sale, buyers may be more willing to purchase a home that doesn’t meet all their needs and renovate it themselves later. 

2. Not all renovation projects are equal.

You don’t want to spend time and money on a project that isn’t worth the cost or is too niche design-wise for some homebuyers. According to an article by Renofi.com, basing home updates on what’s trendy right now can be a costly mistake:

The last thing you as a homeowner want to do is center your home design around a passing fad – even worse, one thats design quality won’t last a good while.”

Before making any decisions, talk to your real estate advisor. They have insight into what other sellers are doing before listing their homes and how buyers are reacting to those upgrades. Don’t spend the time and money to be trendy – if your buyer wants to upgrade to the newest fad later, they can.

3. If you’ve already made upgrades this past year, your agent can help spotlight them.

If you have already completed some renovations on your house, you’re not alone. The pandemic kept people at home last year, and during that time, many homeowners completed some home improvement projects. HomeAdvisor’s 2021 State of Home Spending Report found:

“35% of households that completed an improvement project undertook some type of interior painting, while 31% completed a bathroom remodel and 26% installed new flooring.”

Let your real estate professional know if you fall in this category. They can highlight any recent upgrades you’ve made in your house’s listing.

Bottom Line

When it comes to renovations, your return-on-investment should be top of mind. Let’s connect today to talk through any upgrades you’ve already made and to find out what you should prioritize before you sell to maximize your house’s potential. 703-242-3975 | Info@TheBeltTeam.com | Contact Us

Tip Tuesday…How to keep your house cool in this heat!

With many areas experiencing record high temperatures this week, people are looking for ways to keep their home cool. Here are some tips from our friends at John Nugent & Sons on how to keep the COOL IN and the HEAT OUT!

  1. Check for leaks in doors and windows.
  2. Change/clean air filters every month…more frequently if you have pets.
  3. Close curtains to block the sun’s rays during the heat of the day.
  4. Make good use of ceiling fans.
  5. Close air vents in unused rooms.
  6. Consider purchasing a programmable thermostat.
  7. And…remember to schedule regular maintenance and safety checks for your home’s HVAC systems!

Thanks to John Nugent & Sons for the great tips!!