Homebuyers Are Going on a Shopping Spree This Winter

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are over, which means some shoppers have wrapped up their holiday buying. But there’s still a group of buyers that are very active this holiday season – homebuyers.

Experts anticipate the real estate market will see a flurry of activity this winter, and that’s great news for today’s sellers. If you’re planning on listing your home, there’s no need to wait until the spring for better conditions – today’s real estate market is already heating up.

Buyers Have Warmed Up to the Idea of Purchasing This Winter

The past 18 months brought about significant lifestyle changes for many of us, including the rise in remote work, job changes, and even early retirement for some. For many people, it’s prompting a search for their next home now rather than waiting for warmer months.

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), points out how this winter may see a significant number of sales:

“Compared to other past winter seasons, this winter season’s sales activity will be stronger. . . . This winter, there will be more sales compared to pre-pandemic winters going back all the way to 2006.”

You might be wondering: what does strong sales activity mean for you? It means there are likely to be more buyers active in the market this winter – far more than more normal, pre-pandemic years.

In the same article, Danielle Hale, Chief Economist for realtor.com, puts it in these simple terms:

Sellers can expect to see plenty of buyers.”

The more buyers there are in the market, the more likely it is your home will get noticed. That can lead to a multiple-offer scenario or a potential bidding war. Receiving multiple offers on your home means you can select the right offer and terms for your situation – so you can truly win as a seller when you list your house this winter. 

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about selling your house, you don’t need to wait until the spring. Buyers are ready now. Contact The Belt Team to discuss why selling this holiday season could be the gift that keeps on giving!

703-242-3975 | Info@TheBeltTeam.com | Contact Us

Home Sale Statistics in Northern Virginia – November 2021

While the housing numbers were down a bit in November (not a surprise heading into the holidays), those who did put their homes on the market still experienced a strong sellers market…their homes sold quickly, and in some cases, they received multiple contracts and sold over list price. What does this mean as we head into 2022? Terry Belt, CEO of The Belt Team, gives his thoughts on what to expect.

The November 2021 market stats for Northern Virginia are below.  Be sure to also click the links at the end of the page to get more information on some hyper local NOVA communities.

Northern Virginia November 2021 home sales:

3,176 homes went under contract in the region. This is down 2.8% from the same time period in 2020.

50% of the homes that went to settlement in November 2021, sold in 10 days or less from when they hit the market.

• Average sold price was $643,536 (up 5.3% from the same time period in 2020).

2,580 homes came on the market. That’s down 19% from November 2020.

• Homes that sold (closed) averaged 21 days on market, 5 days slower than November 2020.

• There is currently a 0.6 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 2,334 homes for sale (townhouse, condo and single-family).

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: November 2021 Home Sales

Oakton: November 2021 Home Sales 

McLean: November 2021 Home Sales 

Great Falls: November 2021 Home Sales 

Reston: November 2021 Home Sales 

Falls Church: November 2021 Home Sales 

Arlington: November 2021 Home Sales

Alexandria: November 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!

Light Up Vienna Is On!

Vienna Virginia’s annual Light Up Vienna Holiday Decorating Contest has started!

Load up the car and visit this year’s participants, and don’t forget to vote for your favorite (voting open until Dec 16…vote here)!

For more information visit ViennaVa.Gov/contest and have fun!

Let us know which ones get your vote!

Why It Just Became Much Easier To Buy a Home

Since the pandemic began, Americans have reevaluated the meaning of the word home. That’s led some renters to realize the many benefits of homeownership, including the feelings of security and stability and the financial benefits that come with rising home equity. At the same time, many current homeowners have decided their house no longer meets their needs, so they moved into homes with more space inside and out, including a home office for remote work.

However, not every purchaser has been able to fulfill their desire for a new home. Here are two obstacles some homebuyers are facing:

  • The ability to save for a down payment
  • The ability to qualify for a mortgage at the current lending standards

This past week, both of those challenges have been mitigated to some degree for many purchasers. The FHFA (which handles mortgages by Freddie MacFannie Mae, and the Federal Housing Administration) is raising its loan limit for prospective purchasers in 2022. The term used to describe the maximum loan amount they will entertain is the Conforming Loan Limit.

What Is the Difference Between a Conforming Loan and a Non-Conforming Loan?

Investopedia explains the difference in a recent post:

“Conforming loans are the only loans that meet the requirements to be acquired by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Jumbo loans, which exceed the conforming limit, are the most common type of nonconforming loan.”

What Difference Does It Make to Me as a Home Buyer?

Forbes article earlier this year explains the benefits of a conforming loan and why they exist:

“Since lenders can’t sell non-conforming loans to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac to free up their cash, they’re a bit riskier for the lender. This is especially true for jumbo loans, which aren’t backed by any government guarantees. If you default on a jumbo loan, it’s a huge blow to the lender.

Thus, lenders generally charge higher interest rates to compensate, and they can have even more requirements. For example, lenders who give out jumbo loans often require that you make a down payment of at least 20% and show that you have at least six months’ worth of cash in reserve, if not more.”

What Happened Last Week?

The FHFA has significantly increased its Conforming Loan Limits for 2022. Sandra L. Thompson, FHFA Acting Director, explains in the press release that:

“Compared to previous years, the 2022 Conforming Loan Limits represent a significant increase due to the historic house price appreciation over the last year. While 95 percent of U.S. countie​s will be subject to the new baseline limit of $647,200, approximately 100 counties will have conforming loan limits approaching $1 million.”

This means that more homes now qualify for a conforming loan with lower down payment requirements and easier lending standards – the two challenges holding many buyers back over the last year.

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) also increased its Conforming Loan Limits for 2022. That could also mean an easier path to homeownership for many prospective buyers. As the Forbes article explains:

“FHA loans can be very beneficial if you don’t have as much savings, or if your credit score could use some work.”

Bottom Line

Buying your first or your next home may have just gotten much easier (less stringent qualifying standards) and less expensive (possibly lower mortgage rate).

Let’s connect to discuss how these changes may impact you and to form your home buying strategy! 703-242-3975 | Info@TheBeltTeam.com | Contact Us (via our state-of-the-art website for home buyers!)

Resources:
  1. To get more information on the new FHFA Conforming Loan Limits, click here.
  2. To get more information on the new FHA Conforming Loan Limits, click here.

Home Is Where the Heart Is More than Ever This Year

There’s no denying the financial benefits of homeownership, but what’s often overlooked are the feelings of gratitude, security, pride, and comfort we get from owning a home. This year, those emotions are stronger than ever. We’ve lived through a time that has truly changed our needs and who we are, and as a result, homeownership has a whole new meaning for many of us.

According to the 2021 State of the American Homeowner report by Unison:

“Last year, staying home became a necessity and that caused many homeowners to have renewed gratitude for the roof over their head.”

As a nation, we continue to work through the challenges of a pandemic that’s pushed us all to new limits. Over the past year and a half, we’ve spent more time than ever at home: working, eating, schooling, exercising, and more. The world around us changed almost overnight, and our homes were redefined. Our needs shifted, and our shelters became a place that protected us on a whole new level. The same study from Unison notes:

  • 91% of homeowners say they feel secure, stable, or successful owning a home
  • 64% of American homeowners say living through a pandemic has made their home more important to them than ever
  • 83% of homeowners say their home has kept them safe during the COVID-19 pandemic

It’s no surprise this study also reveals that homeowners are now more emotionally attached to their homes as well:

Home Is Where the Heart Is More than Ever This Year | MyKCM

As we’ve learned throughout this health crisis, homeownership can provide the safety and security we crave in a time of uncertainty. That sense of connection and emotional stability genuinely reaches beyond just the financial aspect of owning a home. As JD Esajian, President of CT Homes, LLCsays:

“Aside from the financial factors, there are several social benefits of homeownership and stable housing to consider. It has long been thought that buying a home contributes to a sense of accomplishment. Still, most individuals fail to realize that homeownership can benefit your mental health and the community around you.”

Whether you’re thinking of buying your first home, moving up to your dream home, or downsizing to something that better fits your changing lifestyle, take a moment to reflect on what Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, notes:

“Buying a home is not just a financial decision. It’s also a lifestyle decision.”

If you’re considering buying a home, it’s not entirely about the dollars and cents. Reach out to The Belt Team if you would like to discuss the non-financial benefits that may truly change your life when you need them most.

Let our 54+ years of experience work for you! 703-242-3975 | Info@TheBeltTeam.com | Contact Us