Why Right Now Is a Once-in-a-Lifetime Opportunity for Sellers

What is happening to grocery prices??? It’s the law of supply and demand and it’s having the same impact on the real estate market…

If you’re thinking about selling your house in 2022, you truly have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity at your fingertips. When selling anything, you always hope for strong demand for the item coupled with a limited supply. That maximizes your leverage when you’re negotiating the sale. Home sellers are in that exact situation right now. Here’s why.

Demand Is Very Strong

According to the latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), 6.18 million homes were sold in 2021. This was the largest number of home sales in 15 years. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for NAR, explains:

“Sales for the entire year finished strong, reaching the highest annual level since 2006. . . . With mortgage rates expected to rise in 2022, it’s likely that a portion of December buyers were intent on avoiding the inevitable rate increases.”

Demand isn’t expected to weaken this year, either. In addition, the Mortgage Finance Forecast, published last week by the Mortgage Bankers’ Association (MBA), calls for existing-home sales to reach 6.4 million homes this year.

Supply Is Very Limited

The same sales report from NAR also reveals the months’ supply of inventory just hit the lowest number of the century. It notes:

“Total housing inventory at the end of December amounted to 910,000 units, down 18% from November and down 14.2% from one year ago (1.06 million). Unsold inventory sits at a 1.8-month supply at the present sales pace, down from 2.1 months in November and from 1.9 months in December 2020.”

The reality is, inventory decreases every year in December. That’s just how the typical seasonal trend goes in real estate. However, the following graph emphasizes how this December was lower than any other December going all the way back to 1999.

Why Right Now Is a Once-in-a-Lifetime Opportunity for Sellers | MyKCM

Right Now, Sellers Have Maximum Leverage

As mentioned above, when there’s strong demand for an item and a limited supply of it available, the seller has maximum leverage in the negotiation. In the case of homeowners who are thinking about selling, there may never be a better time than right now. While demand is this high and inventory is this low, you’ll have leverage in all aspects of the sale of your house.

Today’s buyers know they need to be flexible negotiators that make very competitive offers, so here are a few areas that could tip in your favor when your house goes on the market:

  • Competitive sales price
  • Flexible closing date
  • Potential for a leaseback to allow you more time to find a home
  • Minimal offer contingencies

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking of selling your house this year, NOW is the optimal time to list it. Reach out to The Belt Team today and let us help you get your house sold and take advantage of this market!

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

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Wellness Wednesday…Protein is Your Best Friend!

Did you know The Belt Team’s Director of Marketing is also a certified personal trainer and fitness instructor?! The passion for health & fitness runs deep on the team so we love sharing some of our knowledge, tips and tricks with you every week!

The fun thing about the health & fitness world and being part of an amazing community, is you NEVER stop learning. We are students of the game and love learning & sharing new things while we fine tune some of the knowledge we already have ~ especially when it comes to nutrition!

Today we want to shake it up when it comes to one of the most important macronutrients we all consume…

✨Protein✨

Protein is your best friend, your secret weapon, your “go-to”, your fountain of youth, your game changer, your cornerstone, your building block, your magic maker, your energizer, your metabolism booster, your fat burner, your appetite suppressant, your muscle builder, your hormone regulator, your bone strengthener and so much more! Getting adequate protein on a daily basis can be a challenge, but with a little planning, creativity and a little help from your friends (The Belt Team 🤗) it will soon become second nature and something you feel so good about.

We know that we should be aiming for a daily protein intake goal of .7-1 gram/per pound of body weight. Another way of looking at it is to have 30-40 grams of protein at each meal and boom💥 you are well on your way! Build your meals around 30-40 grams of protein FIRST, fill in the rest with healthy carbs & fat – and voila! Keep it simple and eat foods you love. Healthy does not mean boring or not flavorful.

Which brings us to the video and one of the creative ways we get our protein and keep it tasty around here. So many of us supplement our protein intake with protein powder and we usually make shakes and smoothies. They are good ….until they are NOT 😩. So we started making our shakes into new and exciting meals and treats. The things you can do with protein powder are endless and so delicious and satisfying! We make pancakes, cookies, brownies, ice cream, açaí bowls, oatmeal bakes, cobbler, etc… Most recipes have just a few ingredients and are super quick & easy to make. So skip the shaker cup and try something new!

Protein Pancakes:
-1 scoop (30g) protein powder (vanilla, chocolate or berry all work)
-3 egg whites
-1 tsp baking powder
-milk or water to desired consistency

*Keep it quick & easy…just mix in a bowl with a fork and pour into a hot skillet. Flip when you see the bubbles.

**We like to make one big pancake, and make several at a time, store in the refrigerator and re-heat for 60 seconds! These are high protein, low carb & low calorie but you can add some carbs like oatmeal, or add in some healthy fats like almond butter.

***Top with sugar free syrup, fruit, nuts, seeds, sprinkles, powdered sugar, or sugar free Hershey chocolate syrup and ENJOY! 😊

And remember 2 things!
⁃ One day at a time, one meal at a time
⁃ Sometimes the smallest changes have the biggest impact

Sarina Belt – Former NASM Certified Personal Trainer | Schwinn Certified Spin Instructor | Former AFFA Certified Group Fitness Instructor

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With Mortgage Rates Climbing, Now’s the Time To Act

Last week, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate from Freddie Mac jumped from 3.22% to 3.45%. That’s the highest point it’s been in almost two years. If you’re thinking about buying a home, this news may have come as a bit of a shock. But the truth is, it wasn’t entirely unexpected. Experts have been calling for rates to rise in their 2022 projections, and the forecast is now becoming a reality. Here’s a look at the projections from Freddie Mac for this year:

  • Q1 2022: 3.4%
  • Q2 2022: 3.5%
  • Q3 2022: 3.6%
  • Q4 2022: 3.7%

As the numbers show, this jump in rates is in line with the expectations from Freddie Mac. And what they also indicate is that mortgage rates are projected to continue climbing throughout the year. But should you be worried about rising mortgage rates? What does that really mean for you?

As rates increase even modestly, they impact your monthly mortgage payment and overall affordability. If you’re looking to buy a home, rising mortgage rates should be an incentive to act sooner rather than later.

The good news is, even though rates are climbing, they’re still worth taking advantage of. Historical data shows that today’s rate, even at 3.45%, is still well below the average for each of the last five decades (see chart below):

With Mortgage Rates Climbing, Now’s the Time To Act | MyKCM

That means you still have a great opportunity to buy now with a rate that’s better than what your loved ones may have paid in decades past. If you buy a home while rates are in the mid-3s, your monthly mortgage payment will be locked in at that rate for the life of your loan. As you can see from the chart above, a lot can change in that time frame. Buying now is a great way to protect yourself from rising costs and future rate increases while also securing your payment amount for the long term.

Nadia Evangelou, Senior Economist and Director of Forecasting at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), says:

Mortgage rates surged in the second week of the new year. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate rose to 3.45% from 3.22% the previous week. If inflation continues to grow at the current pace, rates will move up even faster in the following months.”

Bottom Line

Mortgage rates are increasing, and they’re forecast to be even higher by the end of 2022. If you’re planning to buy this year, acting soon may be your most affordable option. Reach out to The Belt Team today!

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

Home Sale Statistics in Northern Virginia – December 2021 and Year-End

The Belt Team’s CEO Terry Belt has been in the real estate market for 33 years and has been through a number of “cycles”. Listen to Terry talk about the cycle we are currently in, how long he thinks it will last, and what 2022 may bring (he discusses things such as rising interest rates, low inventory, buyer demand and affordability).

Then be sure to take a look at all the December 2021 and Year-End housing market stats for Northern Virginia and some of our hyper local markets at the bottom of the page.

If you would like to discuss your real estate goals with Terry and benefit from his vast experience in the market, please don’t hesitate to reach out!
(703) 242-3975 | Info@TheBeltTeam.com | or fill out our 
Contact Us form

Northern Virginia December 2021 home sales:

2,132 homes went under contract in the region. This is down 16% from the same time period in 2020.

48% of the homes that went to settlement in December 2021, sold in 10 days or less from when they hit the market.

• Average sold price was $651,014 (up 7.4% from the same time period in 2020).

1,959 homes came on the market. That’s down 19% from December 2020.

• Homes that sold (closed) averaged 24 days on market, 4 days slower than December of 2020.

• There is currently a 0.4 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 1,531 homes for sale (townhouse, condo and single-family).

Additional Year-End Stats – 2020 vs 2021:

Average sold price increased by 9.3% ($599,100 vs $654,753)

Total units sold increased by 13%

Average sales price to original list price ratio increased – 99.9% vs 101.1%

OVERALL: Northern Virginia remained an aggressive Seller’s Market. Although market activity was down from November, average sold price and total units sold in the region were up for the year compared to 2020.  Low inventory remains to be a very big issue for our market.  

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

Vienna: December 2021 Home Sales

Oakton: December 2021 Home Sales 

McLean: December 2021 Home Sales 

Great Falls: December 2021 Home Sales 

Reston: December 2021 Home Sales 

Falls Church: December 2021 Home Sales 

Arlington: December 2021 Home Sales

Alexandria: December 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!

Why Inflation Shouldn’t Stop You from Buying a Home in 2022

If you’re following along with the news today, you’re probably hearing a lot about record-breaking home prices, rising consumer costs, supply chain constraints, and more. And if you’re thinking about purchasing a home this year, all of these inflationary concerns are likely making you wonder if you should wait to buy. Investopedia explains that during a period of high inflation, prices rise across the board. And while home prices aren’t immune from this increase, here’s why inflation shouldn’t stop you from buying a home in 2022.

Homeownership Offers Stability and Security

Home prices have been increasing for quite some time, and experts say they’re going to continue to climb throughout 2022. So, as a buyer, how can you protect yourself from rising costs for things like food, shelter, entertainment, and other goods and services? The answer lies in housing.

Buying a home allows you to lock in your monthly mortgage payment for the foreseeable future. That means as other prices rise, your monthly payment will be consistent thanks to your fixed-rate mortgage. This gives you the peace of mind that the bulk of your housing costs is shielded from inflation.

James Royal, Senior Wealth Management Reporter at Bankrate, says:

A fixed-rate mortgage allows you to maintain the biggest portion of housing expenses at the same payment. Sure, property taxes will rise and other expenses may creep up, but your monthly housing payment remains the same.”

If you rent, you don’t have that same benefit and you won’t be protected from rising housing costs. As an added incentive to buy, consider that today’s mortgage interest rates are lower than they have been in decades. While inflation decreases what your dollars can buy, low mortgage rates help counteract it by boosting your purchasing power so you can get more home for your money. They also help keep your monthly payments down. This is especially important during an inflationary period because you’ll want to protect yourself from the impact of inflation as much as possible.

Ali Wolf, Chief Economist at Zondaexplains:

“If you have cash and are expecting inflation, you want to think through where you can put your money so it does not lose value. Housing is commonly looked at as a good inflation hedge, especially with interest rates so low.”

Bottom Line

The best hedge against inflation is a fixed housing cost. That’s why you shouldn’t let it stop you from buying a home this year. Not sure where to start? Please reach out so we can share our expert advice and help throughout every step of the homebuying process.

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

Why Waiting To Sell Your House Could Cost You a Small Fortune

Many homeowners who plan to sell in 2022 may think the wise thing to do is to wait for the spring buying market since historically about 40 percent of home sales occur between April and July. However, this year’s expected to be much different than the norm. Here are five reasons to list your house now rather than waiting until the spring.

1. Buyers Are Looking Right Now, and They’re Ready To Purchase

The ShowingTime Showing Index reports data from more than six million property showings scheduled across the country each month. In other words, it’s a gauge of how many buyers are out looking at homes at the current time.

The latest index, which covers November showings, reveals that buyers are still very active in the market. Comparing this November’s numbers to previous years, this graph shows that the index is higher than last year and much higher than the three years prior to the pandemic. Clearly, there’s an influx of buyers searching for your home.

Why Waiting To Sell Your House Could Cost You a Small Fortune | MyKCM

Also, at this time of year, only those purchasers who are serious about buying a home will be in the market. You and your loved ones won’t be inconvenienced by casual searchers. Freddie Mac addresses this in a recent blog:

“The buyers who are willing to house hunt in a winter market, when there are fewer options, are typically more serious. Plus, year-end bonuses and overtime payouts give people more purchasing power.”

And that theory is proving to be true right now based on the number of buyers who have put a home under contract to purchase. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) publishes a monthly Pending Home Sales Index which measures housing contract activity. It’s based on signed real estate contracts for existing single-family homes, condos, and co-ops. The latest index shows:

“…housing demand continues to be high. . . . Homes placed on the market for sale go from ‘listed status’ to ‘under contract’ in approximately 18 days.”

Comparing the index to previous Novembers, while it’s slightly below November 2020 (when sales were pushed to later in the year because of the pandemic), it’s well above the previous three years.

Why Waiting To Sell Your House Could Cost You a Small Fortune | MyKCM

The takeaway for you: There are purchasers in the market, and they’re ready and willing to buy.

2. Other Sellers Plan To List Earlier This Year

The law of supply and demand tells us that if you want the best price possible and to negotiate your ideal contract terms, put your house on the market when there’s strong demand and less competition.

recent study by realtor.com reveals that, unlike in previous years, sellers plan to list their homes this winter instead of waiting until spring or summer. The study shows that 65% of sellers who plan to sell in 2022 have either already listed their home (19%) or are planning to put it on the market this winter.

Again, if you’re looking for the best price and the ability to best negotiate the other terms of the sale of your house, listing before this competition hits the market makes sense.

3. Newly Constructed Homes Will Be Your Competition in the Spring

In 2020, there were over 979,000 new single-family housing units authorized by building permits. Many of those homes have yet to be built because of labor shortages and supply chain bottlenecks brought on by the pandemic. They will, however, be completed in 2022. That will create additional competition when you sell your house. Beating these newly constructed homes to the market is something you should consider to ensure your house gets as much attention from interested buyers as possible.

4. There Will Never Be a Better Time To Move-Up

If you’re moving into a larger, more expensive home, consider doing it now. Prices are projected to appreciate by approximately 5% over the next 12 months. That means it will cost you more (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait. You can also lock in your 30-year housing expense with a mortgage rate in the low 3’s right now. If you’re thinking of selling in 2022, you may want to do it now instead of waiting, as mortgage rates are forecast to rise throughout the year.

5. It May Be Time for You To Make a Change

Consider why you’re thinking of selling in the first place and determine whether it’s worth waiting. Is waiting more important than being closer to your loved ones now? Is waiting more important than your health? Is waiting more important than having the space you truly need?

Only you know the answers to those questions. Take time to think about your goals and priorities as we move into 2022 and consider what’s most important to act on now.

Bottom Line

If you’ve been debating whether or not to sell your house and are curious about market conditions in your area, let’s connect so you have expert advice on the best time to put your house on the market.

Contact The Belt Team at 703-242-3975 | Info@TheBeltTeam.com | Contact Us

Best Sledding Hills in Northern Virginia

The first snow of the season is here in NOVA…YIPPEE!! Are you ready to dust off your sleds and hit the hills?  Wondering where the best hills are?  We’ve put together a list of some great sledding spots in Northern Virginia… 

Westgate Park, 7500 Magarity Rd, McLean:  did you know that behind the second baseball field at the Park is a great sledding hill?!

“Mount Reston”, 1625 Wiehle Ave, Reston:  called “Mount Reston” by locals and located behind the Unitarian Church on Wiehle Ave.

Greenway Heights Park, 8203 Riding Ridge Place, McLean

The “Big Hill” at Wolf Trap National Park: in the front by the box office.

Mason District Park, 6621 Columbia Pike, Annandale: this one was chosen by Fairfax County Park Authority as “one of the best places in Fairfax County to go sledding”!  It’s at the end of Meadow Trail.

Cardinal Forest Park, 6121 Roxbury Ave, Springfield: along the sewer easement, between Carleigh Parkway and Roxbury Avenue…typically a quiet park until the snow falls!

Lake Fairfax Park, 400 Lake Fairfax Dr, Reston: another hidden gem…a short but steep hill behind the picnic area restrooms!

Jefferson Manor Park, 2909 Farmington Dr, Alexandria: located off Telegraph Road…the hill at the shelter.

Do you have a favorite hill?  Are there others you would recommend?  Let us know! We all could use some fresh air and outdoor activity so get out there and have some fun!  (Remember to be safe and follow the rules of the parks.) 

(And PS – If you start going stir crazy – this is a GREAT time to search for a new home on our state-of-the-art web site or get a FREE online INSTANT estimate of your home’s value.)