Crystal Ball Forecast for The 2016 Northern VA Real Estate Market

Northern VA Real Estate Forecast 2016

But we’re going to do it anyway!

At this time of year, our phone starts ringing off the hook looking for our CEO, Terry Belt, asking for his forecast of what this year in real estate will hold. And while his crystal ball may be as imperfect as everyone else’s, he has weathered 28 years in the Northern VA real estate market and done it uber successfully. This brings with it a good look in the rear view window, but at the same time an ability to spot & react to trends quickly.

Realtor The Belt Team     Real Estate Predictions

Here are Terry Belt’s Top Predictions For The 2016 Northern VA Real Estate Market

  • Over all, we’ll see a good year in Northern VA. The national and local press are all telling “feel good” real estate stories and this is great as it resonates positively for consumer confidence, which is a huge factor in the market.
  • The first half of the year will bring a very healthy market. I predict the second half of the year will soften as inventory grows.
  • We will see slower appreciation than we have seen the past 5 years. Statistics for the past five years for various Northern VA markets are on our web site:

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Wild Cards – Things To Watch: 

  • Interest rates (already up once and likely to continue rising)
  • Stock market
  • Job creation, especially locally where we are trailing the nation
  • Inventory

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My Advice To 2016 Buyers & Sellers:

If you’re thinking about buying or selling a home in 2016, the absolute most important thing you can do is to make sure you have the best Realtor representing & advocating for you. There’s a lot to navigate along the way – appraisals, surveys, legal disclosures, when to sell, how to price, how to stage, what to disclose, what not to disclose, mortgage financing, how to compete and more. Every market has its own ins & outs & idiosyncrasies.

According to NAR, 90% of homes are sold by 10% of the Realtors. So my advice to clients, whether they are buying here in Northern VA or across the country in California or even across the ocean in Europe – is to make sure you work with the best. You know they’re the best when they’re in that top echelon of performers. The more transactions a team does, the more prepared they are to be your advocate and help you navigate successfully.

Buying or selling a home is often one of the biggest, if not THE biggest, financial transactions of your lifetime – not to mention the emotional importance of your home and family. Do it right!

Median Days on Market – How Fast Are Homes Selling?

Days on Market State by State March to May 2015

If you’re wondering how fast homes are selling around the United States, here’s a great infographic from Keeping Current Matters.

Whether you’re a Buyer or a Seller, it’s important to know how quickly homes are selling in your neighborhood and/or the neighborhood you want to live in.

Why?

 

 

EXPECTATIONS:

Buyers – Knowing how quickly homes are selling tells you how quickly you need to react when you see a home you love. In some markets, homes are languishing for months. While in others, they are snapped up the day they hit the market. Taking a look at median number of days on market will help set your expectations so you don’t feel pressured.

Sellers – If you’re selling a home, the median days on market will give you an idea of how long you’ll need to keep your home in “showing condition”. It’s not easy to keep your house looking like a showroom. Knowing what the median time frame is helps with expectations of how long it will take your home to sell. (And note – if you are aiming to “push” pricing past what recent comps show – you’ll likely need to add time onto this estimate, and be aware that you may actually sell for less than if you had priced to where the market is.)

PRICING:

Buyers – You can use days on market as part of the criteria for determining what price to offer. If you see a property that has been on the market for a LONG time – it’s fair to assume you may want to offer something below list price – the longer the days on market, the lower the price. But if you’re making a lowball offer on a home that just hit the market – it’s unlikely the owner will accept your offer.

Sellers – Median days on market is one criteria you should consider in your pricing strategy. If you home has been on the market longer than the median number of days – you most likely need a price adjustment. (You may need to take other action – such as repairs or staging, but it’s highly likely a price adjustment is in order as well.)

Here are some of the local stats for days on market. How fast are homes selling in:

Median days on market is just ONE of many criteria Buyers and Sellers should consider. For a personalized consultation including ALL the criteria – contact Terry Belt & The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975. We’ll help you make the RIGHT move!

Homebuyers Are On Borrowed Time, Sellers Take Note

Buyers Market or Sellers Market

If you’re thinking of buying a home in 2015, you may want to do it sooner rather than later. Why is that? Well, according to Gary Keller, Chairman of the Board of the world’s largest real estate company, “Home buyers are on borrowed time.” Keller made this comment back in February at Keller Williams Realty’s annual gathering of top associates from around the world as part of his economic update.

In case you’re thinking the comment made by Keller may have been self-serving just to encourage urgency among potential homebuyers, you might be interested to know that the Federal Reserve’s moves last week seem to corroborate Keller’s statement. From The Washington Post on March 19th: “The Federal Reserve cleared the way Wednesday for raising interest rates for the first time since the financial crisis.” The Fed was clear that a rate hike is not immediate or even imminent, but they definitely opened the door for that to happen this year. And as we see the economy improve, we also believe this will happen.

CEO The Belt TeamTerry Belt, CEO of The Belt Team says he is “advising our serious buyers that NOW is the time to buy. Rising interest rates, combined with rising home values mean that buying later will equal lower affordability and much less house. It is for this reason that we are also advising Sellers to sell sooner rather than later. If and when interest rates rise, some home buyers will be priced out of the market. And while home values are projected to rise in 2015, the projected rise is very moderate – about 3%, as compared to the 11% rise we saw in some areas over the past few years.”

Today, we spoke with Christine Todd, CEO of the Northern VA Association of Realtors (the 11th largest association in the U.S.). She told us that housing inventory in Northern VA is at a five year low and that throughout Northern VA, inventory is at 2 months. Two months of inventory translates to a Seller’s Market. That puts Sellers in the driver’s seat – making now a fabulous time to sell. It also means that Buyers have less options and it make take more time to find your dream home. And unlike the Rolling Stones song “Time Is On My Side”, it may only be a matter of time before rates rise. Another reason why waiting may not be to your benefit.

Whether you’re buying or selling, there are challenges on both ends. Buyers seek guidance on getting through credit hurdles, loan approvals and financing options. They need advocates who can advise on how to best compete, what their options are and how to find homes not already on the market. They want the RIGHT home. And while it sounds good to be a Seller during a Seller’s market (and it is!) – you still want to make sure you don’t leave money on the table and that once you are under contract, your sale actually goes to closing. THIS is where a top notch Realtor makes a difference and why the number of people selling by owner has gone down year after year.

The Belt Team has navigated the Northern Virginia real estate market since 1973. We have serious, long-term, committed Realtors on our team who are here to educate, navigate and advocate for you. When you read our online reviews, we think you’ll soon see why it’s in your best interests to work with what we think is the best real estate team in Northern VA. Our mission statement is “Changing Lives For The Better”. If it’s time to change yours, give Terry Belt & The Belt Team a call at (703) 242-3975. It would be a pleasure for our family to help your family make the right move. And that right move just might be NOW!

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National Real Estate Update

Interest rates are on the rise. Find out what else is happening in the national real estate market in a quick minute!

Now that you know what’s happening in the macromarket, let’s take a look at the  hyperlocal markets. For stats on Northern Virginia communities – check The Belt Team’s community pages:

Call Terry Belt & The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975 to schedule a FREE Buyer or Seller Consultation.

Great Falls Virginia: Buyer’s Market or Seller’s Market? How Long To Sell Your Home and Are Prices Rising?

If you’re looking to buy or sell real estate in Great Falls, VA in 2015, you may be wondering how long homes are on the market, whether prices are up or down and whether it’s a Buyer’s Market or Seller’s Market.

First, let’s look at what happened in 2014:

  • Average Days on Market:123 days (up from 99 days in 2013)
  • Average Sold Price: $1.246,067 (up from $1,221,751 in 2013)
  • Average Sold Price as % of List Price: 93.2% (down from 94.8% in 2013)
  • Percent of Homes Sold in 10 Days or Less: 23%

Now, to get an even better sense of what’s happening in the real estate market, go to our web site for up-to-date Great Falls VA housing stats on the most recent month as compared to the five year average. This will indicate what the current trends are.

(Special Info For Sellers of Million Dollar Homes)

Call Terry Belt & The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975 if you would like to buy or sell in Great Falls, VA.

Northern VA Real Estate Market – How Did We Fare in 2014? What’s Happening in 2015?

2014 Northern VA Real Estate Stats

2014 was the “Year of Micromarkets”.

Check out our blog and you’ll find year-end statistics for both the larger macromarket of the Mid-Atlantic region, as well as the counties of Fairfax, Loudoun & Arlington. Along with that, you’ll find stats for the various cities and towns in Northern VA. It used to be that looking at statistics city by city was often enough to arm you with most of the information you might need to understand the market – whether on the buy side or sell side. But that is no longer the case. (So when you hear the national news headlines about real estate – don’t listen! It’s like listening to the weather forecast in Phoenix when you’re trying to figure out what to wear in McLean.)

Within each county and city, there is a whole other story being told – market by market by market. Let’s take Loudoun County for example. Average days on market in Loudoun was 44 days. The average home sold for 97.5% of original list price. If you’re a buyer, you might draw the conclusion that you can “get a deal” or at least that you can negotiate some off the list price. On some homes, that might be the case. (In fact, that was the case for Buyers represented by The Belt Team. Our buyers only paid on average 93.8% of list price.) But that would not be representative of the entire market.

If you look at the statistics further, you’ll find that last year, 37% of homes in Loudoun sold in 10 days or less. Buyers of those homes often competed and came prepared to pay over list price. In fact, the average paid was just over 100% of list price. This micromarket was seen primarily in the $400’s and below. Homes that were listed over $900K saw a different market. Average days on market was 121 days (4 months!). And homes sold for 92.9% of list price.

The moral of the story of 2014 (and going forward in 2015) is that you MUST get the detailed, hyperlocal info you need to make decisions on the very specific micromarket where you’re looking to buy or sell. It’s a vital part of setting your strategy for success – whether you’re buying or selling. The average agent (and even you) have access to some of this data through normal channels – either online, through the MLS, public tax records, etc. But if you really want to get the most when selling your home (or prevail as a buyer in a market where inventory is low – which it is all over Northern VA) – it’s imperative that you work with Realtors (like The Belt Team) who not only have the free info online and in the MLS, but who pay premium dollars for the most detailed and up-to-date data available. We are your local enconomists. And this data gives our clients a leg up.

Northern VA Real Estate Market

So. 2015. Here’s what we see:

  • Interest rates rising
  • Prices rising slightly. (Note that last year’s prices rose, but not like they did in 2013. For example – in 2013, Fairfax County rose about 7%. In 2014, Fairfax County prices rose less than 2%.)
  • Low inventory.
  • Competing contracts in the lower price ranges.
  • And the early bird will get the worm – both on the buyer side and the seller side.

If you would like an in-depth analysis of YOUR micromarket, call Terry Belt & The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975 to schedule a FREE consultation.

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Northern VA Home Sales Down, Prices Up in First Quarter of 2014

First quarter statistics have been released. In most areas the number of homes sold in the first quarter of 2014 was down compared to first quarter 2013. However, in most areas, prices rose. Only 3 areas saw an increase in home sales: Dunn Loring, Centreville & Springfield. In every other Northern Virginia city, home sales declined year over year. On the other hand, prices were up in all cities except three: Ashburn, Great Falls & McLean. The other areas saw average prices rise from 2.1% to 10.2%. (See chart below for sales & prices in each city.)

Call (703) 242-3975 if you would like a zip code or neighborhood analysis.

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Northern VA Home Sales

Northern VA 2013 Sales 2014 Sales Yr Over Yr Avg SP 2013 Avg SP 2014 Yr Over Yr
Alexandria 951 867 -9% $451,880 $488,773 8%
Arlington 536 486 -9% $570,179 $585,200 2.6%
Ashburn 331 253 -24% $466,963 $462,281 -1.0%
Burke 96 114 19% $415,793 $426,403 2.6%
Centreville 173 182 5% $354,407 $372,015 5.0%
Chantilly 166 144 -13% $429,711 $463,140 7.8%
Dunn Loring 2 4 100% $882,500 $834,000 -5.5%
Fairfax 414 344 -17% $463,841 $488,611 5.3%
Falls Church 282 251 -11% $466,898 $476,777 2.1%
Great Falls 55 25 -55% $1,248,293 $1,108,758 -11.2%
Herndon 138 124 -10% $419,152 $447,186 6.7%
McLean 143 128 -10% $1,135,881 $931,091 -18.0%
Oakton 54 48 -11% $509,763 $562,012 10.2%
Reston 194 190 -2% $427,210 $441,990 3.5%
Springfield 208 232 12% $395,386 $428,874 8.5%
Sterling 211 194 -8% $349,394 $379,676 8.7%
Vienna 140 129 -8% $718,021 $733,301 2.1%

First Quarter Housing Update – Northern Virginia – Plus 5 Home Buyer Tips

How is the housing market doing around Northern Virginia? Wondering where prices are? How many homes are selling? Whether it’s a Buyer’s Market, Seller’s Market or Balanced Market? Let’s take a look at the stats:

City # Sales Avg Price Avg DOM Housing Supply Buyer or Seller Market
Alexandria 867 $489,013 58 days 1.7 months Seller
Annandale 103 $440,984 54 days 1 month Seller
Arlington 486 $585,193 44 days 1.5 months Seller
Ashburn 244 $461,566 53 days 2.3 months Seller
Burke 114 $426,403 37 days Less than 1 month Seller
Centreville 182 $372,015 50 days 1.1 month Seller
Chantilly 40 $450,406 30 days Less than 1 month Seller
Dunn Loring 4 $834,000 48 days 6 months Balanced
Fairfax 343 $488,140 45 days 1.1 month Seller
Falls Church 251 $476,777 46 days 1.2 months Seller
Great Falls 23 $1,160,393 135 days 8 months Buyer
Herndon 124 $447,186 43 days 1.4 months Seller
McLean 128 $931,091 88 days 3.8 months Balanced
Oakton 48 $562,012 80 days 2.8 months Balanced
Reston 190 $441,990 45 days 1.5 months Seller
Springfield 234 $424,165 48 days Less than 1 month Seller
Sterling 193 $380,053 46 days Less than 1 month Seller
Vienna 127 $729,021 53 days 2 months Seller

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Search Homes For Sale in Northern VA On Our State-of-the-Art Search Site

This week and next week are “Spring Break” for Northern Virginia schools. We typically see an upswing in inventory just following this period. So stay tuned.

If you’ve been waiting to find that dream home, this just may be the time – but you’ll likely have to move FAST to beat others to the punch. Best way to do that?

1. Sign a Buyer Broker Agreement so you have a Buyer Agent working on your behalf. If you call a Listing Agent, they only have one person’s interests at heart: The Seller’s.

2. Know what you’re looking for. Know the reality of what your money buys. If you’ve been looking for a while and haven’t yet bought, then you know prices are rising and interest rates are rising. Now’s the time to get real if you want to get into a new home.

3. Have your loan approved before you look for homes. Your approval letter MUST accompany your contract offer. Sellers won’t even look at a contract without it.

4. Remove as many contingencies as are prudent. If you’re not sure which ones you are comfortable with removing or which ones you are able to remove – discuss this NOW with your agent – before you’re in a competition.

5.Use a state-of-the-art home search site (like BeltTeamRealEstate.com). What’s the biggest complaint we hear from people who use Zillow, Trulia & Realtor.com? That the data is outdated. They call about listings that are long under contract. Our site is updated constantly and our buyers often tell us it’s the best site they used. Don’t miss out!

The Belt Team’s Mission Statement is “Changing Lives For The Better”. If now is the time to change yours, give us a call at (703) 242-3975. We’ll help you make the RIGHT move!

Are We In A Buyer’s Market or A Seller’s Market In Northern VA?

Northern VA Real Estate Market Fluctuation

When we meet with our Buyers & Sellers for their initial consultation, one of the things we talk about is what’s happening nationally, regionally and locally in the real estate market – how much homes are selling for, what’s on the market, and how fast homes are selling. The question that comes up most often is “Are we in a Buyer’s Market or a Seller’s Market?”

First, let’s define the terms:

“Balanced Market”: is a real estate market where there is about 6 months of housing inventory. There is no real advantage to one side or the other.

“Buyer’s Market”: is a real estate market where there are more homes on the market than there are Buyers, so much so that Buyers have the upper hand in negotiating and can often get a deal. Typically, a “Buyer’s Market” is defined as more than 6 months of housing inventory.

“Seller’s Market”: is a real estate market where there are a plethora of Buyers and not many homes on the market. This means Sellers have the advantage and this is a market where we see competing offers on many homes. Typically, a “Seller’s Market” is defined as less than 3 months of housing inventory.

So where are we today in Northern VA?

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In most areas in Northern VA (Alexandria, Arlington, Ashburn, Burke, Centreville, Chantilly, Dunn Loring, Fairfax, Falls Church, Herndon, Reston, Springfield, Sterling & Vienna) – housing inventory is less than 2 months and we are in a Seller’s Market.

In Oakton, housing inventory is just under 3 months, which is technically also a Seller’s Market – but there are pockets – with some neighborhoods &  price ranges that are seeing a Balanced Market and others seeing a Seller’s Market.

In Great Falls & McLean, housing inventory is 6 months & 3 months respectively – so technically a Balanced Market. However, note that as you go up in price range, there are HUGE variances and some areas are actually still seeing a Buyer’s Market.

Here are the stats for each city in Northern VA:

CITY # Months Inventory Market
Alexandria 1.6 Seller’s
Arlington 1.8 Seller’s
Ashburn 2.8 Balanced
Burke 1.3 Seller’s
Centreville 1.1 Seller’s
Chantilly 1.3 Seller’s
Dunn Loring 2 Seller’s
Fairfax 1.1 Seller’s
Falls Church 1.5 Seller’s
Great Falls 6 Balanced
Herndon 1.8 Seller’s
McLean 3 Balanced
Oakton 2.5 Seller’s
Reston 1.3 Seller’s
Springfield 0.8 Seller’s
Sterling 1.2 Seller’s
Vienna 1.5 Seller’s

Call The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975 for a detailed analysis on YOUR neighborhood. After all, it’s only the area you live in or WANT to live in that matters!

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Snow Does Not Stall Spring Market In Northern Virginia

Oakton Real EstateThe first day of Spring is still a few weeks away, and we have a ton of snow on the ground; but if you take a look at home sales in Northern Virginia, you’ll see that the Spring market is already in full swing. (We know this anecdotally from our own listings & sales, but let’s take a look at the statistics.)

What SOLD In January & February?

The “Sold Price” of a home is not usually released until the home goes to settlement & the sale is recorded at the courthouse, So when you see articles about home “sales”, the data lags a bit. Homes that sold in January & February probably went under contract somewhere between November & January. How many homes settled and what was the average sales price? Check the list below for your area:

CITY # of Home Sales Avg Sold Price
Alexandria 472 $463,813
Arlington 286 $559,848
Ashburn 131 $482,696
Burke 63 $449,776
Centreville 98 $385,240
Chantilly 88 $450,969
Dunn Loring 2 $840,000
Fairfax 206 $480,367
Falls Church 161 $481,629
Great Falls 14 $1,120,100
Herndon 74 $453,627
McLean 76 $926,662
Oakton 31 $597,409
Reston 105 $408,003
Springfield 134 $416,077
Sterling 111 $384,360
Vienna 79 $719,238

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What Went UNDER CONTRACT in January & February?

In every jurisdiction, a LOT more homes went under contract in January & February than sold during the previous few months. Buyers are NOT waiting until “true Spring” to buy homes.

CITY # of Homes Sold # of Homes Under Contract
Alexandria 472 714
Arlington 286 373
Ashburn 131 208
Burke 63 91
Centreville 98 142
Chantilly 88 114
Dunn Loring 2 3
Fairfax 206 284
Falls Church 161 173
Great Falls 14 24
Herndon 74 99
McLean 76 98
Oakton 31 38
Reston 105 149
Springfield 134 191
Sterling 111 147
Vienna 79 114

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How Fast Are Homes Selling?

Not only are more homes selling, but with the exception of Great Falls & McLean, they are selling faster now than they were over the past few months. (Dunn Loring is also an exception, but the statistical pool is too small to call it a trend.) Keep in mind, these are averages. Many homes are selling the same weekend they go on the market. We listed one Thursday, a contract came in over the weekend and was ratified today. (Note that there are a variety of conditions in the marketplace – with some homes languishing and some getting multiple contracts. We had one listing in our office last month that received 17 contracts!) (Note: DOM = “days on market”)

CITY DOM Solds DOM Under Contracts
Alexandria 61 59
Arlington 48 40
Ashburn 56 39
Burke 43 36
Centreville 55 50
Chantilly 45 41
Dunn Loring 18 54
Fairfax 52 42
Falls Church 51 46
Great Falls 133 133
Herndon 48 40
McLean 86 96
Oakton 87 75
Reston 52 41
Springfield 54 47
Sterling 54 44
Vienna 53 50

Moral of the Story?

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Sellers: If you have been waiting for the market to improve so you can sell, NOW is the time. Call Terry Belt or Kevin Kleifges at (703) 242-3975 to schedule a Seller Consultation. Not only will we discuss the market conditions of YOUR neighborhood, we will consult with you on staging, preparation, marketing, pricing strategies & more. (If you call this month, we will also pay for a consultation with our Professional Stager – a $195 value). You can also set up a FREE daily update (or weekly or monthly) so you find out what homes are selling for in your neighborhood.

Buyers: The market is tight. Be prepared to move quickly. You may need to compete. And in order to do so, you may need to lower the price range you are looking in. (If you can only afford to go to $700,000 for example, you may want to only look at homes up to $650,000.) You also need to make sure you work with Realtors who are proactive, seek properties on your behalf that are NOT yet on the market and utilize the most state-of-the-art home search web site (not sites like Zillow or Trulia that are NOT updated as frequently.) Contact us at (703) 242-3975 to schedule a FREE Buyer Consultation. No obligation. We will discuss market conditions, strategies for competing, the entire homebuying process including how much cash you will need, financing options and more. Interest rates are low, so you might be surprised at what you can afford. And since prices are rising, you don’t want to wait!

The Belt Team’s mission is “Changing Lives For The Better“. If it’s time to change YOURS, call us TODAY at (703) 242-3975. It would be a pleasure for OUR family to help YOUR family make the RIGHT move!