4 Reasons to Buy A Home This Summer (and why you might want to wait)

Photo credit: Keeping Current Matters
Photo credit: Keeping Current Matters

Summer is here! The temperature isn’t the only thing heating up right now, so too is the housing market! Our friends at Keeping Current Matters have given us four great reasons to consider buying a home today instead of waiting. (See below). And we would also add that there are some reasons why you might want to wait. There’s no “one-size fits all” answer.

For example, if you are in a job where it’s likely you’ll get transferred in a year or two, and you will not be in the position to hold onto the home and rent it out, you may want to wait on buying. or perhaps you are in grad school and when you graduate next year, you’ll be moving to a different part of the country.

The best thing you can do is schedule a consultation with our Lead Buyer Specialist, as well as to speak directly to a lender. (You can schedule a consult online or call Tom Reilly at (703) 629-1263.) Our market in Northern VA is beginning to shift. There are even some areas that have moved back into being a Buyer’s Market. (For example, Great Falls.) So if you’re thinking of buying, it behooves you to consult with someone who writes LOTS of contracts and has his ear tuned in to the subtle changes happening.

The consultation will include what we call “7 Steps to YOUR Dream Home” and includes things like:

  • Lifestyle interview
  • Real estate market overview
  • Review of the homebuying process
  • Needs analysis
  • Wish list
  • Why you need an advocate
  • Tips & tricks for searching

****************************************

Here are Four Reasons to Buy NOW:

1. Prices Will Continue to Rise

The Home Price Expectation Survey polls a distinguished panel of over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts. Their most recent report projects appreciation in home values over the next five years to be between 11.8% (most pessimistic) and 26.7% (most optimistic).

The bottom in home prices has come and gone. Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting no longer makes sense.

2. Mortgage Interest Rates Are Projected to Increase

Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage have started to inch up, most experts predict that they will begin to rise even more over the next 12 months. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac & the National Association of Realtors are in unison projecting that rates will be up approximately three quarters of a percentage point over the next 12 months.

An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. Your housing expense will be more a year from now if a mortgage is necessary to purchase your next home.

3. Either Way You are Paying a Mortgage

As a recent paper from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University explains:

“Households must consume housing whether they own or rent. Not even accounting for more favorable tax treatment of owning, homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord plus a rate of return. That’s yet another reason owning often does—as Americans intuit—end up making more financial sense than renting.”

4. It’s Time to Move On with Your Life

The ‘cost’ of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. It appears that both are on the rise.

But, what if they weren’t? Would you wait?

Look at the actual reason you are buying and decide whether it is worth waiting. Whether you want to have a great place for your children to grow up, you want your family to be safer or you just want to have control over renovations, maybe it is time to buy.

BOTTOM LINE

If the right thing for you and your family is to purchase a home this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings.

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!

Best Real Estate Agents in Northern Virginia

Home Sales Down, Real Estate Prices Up in Most of Northern VA

Northern VA Real Estate

A year-over-year comparison for home prices in Northern Virginia (for homes that sold Jan 1 thru June 16) shows several trends for most of Northern Virginia:

Number of Home Sales:

The number of home sales is down in almost every area of Northern VA. Burke & Dunn Loring home sales remained stable. In Springfield, home sales increased 4% this year – from 522 sales to 543 sales. However, in every other city, home sales fell. The most extreme drop in sales occurred in Great Falls, where home sales dropped 43% (from 122 sales to 70 sales).

Average Sales Price:

With three exceptions, home sale prices increased in every city in Northern Virginia. One area (Burke) remained almost stable. And two areas (Mclean and Great Falls) saw prices fall. Note that McLean and Great Falls are also the only two Northern Virginia areas where the average home price exceeded $1 million. The areas seeing the highest rise in values year over year were Herndon (6.9%), Vienna (8.4%), Chantilly (9.2%) and Dunn Loring (10.4%).

If you’re buying or selling a home, it’s imperative you know the market trends not just in YOUR city – but also your school district and neighborhood.

This will help guide your pricing strategy. Statistics are not the ONLY guide to pricing, but are an important piece of the puzzle – whether you’re a Seller deciding on where to price your home for market – or a Buyer deciding whether to offer above or below list price.

Here are specific stats for each area of Northern Virginia.

Northern VA 2013 Sales 2014 Sales Yr Over Yr Avg SP 2013 Avg SP 2014 Yr Over Yr
Alexandria 2244 2005 -11% $479,250 $498,618 4%
Arlington 1309 1174 -10% $598,657 $609,025 1.7%
Ashburn 734 593 -19% $476,335 $478,629 0.5%
Burke 255 255 0% $440,717 $439,585 -0.3%
Centreville 436 387 -11% $377,711 $379,598 0.5%
Chantilly 335 309 -8% $439,383 $479,623 9.2%
Dunn Loring 8 8 0% $761,688 $840,563 10.4%
Fairfax 962 810 -16% $484,174 $495,857 2.4%
Falls Church 646 556 -14% $486,779 $507,063 4.2%
Great Falls 122 70 -43% $1,228,030 $1,160,466 -5.5%
Herndon 366 310 -15% $452,807 $483,955 6.9%
McLean 338 281 -17% $1,067,027 $1,002,964 -6.0%
Oakton 163 105 -36% $624,298 $633,566 1.5%
Reston 509 444 -13% $447,494 $458,481 2.5%
Springfield 522 543 4% $426,240 $444,782 4.4%
Sterling 498 484 -3% $377,291 $388,738 3.0%
Vienna 373 325 -13% $734,102 $796,107 8.4%

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

FREE Instant Online Home Valuation

Our New State-of-the-Art Home Search Site

The Belt Team’s Mission Statement is “Changing Lives For The Better” – if it’s time to change YOURS, call (703) 242-3975 or email The Belt Team and let us know how we can help!

Best Realtor Northern Virginia

Real Estate Prices Continue To Rise in MOST of Northern VA

Northern VA Real Estate

A year-over-year comparison for home prices in Northern Virginia (for homes that sold Jan 1 thru April 30th) shows there are only a few areas left where home prices did not rise over last year.

McLean

Although sales were down 10% in 2014 vs 2013, the average home price of homes sold also fell 13%. This means Buyers in certain price points MAY be able to get a deal! The caveat to this is that home sales varied from as low as $215,000 to as high as $3,400,000 so far this year. The lower the price point, the less likely you are to get a deal and you probably will still be competing.

Dunn Loring

Sales were up 33%. But the average price of a home sold fell 7%. However, Dunn Loring is a statistical anomaly. With only 3-4 sales during the Jan-April timeframe each year, you cannot truly chart this as a falling market.

Burke

Burke “technically” makes it onto the list of areas where home prices did not rise year-over-year. Prices went down .1%. (That’s “point one percent – NOT one percent). Sales actually rose in Burke this year. We’ll be keeping our eye on this area to see what transpires over the rest of the Spring.

Other than McLean, Dunn Loring & Burke – every other area’s prices rose from last year!

Most areas rose somewhere less than 5%, while two areas showed price increases of more than 7%. Arlington, Ashburn, Centreville, Fairfax, Falls Church, Herndon, Sterling & Vienna – all fall into the first category. While Oakton & Springfield fall into the latter.

If you’re buying or selling a home, it’s imperative you know the market trends not just in YOUR city – but also your school district and neighborhood. This will help guide your pricing strategy. Statistics are not the ONLY guide to pricing, but are an important piece of the puzzle – whether you’re a Seller deciding on where to price your home for market – or a Buyer deciding whether to offer above or below list price.

Here are general stats for Northern Virginia.

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

FREE Instant Online Home Valuation

Our New State-of-the-Art Home Search Site

Northern VA 2013 Sales 2014 Sales Yr Over Yr Avg SP 2013 Avg SP 2014 Yr Over Yr
Alexandria 1420 1306 -8% $467,712 $496,433 6%
Arlington 839 751 -10% $582,945 $586,994 0.7%
Ashburn 477 396 -17% $468,098 $472,508 0.9%
Burke 153 167 9% $427,016 $426,518 -0.1%
Centreville 266 271 2% $362,482 $376,142 3.8%
Chantilly 229 218 -5% $429,903 $465,667 8.3%
Dunn Loring 3 4 33% $897,333 $834,000 -7.1%
Fairfax 620 534 -14% $474,712 $487,474 2.7%
Falls Church 407 369 -9% $465,892 $486,850 4.5%
Great Falls 78 44 -44% $1,213,930 $1,203,783 -0.8%
Herndon 214 197 -8% $437,149 $458,407 4.9%
McLean 217 195 -10% $1,071,602 $933,403 -12.9%
Oakton 93 69 -26% $571,826 $612,194 7.1%
Reston 301 298 -1% $432,459 $455,443 5.3%
Springfield 318 344 8% $404,473 $436,536 7.9%
Sterling 302 310 3% $362,709 $380,380 4.9%
Vienna 236 210 -11% $731,906 $746,379 2.0%

The Belt Team’s Mission Statement is “Changing Lives For The Better” – if it’s time to change YOURS, call (703) 242-3975 or email The Belt Team and let us know how we can help!

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?

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

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!

I Want Buy A Home & Schedule a FREE Buyer Consultation

I Want To Sell A Home & Schedule a FREE Seller Consultation

FREE – How Much Is My Home Worth

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