Monday, September 15, 2008

August Stats Show Stabilizing Market in Northern Virginia

In reviewing the latest statistics published by the local MLS system, I continue to feel cautiously optimistic about the stabilization in our market place. Northern Virginia includes Fairfax & Arlington Counties and all of the cities within those areas. Highlights of the report include: - Inventory this month is down from 11956 active listings to 9191 active listings as of the end of August. - With 1887 newly recorded contracts last month, that indicates an inventory of approximately 4.87 months supply (NAR considers 6 months inventory a balanced market). - We continue to see confidence in the market place by investors and first time home buyers, indicated by the number of cash transactions (about 8% of purchases) and those financed with FHA and VA loans (about 27% of purchases). - Perhaps the best statistic in all of this is that the number of units sold was up about 6% compared to the same time last year. Northern Virginia is a large area.
Arlington has not followed the trends of the other sub-markets. Arlington has remained relatively stable, with prices and activity level being extremely similar when compared year to year; and inventory levels hovering around the 4 month level.
Conversely, Fairfax has seen dips, and seems to be showing signs of recovery. The prices in Fairfax are down about 20% compared to last year, with the number of solds up more than 10% from August 2007. The inventory level in Fairfax County is now at about 5 months.
Personally, I am concerned about Arlington. When everything around the area is adjusting, it seems odd that one area would be able to weather the storm without showing wear. I believe that gas prices have kept that area stronger, as people wanted to live close to the city to save on gas. In addition, Arlington has been "built out" for much longer with no significant new development to increase inventory. However, as the suburbs seem to have adjusted to the new market, Arlington will not appear a value compared to things just a few miles away. In order to keep demand high, I expect to see price drops in Arlington in the coming months. Only when the entire area has "rebalanced" will be able to move to the next level, "recovery".
================================================================= MRIS publishes new statistics monthly, around the second week of the month. The public can access these reports from They are published by region, county, city, and even zip code. A qualified agent can help you understand the information contained in these reports. For an even closer look at market conditions, order a personalized Market Snapshot by clicking HERE. Type in the information about your home, and your email address... a personalized report will be sent to you in a few minutes, detailing information about the geographically closest homes which are for sale and have recently sold.
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