Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The "STATE" of the Market

The Virginia Association of REALTORS released it's third quarter sales report. Most consumers will be shocked to hear that, overall, sales prices are UP 1% compared to last year, and sales activity (closed sales) is down only 9.2% for the state.
But, as the National Association of REALTORS is constantly trying to explain, real estate is regional. And, in reviewing this report, it is clear. Some areas have found the "bottom" of the market and have stabilized, and even started recovering. I expect other areas are still in need of deflation in pricing before they will stabilize. Clearly, price is king in today's economy.
Look at these tidbits:
For the third quarter of 2008, when compared to the same quarter in 2007....
  • Prince William County's median price is down 42%, but sales activity is up 145%.
  • Lexington/Buena Vista's median price is down 38%, sales activity is up 70%.
  • Greater Piemont's median price is down 28%, sales activity is up by 19%.
  • The Dulles Area's median price is down 23%, and sales activity is up by 27%.
  • Northern Virginia's median price is down 19% and sales activity is up by 15%.
On the other end of the spectrum:
  • Chesapeake Bay & Rivers median price is UP 19%, but sales activity is down 52%.
  • Roanoke Valley's median price is down only 4%, but sales activity is still down 26%.
Prince William County leads the state with most improvement in sales activity, reflected as closed sales for the quarter (3128 transactions), and pending sales (3894). Northern Virginia (defined as Fairfax & Arlington Counties), and the Dulles Area (Loudoun County) closely follow. These stats show us that once the submarket finds its correct pricing, buyers are out in force again.
The lesson to sellers here is - if you are in an area with declining sales activity, then your prices will be declining, soon. Price AHEAD of the curve, below the last sale... you must attract a buyer, and quick, before you lose even more value. Sellers in these markets thinking that instead they will "wait out the market" need to be prepared for a long wait -several years.
The lessons to buyers is - if sales activity is up, the prices will soon follow. Buy now. Get off the fence. Buy quick. It seems you may have missed the bottom of the market, and if you wait to try to buy at the "bottom" of the market again, you may be waiting many years... and you could miss it again. With interest rates favorable, the combination of affordable home prices and availablity of good loans means that this is an incredible time to be a buyer.
To read the entire report - click HERE.
For information about sales activity in your neighborhood, sign up for a free (automated) market snapshot here. If you put in your email address and physical address, this report with detailed sales activity will be emailed to you monthly (you can unsubscribe at any time). I am also available to complete a complimentary Comparative Market Analysis for you if you are considering selling in the next 3 to 6 months.
To search for available homes and land in the Northern Virginia area, click HERE, this search links directly to a live feed from the local MLS.
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