Check out the short Market Watch video on the home page to get the latest Northern Virginia Real estate Market information.
Interest rates in 2013 are still very low, but will likely rise a little over the next several months. Home values in the local real estate market are moving upward. Some sellers with properly priced properties in good condition are getting multiple offers within a few days of listing their homes for sale, but most homes are taking longer. Many sellers who can afford it, have taken their properties off the market or rented them out, so inventory is low and sellers will sometimes get multiple offers. The average number of days on the market for real estate in Northern Virginia was 51 days in March 2013, but a few properties have been on the market for many months. The market appears to be most active for owners selling a home below $450,000. In 2013, all price ranges are getting more showings and more contracts written than for the same time period a year ago. Avgerage home prices ended the year a little higher in late 2012 compared to 12 months earlier. Uncertainty in the job market and economy, continuing foreclosures, likely future interest rate increases, and sequester layoffs make it hard to predict if this upward push on sales and prices will continue past the summer
Late 2009 started to see upward pressure on prices which has continued so far through the first half of 2013. A few deals have fallen apart because of low appraisals reflecting past sales without allowing for increasing buyer demand and higher offers. More houses are being sold this year and prices have been moving up during the year. Previous year prices were being somewhat held down by foreclosures and short sales which are now declining in market share. The average number of days on the market runs 10 to 60 days depending on the neighborhood and part of the area you are buying in. Bank owned foreclosure properties are declining, but still make up some of the sales. Some bank owned foreclosure properties are being priced low in order to obtain multiple offers with a final price over the asking price, so if something looks too good to be true, it probably is. If you are buying a home, the best homes usually go quickest, so it is important that you have a good real estate buyer agent looking out for you by doing a daily check for new listings that might meet your needs. The good news for sellers is that foreclosure housing inventory is going down, and expected government related assistance will likely reduce the number of future foreclosures. House prices have been starting to go back up because of the multiple offers coming in on many of the properties.You can use the search on our home page, or the links on our useful links page to do your own home search of the local MLS listings and you can set up an automatic daily search.
A Realtor should also be able to recommend lenders and tell you about any special financing programs offered in your area. Some lenders have community grant programs to assist first time home buyers. FHA loans are making a strong come back because they only require a 3.5% down payment and no longer have all of the restrictions that made them unpopular a few years ago, but the upfront fees have increased. In Virginia, ask about the VHDA programs for moderately priced homes. There are also ways to avoid having to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI) with higher interest rates. It may be better to pay a higher interest rate and avoid the PMI payments or get an Adjustable Rate Mortgage, if you are only planning to live in the home for a few years. Also, PMI payments are now tax deductible. If you don't have 20% of the sales price for a down payment, ask your lender about an 80/10/10 or an 80/15/5 loan package as they are starting to come back.
Because of the large number of mortgage loan defaults in recent years, lenders have increased their credit score requirements for many loans. This may restrict the pool of potential buyers and help reduce or keep prices at their current levels. If you do apply for a loan, expect to provide a lot of documentation. You will need to prove the source of any income other than regular W2 type deposits.
The following information is for March 2013. The statistics cover all of Fairfax County, City of Fairfax, Falls Church, Arlington, and Alexandria. Give me a call or send an email if you would like the current stats for your specific Northern Virginia zip code.
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Source: Metropolitan Regional Information Systems, Inc. - RBI
Copyright 2013 - Information deemed reliable, but is not guaranteed.