“How is the real estate market in Northern Virginia?” This is a question that the entire Belt Team gets wherever we go. “Is it getting any better yet?” is usually the follow up.
As Gail Belt, Founding Partner of The Belt Team says, “The answer depends on whether you are buying a home or selling a home – AND on whether you are moving up or moving down.”
Let’s use Vienna and Oakton as an example. We have been in a Seller’s Market in both areas for much of the past two years. Realtor Partner Kevin Kleifges says, “ If you’re selling a home – that’s a great thing. But if you’re buying a home, it can make things quite challenging. Even over the holidays, when you would think the market might be quiet, homes were selling quickly in these areas.”
During the period between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day, here is what happened:
Snaphot: Vienna & Oakton Real Estate Market (12/12/12-1/1/13)
- Number of Contracts: 12
- Average Days on Market for Listings That Went Under Contract: 52 days (11 days in Vienna alone!)
- None of the homes that sold in Vienna were on the market for more than 35 days – and 7 of those homes sold in less than 3 weeks!
This trend is common around Northern VA with the typical adjustments for location. (IE – “Inside The Beltway” means homes sell faster. “Outside the Beltway”, homes still sell, just not as quickly. Extended counties see more variances.)
As of today (Jan 2nd), inventory is about as low as we’ve seen for a LONG time. In Oakton for example, the last time inventory was lower than today was February 2010 – almost three years ago! Currently in Vienna & Oakton, housing supply is only 2-3 months.
So – back to the original question – “How is the real estate market in Northern Virginia?”
Terry Belt, CEO of The Belt Team says “The fact that 9 homes sold in Vienna between Christmas Eve & New Year’s Day – AND the fact that 7 of those were on the market less than 3 weeks likely means there is a lot of pent up demand for Buyers. This works to a Seller’s advantage. It’s all about supply & demand when pricing your home – right? I’m advising Sellers in Vienna who really want to sell, not to wait for inventory to climb to Spring levels before they list. Now is the time. Every city is not identical to Vienna though, so make sure you ask your Realtor for statistics that are specific to YOUR market.”
Tom Reilly, Lead Buyer Specialist with The Belt Team advises, “Those same statistics tell you that you need to be prepared to move FAST when you see your dream home, AND that you may need a creative Realtor with a track record of finding properties for their clients that are not on the market. Candice Fathi, Belt Team Buyer Agent shares ” Right now demand for good homes exceeds the supply. This does not work in your favor. So the more you can leverage the supply side, the better your options will be.”
Moving Up/Moving Down: Lots of people are making 2013 a year of “right-sizing”. If you NEED to “move down” – the good news is, you will likely be able to do so quickly since homes are selling fast. On the other hand, if you are thinking of “moving up” – the sooner the better might be your strategy. We are beginning to see prices rise. And so while you may be thinking “let’s wait to sell until prices go up more“; if you need to sell in order to buy, you will come out on the losing end if you are purchasing a home in a higher price range than your existing home. (This simplifies the analysis though, so be sure to consult your Realtor for ideas & strategies particular to YOUR needs!)
Stay tuned to our Northern Virginia real estate blog. We’ll be posting a year-in-review update for cities like Vienna, Oakton, Great Falls, McLean, Fairfax, Reston & more as soon as MIRS releases year-end statistics.
Is 2013 YOUR Window of Opportunity? If so, The Belt Team can help you make the BEST move. If you’re thinking of buying or selling a home, Contact The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975. We think you deserve the BEST Realtors in Northern Virginia!