I bring statistics to my posts here at LoCoMusings on a fairly regular basis, but today I want to bring you my personal experience. We’ve heard about the housing crisis in the media, at a fever pitch, for the last year. (Anyone who watched the Ice Age movies? “Doom on you! Doom on you!”). Really, though, we started seeing signs that the market was changing locally in mid-2005. Most of the rest of the country follows like a ripple effect (it begins in markets like California, New York City, Florida, then spreads to here, and from here), so it is only logical that the media wouldn’t take note until it was more widespread.
By the same rule, the real estate market is going to have to improve in areas across the country before the national media is going to take note of a strengthening. As a full time Realtor, who is working in the market on a daily basis, I can tell you that the market is changing in Northern Virginia. It is strengthening. Time will be the deciding factor; but from what I am already seeing, I’m optimistic that we have rounded a corner.
Here is what I’m seeing and hearing, both personally and from all of the Realtors I interact with:
- Multiple offers on homes in Loudoun County. Lowest priced properties getting snapped up. I’m noticing investors making purchases, fixing, and turning properties that they got for rock bottom prices.
- Well priced, good condition homes going under contract quickly.
- The market absorption rate for townhomes in Ashburn is UNDER THREE MONTHS. No wonder we are seeing multiple offers. The inventory is shrinking!
- Rate of foreclosure listings coming on the market has stabilized.
- Homes are selling as short sales…meaning they won’t be foreclosed on, and come on the market later as bank owned.
- The lenders have now finally gotten systems established for handling their huge inventory of homes, and easier to work with than a year ago.
- The Loudoun County rental market is hopping. Good, clean, well maintained rentals are not staying on the market very long before getting snapped up.
From my standpoint, lots of little signs are adding up to show me that we are coming out of the worst of it. While I’m not saying that we are going to see a huge upswing in appreciation for home values, I do think we are going to see smaller inventory, shorter days on market, and less dire situations for sellers. It’s a great time to purchase, especially if your plans are to stay in your new home for 3 to 5 years. By that point I think the market will have returned to the normal pace of gradual appreciation, making real estate a great long term investment.
Just my two cents!