I received the following graph from the Virginia Association of Realtors (VAR), from their year end report on 2007:
The graph is examining the number of homes sold (closed transactions) for each area of the Virginia associations. Bars moving to the left show a decrease in solds, to the right show an increase. Note that the Dulles Area Association shows a nearly 10% increase.
The Northern Virginia Association, however, shows an over 10 percent decrease. To me, this further reinforces how local the real estate market is! To clarify, Northern Virginia encompasses Fairfax and eastern Loudoun, largely (it was originally established to cover Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax), and Dulles Area is western Loudoun and points more rural to the west. The graph obviously doesn’t address sold prices, so I’m not focusing on that here, I’m just pointing out that there were more homes sold in the Dulles area in 2007 than in 2006, which runs counter to the doom and gloom we are hearing.
From my personal experience as a Realtor, I can tell you that the market started to change in Loudoun County in the summer of ’05. The typical scenario of list on Friday, open house on Sunday, contract ratified on Monday ended there. It started a change in the market that saw the average days on market for a home slowly creep up from a week or two, to a month or two, to several months. Seller expectations slowly changed, while buyers quickly caught on that they were now, finally, in the driver’s seat. The national media (and many other markets nationwide) didn’t see what was happening, or didn’t experience what was happening, until long after this had already begun here.
What am I seeing now? I’m seeing homes coming on the market in much better condition than during the ‘boom times’. I’m seeing sellers being more diligent in pricing their home correctly; although I’m still seeing some homes coming on market at ridiculously high prices as the owners try a last ditch effort to stave off foreclosure. I’m also suddenly seeing a huge increase in the number of buyers attending open houses, looking at real estate websites, and calling our office for information. Is this a sign of recovery? Definitely too soon to tell. But remember, we didn’t wake up one morning to a buyer’s market, it took months for that to happen. It will take months of buyer interest picking up to bring us back to a balanced market. It will happen, it’s just a matter of time.
If you have questions about the current market, please let me know. I’m here to help!