Fall Market Set to Kick-Off as Summer Comes to Close Low Inventory,
Housing Prices Are "On Trend" in Northern Virginia
Fairfax - "As the leaves begin to fall, so might housing inventory, but Northern Virginia Realtors® still expect buyer and seller activity to pick-up this season," said Christine Richardson, president of the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors® (NVAR) and an agent with Weichert, Realtors® in Great Falls, Va
"Housing inventory has been steadily declining since 2015 and is continuing to fall," Richardson said. "In August of 2018, we had 3,874 homes on the market for sale in Northern Virginia, whereas last month we had only 2,591 properties on the market, which is a 33% drop in inventory."
That decline is even steeper in the areas closest to Amazon HQ2, Richardson added. Arlington County had a 52% drop in homes for sale and the City of Alexandria's inventory dropped almost 64% from last year.
"This [low inventory] is not something that emerged all of a sudden. This is not something that happened because Amazon HQ2 was announced in November. This is a continuation of the trend," said Dr. Terry Clower, director of the George Mason University Center for Regional Analysis, which partners with NVAR to produce market forecast reports, at the NVAR 2019 Economic Summit on Sept. 5.
The average sale price in the NVAR region in August was $609,193, an increase of 3.5% above the August 2018 average of $588,724. The NVAR region covers Fairfax and Arlington counties, the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax and Falls Church and the towns of Vienna, Herndon and Clifton.
"It's a busy market, but buyers and their Realtors® are educated and cautious," Richardson said. "Despite low interest rates and falling inventory, we're not seeing dramatically escalating prices."
Low inventory invokes affordability concerns in the region, but Northern Virginia isn't alone in that challenge. Affordable housing inventory is a nationwide problem, and buyers across the country are adjusting to these constraints, Ryan Conrad, NVAR CEO explained. "Based on research from the National Association of Realtors®, consumers are staying in homes longer, skipping "starter" homes, and even purchasing with non-related roommates," Conrad said.
"We are seeing more first-time buyers investing with a friend or family member in order to be able to afford the purchase," Richardson commented. "I am currently working with several first-time buyers in their 30s who are looking for something with at least two bedrooms and two baths, so they can rent out a room to help cover their new mortgage payment."
As buyers adjust to the market, so does the region. In the past year since Amazon HQ2 was announced, local jurisdictions and political leaders have been working towards a regional housing initiative, Stephanie Landrum, president and CEO of the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership, said at the NVAR 2019 Economic Summit.
"We are looking at Amazon not as a cause, but as a catalyst for having this serious regional discussion," Landrum said. "Our communities ... are committed to growth, not just commercially but residentially. We recognize that we each have a stake in helping to solve what is a demand and also a volume issue."