September Home Sales Dip Compared to Last Year; Average, Median Prices Tick Upwards; Home Sellers Still 'In Driver's Seat,'
Reports the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors®
Fairfax - In spite of a productive local economy, a Federal Reserve edging up interest rates, and inflation making the news, some home buyers may be sidelined by the mortgage application process and lean inventory, reports the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors®.
"Although Northern Virginia sellers remain in the driver's seat, our September data regarding rising home values is a positive indicator to those wondering about market headwinds," said 2018 NVAR Chairman of the Board Lorraine Arora. She pointed out that the average price increase of nearly 4 percent and the 3 percent rise in median sales price provide an encouraging picture for long-term appreciation gains. "Despite the volatility in the stock market and Federal Reserve decisions, homes that are priced and show well are selling, "Arora said. "Today's consumers are savvy and know what they like and do not like and are willing to pay."
Though inventory remains tight, buyers are not rushing to pull the trigger to purchase right now, explained Gary P. Lange, managing broker of Weichert in Vienna.
"The buyers are looking for move-in ready homes with all the bells and whistles," he said. "If a home isn't in tip-top shape, it is sitting. Sellers are trying to get top spring market prices and that just isn't going to happen in fall and winter months. Sellers need to temper their expectations and be willing to do necessary updates to compel buyers to look at their property as 'the home of choice.' If they cannot do that, they need to lower their price.
"We've seen instances where buyers keep a home on the radar and then pounce on it with other potential buyers when the seller lowers the price," he stated. "Advice to buyers would be to make an offer on a home you like while there is no competition and negotiate acceptable terms that work for both parties. In these cases, we are seeing flexibility by sellers," he advised.
Some clients who want to buy are challenged by this region's high prices coupled with rising rates. "We all know that the housing market is the bellwether for how interest rates impact economic growth," said NVAR CEO Ryan Conrad. "Since our region continues to add jobs, this is driving up local housing demand. Due to new construction declines, we see upward pressure on resales. By year's end, we expect sales activity to be on a level with last year's."