Northern Virginia Real Estate Spring Market

Just some information that I thought would be useful to anyone in the market to buy or sell this time of year from’s February 2013 national housing data indicates that listing inventories increased 1.15 percent month-over-month; median age of inventory was at 98 days, a 9.26 percent decrease month-over-month; and median list prices were slightly higher month-over-month at $189,900. These numbers show that home buyers are getting an early start on the spring season despite the fact that inventories recently hit record lows.

The median age of inventory was down by 9.26 percent month over month and total listings are up 1.15 percent month over month, suggesting that many reluctant home sellers are starting to take an early advantage of the recent improvements in housing prices. Annual inventory decreases of -15.97 percent are consistent with a gradual, yet persistent downward trend that has been occurring over the last two years. From January 2013 to February 2013, the median age of inventory decreased in 145 of the 146 markets tracked by The national median list price also reversed its downward trend, rising by 1.55 percent over the month of February and 1.01 percent on an annual basis. In addition, the number of markets experiencing a decline in home prices is shrinking, implying more good news for the housing market and U.S. economy at large.

There continue to be pronounced regional differences in the strength of the housing market. Several areas in California are experiencing the highest increases in list prices coupled with the largest inventory declines. Phoenix, Seattle and Denver are also among the top performers across the U.S. However, many smaller industrialized markets in the Midwest and the Northeast registered year-over-year price declines, as did Philadelphia, Chicago and New York City. While the number of markets experiencing year-over-year list price declines had been increasing, this pattern appears to be turning around as home list prices increased in 78 markets last month on a year-over-year basis and declined in 39.

 National Data

  • In February, the total number of      single-family homes, condos, townhomes and co-ops for sale in the U.S.      (1,494,218) increased by 1.15 percent month-over-month. On an annual      basis, however, inventory was down by 15.97 percent.
  • The national median list price for      single-family homes, condos, townhomes and co-ops ($189,900) increased by      1.01 percent year-over-year and 1.55 percent month-over-month in February.
  • The median age of inventory of for      sale listings fell to 98 days in February, down 9.26 percent from January      and 11.71 percent below the median age one year ago (February 2012).

 Here is some information that is on the Local side from

 Local data

Despite rising home prices, it is still cheaper to buy than to rent in DC (along with the 100 largest metros in the country), according to a report published today by Trulia.

In the DC area, buying is 41 percent cheaper than renting, while in the country as a whole, buying is 44 percent cheaper than renting. Last year, according to Trulia, buying was 46 percent cheaper than renting. But this advantage could close up next year, Trulia predicts: with prices rising faster than rents and mortgage rates moving up, the gap should narrow sharply by next year.

“Mortgage rates are likely to rise in the next year as the economy improves, even though they fell in the past year,” said Trulia’s Chief Economist Jed Kolko. “The consensus among macroeconomic forecasters is for 10-year Treasury bonds –which 30-year fixed-rate mortgages track pretty closely – to rise 6 or 7 tenths of a point over the next year. This translates roughly into a 7-9% higher monthly payment for a given mortgage.”

To determine their numbers, Trulia’s team compared the average rent and for-sale prices of an identical set of properties in each city. They considered the monthly costs associated with buying and renting and factored in one-time costs like downpayments and security deposits.

Trulia assumed that owners will have a 3.5 percent mortgage rate on a 30-year mortgage and will stay in their homes for seven years. However, they also created an interactive map to see how the numbers work with different assumptions. For example, if someone in the DC-area has 4.5 percent interest rate on their mortgage and plans on staying in their home for five years, buying is 26 percent cheaper than renting. With plans to move after three years, the advantage drops to five percent.





Now is the Time to Sell Your House

In the real estate industry timing is everything (aside from location, location, location of course). The evenflow of market trends relies on the basic principle of supply and demand. If supply is low and there aren’t a lot of houses for sale then those few that are selling can demand a higher price for their home.

A normal or balanced inventory is 6 months of houses on the market. If there is more than six months it favors the buyers, who have more options. Less than six months favors the sellers, who will see more interest from buyers.

Right now there are around 635 houses for sale in Arlington County. In the last six months there have been 1,182 home sales. Therefore, Arlington County has only 3.2 months of inventory.

This means that it is a seller’s market, and if you have been thinking about selling your house or moving now is the time and the market is just right for you to get a bigger offer on your home.

Virginia Housing Trends
Northern Virginia Real Estate