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Market Statistics: May, 2019

Northern Virginia Home Prices in Full Bloom; May Market Reflects Continued Spring Growth Cycle

Homebuyers in Northern Virginia Push Prices to Record Peak; NVAR/GMU-CRA Forecast Adjusted to Reflect Region’s HQ2 Effect

Fairfax – A dramatic first-quarter uptick in sales activity prompted a revised 2019 housing market forecast by the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors® (NVAR), in partnership with the George Mason University Center for Regional Analysis (GMU-CRA).

“Escalating prices and a diminishing number of available homes for sale combined to cause us to revisit 2019 projections for our NVAR market footprint,” said NVAR President Christine Richardson of Weichert, Realtors®. Members of an NVAR/GMU-CRA forecast focus group reconvened in March to reconsider regional market projections that were made in November 2018. The NVAR region covers Fairfax and Arlington counties, the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax and Falls Church and the towns of Vienna, Herndon and Clifton.

Median prices of homes sold in Arlington County are expected to show a 17.2 percent year-over-year increase by the end of 2019, announced GMU-CRA Director Dr. Terry Clower at the June 7, 2019 NVAR Finance Summit. This reflects a significant change from the NVAR/GMU-CRA original 2019 projected year-over-year increase of 5.1 percent. The median sale price in Arlington County in May was $615,000, a 9.82 percent increase compared to May 2018.

“This is a market response to the Amazon HQ2 announcement with investors competing with residents for a shrinking number of homes for sale. The price gains we foresee do not reflect an overall bubble in housing prices but rather reflect the specific circumstances of our current market” Clower said.

The Fairfax County median sale price is expected to see a 2019 year-over-year gain of about 7 percent, Clower said. This is more than double the original 3.1 percent projected year-over-year growth.

“The average sold price to original list price ratio in May was 99.9 percent for the NVAR region, and over 100 percent in both Arlington and Alexandria,” said Richardson. “Ratios at that level reflect a housing market with multiple offers on the table, and that’s what we’re continuing to see.”

Regarding possible limits on how high prices will climb, Clower said that mortgage qualification is the biggest restraint. “Our folks in the lending industry are constrained by the notion that they expect that [buyers are]actually able to pay [the loan] back.”

For the second consecutive month, the number of homes sold in the NVAR region reached a 14-year high. Buyers in the NVAR market closed on 2,381 homes in May – the highest number of May total sales since 2005, when there were 3,213 homes sold.

The pace of sales continued to climb in May, with homes selling within an average of 27 days on market (DOM).

“With average days on market down 42 percent compared with last May, the result is less than one month of inventory in some areas,” said NVAR Board Member Ritu Desai, of Samson Properties.

“Speculation on higher pricing once Amazon settles in the region has caused many sellers not to sell their homes now,” said Desai. “While the number of potential buyers entering the housing market in the Northern Virginia region is rising, the ripple impact of low inventory and high demand has caused a tough market for them,” she said.

Clower explained that some homeowners have also decided that since Amazon is coming, maybe they can live in their house a bit longer and then convert it to a rental property.

“I’m really concerned about the number of ownership to rental conversions we may have going forward, particularly as valuations get higher,” Clower said.

Based on revised projections, the number of available homes for sale in Fairfax County is expected to be down 10.2 percent at the end of 2019. The decline was previously projected to be just 2.4 percent.

“Arlington inventory has fallen off a cliff,” Clower said, and is expected to be down by 18.8 percent at the end of 2019. The original forecast showed a 7 percent year-end decline.

The number of available homes in Alexandria is expected to show a year-end decline of 37.5 percent in 2019. Previously, that decline was projected at 0.6 percent.

“Buyer interest is not likely to decline in the near term,” said NVAR CEO Ryan Conrad. “Employment across the D.C. Metro region continues to be healthy, and our partners at GMU-CRA tell us that almost all of the regional job growth is happening here in Northern Virginia.”

Panelists at the June 7 NVAR Finance Summit noted that much of the new Amazon recruiting will focus on international prospects, Conrad explained. “Our members are prepared to work with all newcomers to our region, and many local Realtors® have already earned their Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) designation or are planning to do so at NVAR later this year,” said Conrad.

Mortgage rates continue to be a potential motivating factor for prospective homebuyers. Average rates on both 30-year fixed and 15-year mortgages dropped on Tuesday, to 3.99 percent and 3.25 percent respectively.

May 2019 Regional Home Sales Compared to May 2018: Northern Virginia
Data as of June 6, 2019

A total of 2.381 homes sold in May 2019, a decrease of 3.17 percent below May 2018 home sales of 2,459.

Active listings decreased this month compared with 2018. Listings were down by about 23 percent below last year, with 2,916 active listings in May, compared with 3,790 homes available in May 2018. The average DOM for homes in May was 27 days, a decrease of 42.55 percent compared to the 47 DOM for homes in May 2018.

The average home sale price rose by 3.04 percent compared with last May, to $626,345. The May 2018 average price was $607,886.

The median sold price of homes this May, which was $552,750, rose by 2.84 percent compared to the median price of $537,500 in May 2018.

Source: https://www.nvar.com/services/news/market-statistics/market-statistics-may-2019

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After the Contract Is Signed, Fair Housing Law Continues

Each year, we remind our members that April is Fair Housing Month. To many, it may feel as though the struggles for Fair Housing are in our rearview mirror, but the disheartening reality is that housing discrimination is still very present throughout our nation. Virginia REALTORS® encourages its members to continue promoting the Fair Housing Act, helping to ensure industry practices are fair and equal to all.

Often times, it is assumed that the FHA is relevant only to the process of attaining housing; however, the law doesn’t end upon the signing of a mortgage or rental lease. The National Association of REALTORS® has highlighted a recent court case regarding a rental tenant who was harassed by another tenant: Francis v. Kings Park Manor, Inc.

The FHA requires landlords to protect their tenants from known discrimination. The law imposes a duty on landlords to prevent any tenant-on-tenant discrimination. NAR has provided the following summary for the Francis v. Kings Park Manor, Inc. case. We hope this case study will shed light on implementing the FHA in real-world scenarios.

Source: The National Association of REALTORS®

An African American individual (“Tenant”) leased an apartment in a multi-unit apartment complex (“Complex”) managed by a property management company (“Manager”). After moving onto the property, another resident (“Harasser”) began directing derogatory comments towards the Tenant, including profanity and racist comments. He also harassed the Tenant in the Complex’s parking lot.

The Tenant called the police about the Harasser’s behavior. The police came to the Complex, interviewed witnesses, and warned the Harasser to stop his behavior. The police also told the Manager about the Harasser’s actions. The Manager did not take any action.

Subsequently, the Tenant filed another complaint with the police about the Harasser and alerted the Manger directly about the alleged harassment. The Manager again did nothing. The Harasser continued his behavior, and the police arrested him for harassment. The Tenant again notified the Manager about the harassment, but nothing was done. The Tenant notified the Manager a third time, but nothing happened and the Harasser was allowed to remain at the Complex until his lease expired. The Harasser later pleaded guilty to harassment and a protective order was entered prohibiting him from contacting the Tenant.

The Tenant filed a lawsuit against the Manager, alleging violations of the FHA, New York’s fair housing laws, and various other causes of action related to the emotional trauma resulting from the harassment. The trial court entered judgment in favor of the Manager on the FHA claims, and the Tenant appealed.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed the trial court and ruled that the Manager could have a duty to intervene when it knows of tenant-on-tenant racial harassment. Since this was a novel claim, the court consulted with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) about its views on a landlord’s potential liability and HUD pointed to its rules, arguing that the court should recognize limited claims against landlords arising from tenant-on-tenant racial harassment.

The court examined the FHA and found that the law supported imposing a duty on landlords to prevent tenant-on-tenant discrimination. First, the court determined that the FHA was not limited to preventing discrimination during the buying or leasing of property- instead, the FHA was intended to end all forms of discrimination that interfered with an individual’s enjoyment of their housing, not just those arising from the sale or lease of property.

Next, court looked at whether the FHA imposed liability on a landlord for failing to prevent tenant-on-tenant discrimination when it is on notice that it is occurring. Only one other federal circuit had considered this issue, but HUD’s rules could impose liability on a housing provider when a third-party is creating a hostile environment for a resident that the housing provider is on notice about but fails to take prompt action.

The court accepted HUD’s interpretation of the FHA in its rules and ruled that a housing provider could be liable for failing to prevent tenant-on-tenant discrimination when it is on notice that the discrimination is occurring. Therefore, the court reversed the trial court and sent the case back to the lower court for further proceedings on whether the Manager had an obligation to stop the tenant-on-tenant discrimination in the Complex.

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5 Ways to Leverage Your Lender to Help Buyers Win!

Limited inventory has more buyers competing in the marketplace and asking sellers to “pick me.” And, those buyers “not picked” are left feeling they missed out on their dream home. So, how can you leverage your lender to position your buyers for success?

  • Have your buyers meet with a local lender that you trust. Applying online for a mortgage is great if your buyer has done this before. First time buyers benefit from having a face to face conversation with their lender. Meeting in person has proven to reduce stress, build trust and instill confidence. There are many loan programs with differing rates, payments and cash needed at closing. Getting all their questions answered and finding out which option is best requires more time than emails and phone calls allow. Although there are no bad loan programs, there are certainly programs that don’t match up to the best interest of every buyer. An educated client makes a better buyer!
  • Get your buyers pre-approved (not just pre-qualified) before you make an offer on a home. A pre-approval is a conditional commitment to lend and means that an underwriter has reviewed the buyers documentation and has determined that it meets the requirements of the loan program. Granted, there could be issues with the home (title, condition or value), but the bulk of the loan review has already taken place. A pre-approval letter will put your buyers at ease and make the offer look stronger in the eyes of the seller. 
  • Make the closing date sooner rather than later. Everyone wins with a fast closing (say 2 weeks)! Consider a rent back if the seller needs more time to vacate the property. The seller gets their proceeds early, the buyer may get rental income to offset expenses, and both agents receive their commissions quickly. If you forgo a quick close, work with a lender that will allow you to remove contingencies quickly!
  • Ensure that the lender reaches out to the listing agent to share that the buyer’s file has been reviewed by an underwriter and sets a communication schedule highlighting milestones for both agents.
  • Reinforce with your buyer the need to do what the lender requests – get documents to the lender asap, do not make any changes to income, assets, or debts, and not to open or close credit accounts. 

Have you thought about creating a “one stop shop” experience? Surveys show that today’s consumers, especially millennials, prefer this. You, the agent, are almost always the first point of contact. If you can assure the homebuyer that you have the ability to shepherd them through the process from pre-approval, to contract, to home inspection, and to settlement, you have a greater chance of them becoming your client.

Source: https://www.nvar.com/public/news/blogs-multimedia/default-blog-page/real-estate-news/2018/08/01/5-ways-to-leverage-your-lender-to-help-your-buyers-win!

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Amazon’s Second Headquarters Will Impact Virginia’s Housing Market

Following Amazon’s announcement that Arlington, VA will split duties with New York City to house their second headquarters, Virginia REALTORS® is preparing to begin working with state and local policy makers to ensure the housing needs of Amazon’s future employees—estimated at more than 25,000—will be met.

“We are very excited to welcome Amazon to Virginia. These types of moves can be transformative for the Commonwealth and her localities, and we look forward to working with state and local lawmakers to help provide insight and resources to assist in this exciting transformation,” says Virginia REALTORS® 2018 President Jay Mitchell.

Hiring will begin in the coming year, so housing will be in immediate demand. Lisa Sturtevant, Chief Economist for Virginia REALTORS® says, “With more than 25,000 workers added to the Virginia economy, there will be significant demand for housing in the greater national capital and outlying regions. It is important for the public and private sectors to work together to ensure there is an adequate supply of available and affordable housing for both new workers and existing residents.”

As the state’s largest professional trade association, Virginia REALTORS® is also preparing to offer insight and analysis on this type of economic impact. Beckwith Bolle, incoming 2019 President of Virginia REALTORS®, lives and works in Northern Virginia. “This is an exciting announcement for REALTORS® in and around Northern and North Central Virginia,” she says. “Our association will work with policy makers to help support economic growth and vibrant communities.”

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Learn more about DC Home Ownership Programs

DC has long valued the importance of home-ownership, which is why programs such as HPAP exist. The District has also made affordable housing a priority, not necessarily just for the lowest income residents, but for a variety of income groups.

Here is a quick look at some of the city’s housing programs, who they effect and how they might be able to help you own a home.

First-Time Home-buyer Tax Benefit

Thanks in part to the work of DCAR, DC now has a tax benefit in place for first-time homebuyers once again. The First-Time Homebuyer Tax Benefit lowers the recordation tax for qualified DC residents to 0.725%, as of October 2017.

Home Purchase Assistance Program (HPAP)

HPAP provides interest-free loans and closing cost assistance to qualified applicants looking to purchase a home. Depending on the borrower’s income, payments are deferred for five years or longer.

DC Open Doors (DCOD)

DC Open Doors offers fully forgivable second-trust loans, as well as below-market interest rates for first-trust mortgages for the purchase of homes in DC.

Negotiated Employee Assistance Home Purchase Program (NEAHP)

NEAHP provides financial assistance with down payments and closing costs for government employees looking to purchase a home in DC. The aid comes by way of a grant, and it can be up to $26,500 in value.

Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC)

The MCC allows qualified borrowers to claim a Federal Tax Credit of 20% of the mortgage interest paid during each calendar year.

HomeSaver

HomeSaver is a program that provides assistance for unemployed or underemployed DC homeowners who are at risk of losing their homes due to foreclosure or delinquent property taxes.

Home Purchase Rehabilitation Program (HPRP)

HPRP helps first-time homebuyers in the District to purchase homes that require limited repairs to address health, safety and building code violations.

Contact us if are interested in finding out more about this programs. For information





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Maryland Home Prices Continued Their Climb In September

Residential home prices remained strong in September for the eighth month in a row compared to the same period of 2017, according to housing statistics released by Maryland REALTORS®.  Average home prices rose by 4.9 percent, while median prices also rose in September by 3.6 percent as compared to the same time in 2017.

“The average residential home and median sale prices continued their rise for the eighth month in a row,” said Maryland REALTORS® President Merry Tobin.

“While the 3.9 months of available inventory is a negligible increase over the 3.6 months of inventory in 2017, this has the potential to start dampening consumers enthusiasm impacting everyone’s ability to buy or sell.” A 6 month to 6.5 month supply is considered to be a balanced market.

The September 2018 sales total of 6,018 represents a decrease of 10.8 percent from the September 2017 total of 6,743.

The September 2018 statewide median sales price was $ $287,700, an increase of 3.6% percent from the September 2017 median of $ $277,746.

Pending sales decreased 9 percent in September compared to a year ago to reach 6,918. The average days on market for home sales closed during September was 56, a decrease from 66 in September 2017.

The average sale price compared to original list price for September increased to 96.4% from 95.5% in September of 2017.

Maryland monthly housing statistics are compiled by data as reported by MRIS/Bright MLS.

For the purposes of this report, “units” are defined as the closed sales and “pending units” are properties under contract. Months of inventory are based on the current active inventory and monthly sales for the corresponding month.

Click here to download the full stats.

Source: http://www.mdrealtor.org/Publications/Publications/Blog/post/maryland-home-prices-continued-their-climb-in-september

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Market Statistics: September 2018

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 homebuyers 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.”

 

September 2018 Regional Home Sales Compared to September 2017: Northern Virginia

The Northern Virginia Association of Realtors® reports on September 2018 home sales activity for Fairfax and Arlington counties, the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax and Falls Church and the towns of Vienna, Herndon and Clifton.

A total of 1,427 homes sold in September 2018, a decrease of almost 12 percent below September 2017 home sales of 1,620.

Active listings decreased this month compared with 2017. Listings were down 9.32 percent below last year, with 4,134 active listings in September, compared with 4,560 homes available in September 2017. The average days on market (DOM) for homes in September 2018 was 36 days, a decrease of 14.29 percent compared to the 42 DOM for homes in September 2017.

The average home sale price rose compared with last September, to $573,555. This is 3.63 percent above the September 2017 average price of $553,440.

The median sold price of homes this September, which was $494,000, rose by 2.93 percent compared to September 2017, when the median price was $479,950.

The 1,652 new pending home sales in Northern Virginia in September were 5.92 percent fewer than the 1,756 contracts that were pending in September last year. Total pending sales of 2,001 in September were down by 9.78 percent, compared with 2,218 total pending contracts in September 2017.

https://nvar.com/public/news/market-statistics/market-statistics-september-2018

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5 Ways to Leverage Your Lender to Help Your Buyers Win!

Limited inventory has more buyers competing in the marketplace and asking sellers to “pick me.” And, those buyers “not picked” are left feeling they missed out on their dream home. So, how can you leverage your lender to position your buyers for success?

  • Have your buyers meet with a local lender that you trust. Applying online for a mortgage is great if your buyer has done this before. First time buyers benefit from having a face to face conversation with their lender. Meeting in person has proven to reduce stress, build trust and instill confidence. There are many loan programs with differing rates, payments and cash needed at closing. Getting all their questions answered and finding out which option is best requires more time than emails and phone calls allow. Although there are no bad loan programs, there are certainly programs that don’t match up to the best interest of every buyer. An educated client makes a better buyer!
  • Get your buyers pre-approved (not just pre-qualified) before you make an offer on a home. A pre-approval is a conditional commitment to lend and means that an underwriter has reviewed the buyers documentation and has determined that it meets the requirements of the loan program. Granted, there could be issues with the home (title, condition or value), but the bulk of the loan review has already taken place. A pre-approval letter will put your buyers at ease and make the offer look stronger in the eyes of the seller.
  • Make the closing date sooner rather than later. Everyone wins with a fast closing (say 2 weeks)! Consider a rent back if the seller needs more time to vacate the property. The seller gets their proceeds early, the buyer may get rental income to offset expenses, and both agents receive their commissions quickly. If you forgo a quick close, work with a lender that will allow you to remove contingencies quickly!
  • Ensure that the lender reaches out to the listing agent to share that the buyer’s file has been reviewed by an underwriter and sets a communication schedule highlighting milestones for both agents.
  • Reinforce with your buyer the need to do what the lender requests – get documents to the lender asap, do not make any changes to income, assets, or debts, and not to open or close credit accounts.

Have you thought about creating a “one stop shop” experience? Surveys show that today’s consumers, especially millennials, prefer this. You, the agent, are almost always the first point of contact. If you can assure the homebuyer that you have the ability to shepherd them through the process from pre-approval, to contract, to home inspection, and to settlement, you have a greater chance of them becoming your client.

source: https://nvar.com/public/news/blogs-multimedia/default-blog-page/real-estate-news/2018/08/01/5-ways-to-leverage-your-lender-to-help-your-buyers-win!

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Real Estate Roundup!

May new home sales gain 2.2% from April

Sales of new single-family houses in May 2015 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 546,000, which is up 2.2% from April, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. — From Housing Wire

3 ways to tame student loan debt and afford a mortgage

It’s no secret that student loans can make buying a home a challenge. But what exactly is the problem, and how can buyers overcome it? The problem is that student loans can be included in the buyer’s debt-to-income ratio, or DTI. — From Bankrate

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