Friday, May 25, 2012


One of the common phrases we operate by and say on a frequent basis when we are out looking at homes with you or talking about selling your home is "When expectations don't meet reality there is frustration."
One of our main goals is to set realistic expectations not only about the home buying/selling process and the market but also what you can expect from us.

One of the ways we try to do this - especially regarding the current real estate market - is by offering you the most up-to-date information and statistics we can. To try and make it as convenient and accessible as possible we also offer all of this information on our website (You can access it by clicking here).
All of these statistics allow us to educate and help you set realistic expectations when you set to write an offer or begin reviewing offers on your home. A great example that highlights what the market is doing and what a home will realistically sell for is the Average Sold Price to Original List Price ratio graph. 
If you didn't know we are currently in a seller's market in the DC area as we are experiencing low inventory in most price ranges and home types and that is matched with low interest rates which is attracting more buyers.

If you are looking to buy you'll likely ask us at some point what will this house likely sell for?
More than likely we'll send you Average Sold Price to Original List Price ratio graph along with area comps to try and help you see what percentage of the original list price this home will likely sell for. To further highlight this I've included Average Sold Price to Original List Price ratio graphs for Northern Virginia, Washington DC and the Maryland Suburbs.

As you'll see if you are looking to put in an offer on a home that just went on the market more than likely that home will sell for close to 100% of its list price and with each 10 day period after there is a slight reduction in the percentage. If you have questions about this or are looking to purchase a home or sell please don't hesitate to call or email us at any time.

Friday, May 18, 2012

April 2012 - Market Update

Pricing in the DC Metro Area continued recent positive trends with a year-over-year median sale price gain of 11.2 percent, the highest annual gain in over six years. Active inventory remains low compared to demand, with only 3.2 months of supply. This not only put upward pressure on pricing, but resulted in significant declines in days on market prior to sale and the percent of sold price vs original list price at settlement. These are just a few of of the key trends that we are seeing from April sales. Here are the other key trends that we are seeing:
All the talk of a looming shadow inventory of distressed properties apparently did not offset the effect of a limited supply of available inventory and historically low interest rates, as the median sale price for the DC Metro Area rose 11.2 percent over the April 2011 level to $371,500. This represented the largest year-over-year gain in median sale price since January 2006 and marked the third consecutive month of annual gains in this indicator.  The year-to-date median sale price is $337,000, 6.7 percent higher than the $316,000 YTD level through April 2011. Every jurisdiction in the region has seen an increase in YTD median sale price, led by Falls Church (+23.3 percent), Arlington (+12.4 percent) and Fairfax City (+11.7 percent). 

Closed Sales
Along with continued low inventory compared to demand, the composition of the sold inventory was a factor in the pricing increases in April 2011. Year-over-year gains in detached property sales outpaced annual gains in attached property (townhome + condo/co-op) sales.  The 1,910 detached property sales were up 10 percent over April 2011 while the 1,858 attached property sales represented a modest 3.9 percent year-over-year increase. The number of closed sales in April represents a 7 percent increase over the April 2011 level and 12.7 percent increase over March (outpacing the ten-year average March to April increase of 8.4 percent). The year-to-date total of 12,323 closed sales is down slightly – 1 percent – compared to the 12,448 sales through April 2011.
New Contracts
The 5,663 new contract agreements signed in April represent a 9.5 percent increase over April 2011 and were 11.0 percent higher than the five-year April average. This level of contract activity was essentially flat with the number of new contracts in March (5,671), going against the normal pattern for this time of year: The ten-year average March to April change is +7.4 percent.
New Listings
The 6,280 new listings in April represented a 14 percent decline vs. those entered in April 2011, marking the 11th year-over-year decline in new listings in the last 12 months. Notably, the level of new listing activity in April represents a 9.1 percent decrease compared to the 6,909 new listings in March. This is only the 2nd time in ten years that there were fewer new listings in April than March, the ten-year average trend is a 7.6 percent increase in new listings. The last time there was a March-to-April decline in new listing activity was 2006, when new listings dropped 2.9 percent month-over-month.

Active Inventory
So how does the supply level look heading into May? The 10,652 active listings at the end of April were 31.5 percent lower than the same point last year. Supply is tight relative to demand across the board, but especially so in the more moderately priced attached home segments. Months of inventory, or the number of months it would take for the current inventory to be sold given the last twelve months’ average sales rate, is 3.2 months. The amount of active townhomes relative to demand is the lowest, with only 2.2 months of supply; the detached market has 3.8 months of supply.

Impact on Seller Success
Low inventory relative to demand is advantageous to practical home sellers, and declines in Days on Market and seller concessions to buyers are a predictable result.  The Average Days on Market (DOM) of 70 days was eight days lower than April 2011. The amount of original list price received at sale (SP to OLP ratio) was 95.6 percent in April, the second highest level since August 2007, further evidence that the DC Metro Area is a seller’s market.

Friday, May 11, 2012

From the Headlines....The Bidding Wars

For anyone that we've been out looking at homes with or has a home on the market - one of the biggest stories in the metro area is the inventory levels. At the end of first quarter in 2012, the Washington area had 24.4% less inventory than at the end of the 2011 first quarter.

This lack of inventory combined with low interest rates and the Washington area's relatively stable job market that is attracting people has increased the number of buyers that are currently looking to purchase - thus the bidding wars.

We have seen this first hand as many of the offers we have worked on for buyers over the past few months we are in competition with 2,3 sometimes 4 other competing offers and for sellers that we represent we are negotiating through several offers.

For more insight on this both locally and on a national level, check out the  graph on the above and take a few minutes to read the Wall Street Journal article here.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Home check up: May Edition

"April showers bring May flowers" - This may hold true in other parts of the country but for the Washington area, May is typically the wettest month of the year and a great time to do some housekeeping when it comes to your home's water defense.
The Washington Post had a great article (link is below) highlighting a few areas to check during this rainy month. 

Deal with rain runoff
Between rain showers, the weather can be glorious. Use this yin-yang to good advantage.
-- When it's pouring, watch how rain runs off your roof. If water cascades over the edges, the gutters might need cleaning. Even if you cleared them in the fall, there can be build-up over winter from evergreens, which shed needles year-round, and from trees such as oaks that take a long time to shed leaves.
-- Once the gutters are clear, check whether water still spills over the top. If so, you need more downspouts; call a company that installs gutters.
-- Watch how water empties from the gutters. If it splashes back onto the home's siding or puddles next to the foundation, divert the water farther away, usually at least 10 feet. You might need underground piping that leads to a dry well (an underground pit filled with round rocks), which a landscaper can install. Or you can pipe the water to a rain garden, a bed with fluffy soil and water-loving plants.

Test the sump pump
If your home has a sump pump to keep the basement dry, check the owner's manual for maintenance recommendations. In most cases, you just need to unplug the pump and clear debris in the sump pump pit or tank. Clean the screen, too, if there is one. Plug the pump back in, pour water into the pit, and check that the pump switches on and draws down the water.

Clean or buy a dehumidifier
With humid summer days soon on the way, now's the time to make sure you have an operating dehumidifier to combat musty odors in a basement or back room. Dehumidifiers operate most efficiently when their coils are clean. To clear dust and other debris, remove screws on the cover, lift the casing and go over the coils with a soft brush. If the unit has an air filter, wash it in warm water with a little dish detergent, rinse and let it dry. Also wash out the bucket. Cleaning coils is usually an annual chore. Wash the filter monthly and the bucket every few weeks, or even more often if mildew is a problem.

Let in fresh air

Celebrate springtime by washing and patching window screens so you can open your house up to fresh air. Wash the screens outdoors on a lawn (not on the driveway, where the runoff might go directly into a storm-water system) or in a bathtub. Use a soft brush or a sponge and warm, soapy water. Rinse with clear water, allow to dry, then reinstall.
If you spot small holes in the screens, go to a hardware store and buy self-stick patches or a short length of screen material for DIY patches. Cut the patches about a half-inch oversize in all directions and sew them on with a needle and either standard thread or fishing line. If there are large rips, get the screens replaced. Some hardware stores offer this service, or go to a window or screen shop.

For the complete article: