Monday, July 30, 2012

Kitchen Countertop Primer

One of the essential elements to a kitchen remodel is the countertops and there are plenty of options to choose from. From white marble and natural wood grains to dyed concrete and recycled glass, the choices for the consumer grow each and every year. Cultivate, the kitchen blog for Williams & Sonoma recently posted an easy guide to countertops highlighting eight of the more popular options available currently and the article is a great resource if you are currently remodeling or thinking about it in the coming year. For the complete article click here.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

June 2012 - Market Update

Median sale prices continue to climb through most of the Washington Metro Area as the price has reached $400,000 for the first time in four years.  Price gains, decreasing days-on-market (average down 10 days from June 2011), and a tightening sale-to-list price ratio (up 2.0 percentage points from June 2011) are evidence that the diminishing inventory of homes for sale in the region is having an impact on the market. As we have seen throughout the past year the active inventory in the metro area is historically low posting its 16th consecutive month of year-over-year declines in active listings, and the pattern appears to be holding as new listings in June are at a historic low.  Yet the condo market is showing signs of strength, outpacing detached homes and townhomes in June on year-over-year growth in sales, median price gains, and new contracts.

Here are some of the key trends from June 2012:

    The Washington, DC Metro Area posted 4,665 sales in June, a 5.7 percent increase from June 2011, and the third consecutive month with year-over-year gain in sales.  Despite the continuing gains over last year, the month-over-month growth is somewhat muted.  The 4.2 percent growth in sales between May and June is well below the 10-year May to June average of 14.1 percent.  This is likely attributed to the accelerated winter and spring selling seasons in the region resulting from mild temperatures and pent up housing demand.  Many buyers may have purchased homes earlier than expected due to these conditions.  Sales of detached homes grew 3.6 percent compared to last year, and townhome sales increased 2.7 percent.  The largest growth occurred in the condo segment.  The 1,133 condo sales in June represent a 13.9 percent increase from last year, and the second consecutive month of double digit year-over-year growth.

    The median sale price for the metro area has reached $400,000 for the first time in four years.  Metro-wide, the median sales price grew by 5.3 percent compared to last year, the fifth consecutive month of year-over-year gains.  The last time the median sales price reached the $400,000 mark was June of 2008.  With the exception of Falls Church City, VA, all jurisdictions in the region experienced year-over-year growth in median sales price in June.  At $413,000, Montgomery County, MD led the way posting an 8.4 percent increase compared to the June 2011 level of $381,150. The condo market experienced the sharpest growth with the median sales price rising 12.0 percent from this time last year, a $30,000 increase in value.  Year-to-date medians are also on the rise, up 7.5 percent to $360,000 for the metro area.

    There were 5,086 contracts signed in June in the DC Metro Area, down 9.1 percent from the 5,593 contracts last month, and slightly below the June 2011 level of 5,124.  This is the first year-over-year decline in new contracts in 14 months.  Historically speaking, new contract volumes have declined between May and June nine out of the past ten years in the metro area, however this is the sharpest decline since 2007.  The condo market is the only property segment to post year-over-year growth in this category, rising 5 percent compared to June 2011.  Contracts on detached houses fell 1.2 percent, and townhomes fell 4.8 percent from last year.  New contracts on all property types are down from last month.  

    Active listings in the Washington DC Metro Area continue to shrink, with June volume of new listings at historic low.  There were 10,374 active listings in the DC Metro Area at the end of June, 33.2 percent below June 2011, and 32.2 percent below the 10-year June average of 15,291.  This is the 16th consecutive month of year-over-year declines in active inventory.  The same trend can be observed with new listings.  In fact, the 5,588 new listings entered in June are the lowest June-level RBI has on record, with metro-wide data available back to 1997.  The diminishing volume will continue to put upward pressure on prices, and if buyer demand continues to pick up, average days-on-market and sale-to-list ratios will likely tighten.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Summer Energy Tips

The summer of 2012 has been brutal in terms of temperatures and those high temps are usually accompanied by high energy bills at the end of each month. To help ease those end of the month concerns, here are 9 ways to cut your summer energy costs.