Last week thousands of REALTORS from around the United States descended upon Washington to attend the National Association of REALTORS Midyear Legislative Meetings and Trade Expo ("Midyear"). While most stayed at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel or Omni Shoreham Hotel where the meetings were held, I crossed the Potomac River back and forth each day from Northern Virginia to attend sessions, explore the trade expo and most importantly talk to and learn from real estate professionals around the country.
I've been attending these conferences for several years now and always find it enlightening to discuss the current state of real estate market with real estate agents and brokers from other areas. Last week, I had the chance to talk with agents from Colorado, Tennessee, Connecticut, New Hampshire, California, Ohio, Florida, Rhode Island, Utah, and at least a dozen other states.
So, what did I conclude?
YOU (homeowners, sellers, buyers, and real estate agents alike) should thank your lucky stars that you're in the Northern Virginia Real Estate Market!
At Midyear, invariably, agents from other parts of the country told me about severely depressed prices, lots of distressed properties, overwhelming supplies of home inventory on the market, agents leaving the business in droves, continuing job losses, and a general malaise and for lack of a better word, crappiness within the real estate market.
An agent from New Hampshire told me that 65% of his market is foreclosures -- that's not even to mention the short sales. In Northern Virginia, approximately 20% of the overall market is foreclosures AND short sales -- and those numbers are much less in close-in suburbs like Arlington, Alexandria, and Falls Church.
Take a look at this map of the United States showing the percentage of the real estate market state by state that consists of distressed properties (foreclosures and short sales):
Compare Virginia's 27% rate (Northern Virginia is much lower than the state overall) with California's 52%, Nevada's 69%, Arizona's 56% and Florida's 46%. Where would you rather live if you were trying to sell your home? As you know, distressed properties have a great impact on lowering home values across the board.
California and Ohio agents described markets with 8-10 months of inventory, while a Florida attendee informed us of over a year's worth of condos on the market in South Florida. In contrast, most markets in Northern Virginia have 3 to 4 months worth of inventory and are very robust!
Last week, a nationwide report released by Zillow indicated large drops in home values. Zillow's report is based on its Home Value Index, which is defined as the mid-point (median) of their Zestimate valuations for the US. Half the Zestimates are above this number and half are below it. This index is down 8.2% year over year. They show the "Washington market" as down 7% as well. What's amazing is Zillow's median sold price is UP 4.9% year over year.
Let's take a look at real median sold price data from the local D.C. area markets based on data gleaned from the multiple listing service.
Northern Virginia: +0.18%
Alexandria City: +23.12%
Arlington County: +8.72%
Fairfax County: +4.23%
Loudoun County: -4.0%
Prince William County: -6.29%
Washington DC : +7.33%
Whether you are looking to buy or sell in Northern Virginia, look up in the night sky tonight, and thank your lucky stars!
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