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Ask Adam: Spring Real Estate Market

Editor’s Note: This monthly sponsored Q&A column is written by Adam Gallegos of Arlington-based real estate firm Arbour Realty. Please submit follow-up questions in the comments section or via email.

What should we expect from the spring real estate market in Arlington?

It feels like spring is already here in some ways. The sun is out and daytime temperatures have been hovering around the mid 50’s. Buyer demand is as high as I have seen it in recent years. People are even showing up to open houses. This is unusual for February.

Besides the cherry blossoms, the only thing missing is housing inventory. For example, I started working with a new client about three weeks ago. He wants a one-bedroom condo in Clarendon within a generous price range. There are lots of those, right? Unfortunately not. We have yet to look at a single home, because there are not any available for him to even consider.

In recent years we kept our fingers crossed for buyer demand to pick up. We now have ready, willing and able buyers, but not enough homes to go around.

Home owners have long been conditioned to believe that spring is the best time of year to sell a home. I’m hoping that the current drought of housing inventory in Arlington will soon be quenched by home owners throughout town that are simply biding their time until the “spring market” before they list their homes. Personally, I’ve been advising potential sellers to get their homes on the market as soon as possible — while competition is low.

Where are the current home buyers coming from?

We are all aware that mortgage interest rates are at all time lows. What you may not be aware of is that rental rates have been climbing to record-breaking numbers in Arlington. For a mid-range two-bedroom apartment in Clarendon you could easily be looking at $3,500 per month. Because of low interest rates and high rental rates, it’s not hard for many would-be-renters to build a case for transitioning to home ownership.

Does this also affect the higher end market?

I think it does. I call it trickle-up economics. For example: Sarah sells her condo in Ballston to a first time homebuyer so she can purchase a townhouse in Rosslyn. Jim sells Sarah his townhouse in Rosslyn so he can purchase his dream home in Lyon Village. As you can see in this example, the sale of Sarah’s condo to a first time home buyer, trickled-up to affect the purchase of a higher priced home in Lyon Village.

Advice for Home Buyers

If you are considering a home purchase in Arlington, I recommend taking all the time you need to find the perfect home, but be prepared to move quickly when you find the one you like. Complete your mortgage application and have a pre-approval letter ready to go. Make sure you are receiving notifications of new listings as soon as properties become available. Talk to your Realtor about ways you can strengthen your offer outside of price and about trying to find homes not already on the market.

Advice for Home Sellers

If you are considering selling a home in Arlington, you must first understand that though you have momentum on your side, this is not time to be lazy or unrealistic. You are going to get more money for your home and sell it quicker if it is move-in ready. Take time to make all the fixes that are going to come up in a home inspection anyway. Pick a price that will likely bring you a contract within 30 days, without having to make adjustments. The last thing you want is a stale listing that everyone assumes there is something wrong with.

Please Ask Questions

As a regular contributor on ARLnow.com, I would like the opportunity to answer any questions you have about real estate, the local market and Arlington in general. Answers will be posted in upcoming articles.

Please feel free to post questions below or send them to me at [email protected].

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