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Ask Adam: 2014 Real Estate Predictions

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This regularly-scheduled Q&A column is sponsored by Adam Gallegos of Arlington-based real estate firm Arbour Realty, voted one of Arlington Magazine’s Best Realtors of 2013 & 2014. Please submit follow-up questions in the via email.

Question: We’ll be selling our home and buying a new one in Arlington this year. What do you see on the horizon in 2014.

As I did at the beginning of 2013, I’ll provide you with 5 predictions and we can see how they unfold over the next 12 months.

1. Boost to luxury market — In 2013, buyer demand was greater than housing supply in many segments of the Arlington market. Competition for homes placed upward pressure on home prices.

I expect that rising prices will start to make it more attractive for current homeowners like yourself to consider selling this year. The trickle up effect should spur additional sales in the upper price brackets.

*Free tool for evaluating what your home is worth: http://Ask-Adam.SmartHomePrice.com/

2. More competition for the jumbo market — As the real estate market improves across the country, I am expecting more investors and banks to offer “jumbo” financing, or loans over the Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac loan limit (currently $625k). As more companies offer this financing, greater competition is expected, most likely translating to such consumer benefits as better rates, more frequent approvals and improved customer service. This will be especially important if Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac decide to reduce the loan limit of conventional loans back to $417k.

With the average sales price in Arlington currently at $564,541, keeping jumbo loans affordable is highly important for the ongoing health of our local real estate market.

3. Continued investment purchasing — Contrary to a prediction made by Trulia, I don’t expect investor activity to slow down in Arlington in 2014. Prices are certainly no longer at the bottom of the market, which would be the ideal time to purchase an investment property, but I don’t expect that to hold back investors who are forecasting continued growth. Just as investors purchase stocks at all phases of the market.

4. At least one condo conversion — You probably remember in 2006 when would-be-condos like Joule, IO Piazza, Zoso, Vista and Palatine all converted to rental apartments. As large investors take notice of demand outpacing supply for condos in Arlington, I expect at least one rental apartment building in Arlington to convert to a condo in 2014.  If this happens, others are likely to follow.

5. South Arlington sales take off — There are two new townhouse developments and a condo building on Columbia Pike that are getting ready to begin sales. I expect both of these developments to sell as quickly as they are willing to release homes to the market. Not to mention growing demand for neighborhoods like Penrose that are becoming a hot alternative for buyers who want a house, but can only afford a condo along the Orange Line. Could the volume of sales in the 22204 zip code outpace popular North Arlington zip codes like 22207, 22201, 22203, 22209? I think so.

I wish you all a wonderful 2014! You can look forward to my articles on a weekly basis this year so please keep the questions coming. Email is always the best way to send them to me.

The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

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