Arlington, VA

Just Listed highlights Arlington properties that just came on the market within the past week. This feature is written and sponsored by Team Cathell, “Your Orange Line Specialists.”

Generally, our fall market runs strong right up to Thanksgiving and then slows until the first week of January.

It’s unusual for the market to get stronger as it approaches Thanksgiving, although last year the market paid no attention to the holidays. It stayed strong right through to Christmas. It’s looking like this fall might be a repeat.

Perhaps buyers got spooked by rising interest rates this week and decided to ratify on something so they could lock in their rate before it increases further. Early this week rates jumped to 3.875%-4% for a 30-yr fixed rate mortgage, the highest mark in the last three months.

While home buying sentiment runs strong in Arlington, nationally it has waned in the last two months. A new report from Fannie Mae indicates that while still strong, their “home purchase sentiment index” (HPSI) dropped last month by 2.7%. That’s not a big deal, except that its the second month in a row that it’s dropped. There was a 7% decrease in Americans saying it is a good time to buy.

Click to see all the fresh new inventory in MRIS and call Team Cathell (703-975-2500) when you find a home you like.

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Just Listed highlights Arlington properties that just came on the market within the past week. This feature is written and sponsored by Team Cathell, “Your Orange Line Specialists.”

The best way to describe Arlington’s fall real estate market is consistent. It’s not particularly exciting, nor is it ever boring. It just keeps plugging along at a steady pace.

This week mirrors last week with 43 new listings and 44 sales. Of those homes that sold, some 17 were gone within seven days, pushing our average days on market (DOM) down to just 20. At that rate of absorption, and with only 244 homes actively available for sale, we have only 1.4 months of inventory.

The average DOM for those 244 homes still actively for sale is 80. So what makes the difference between 20 DOM for those homes that sold this week compared to 80 DOM for those that haven’t sold yet? Well, it’s more than just location, location, location. It boils down to two things: price and condition.

Pricing a home properly can overcome location and other handicaps. Pricing is the most important factor that sellers can control, followed closely by condition. Buyers today are maxing out their purchasing power just to buy the home. They have no cash left for upgrades. So they want homes that are in pristine condition needing nothing else but love from the new owners.

Arlington’s problem with low inventory is the national story as well. The inventory level nationally has dropped 2.7% from last year’s third quarter, according to a new report from the National Association of Realtors.

The report also shows that our DMV area is ranked 14th among 176 major metro areas in the U.S. for the most expensive homes. Of course San Francisco/San Jose/San Diego rank at the top. But those three areas also saw their home prices drop in the third quarter compared to last year by about 3.5% average. If it’s true that trends start in California, then we all need to pay attention in the months ahead.

Click to see all the fresh new inventory in MRIS and call Team Cathell (703-975-2500) when you find a home you like.

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Just Listed highlights Arlington properties that just came on the market within the past week. This feature is written and sponsored by Team Cathell, “Your Orange Line Specialists.”

First, a huge Congrats to the Nats for winning the World Series for the first time by showing their grit and toughness against the powerful Astros. Simply an outstanding performance. Go Nats!

As we get over our morning-after Halloween sugar rush, we can feel good that Arlington’s real estate market remains robust amid national news that the economy appears to be slowing. This week, home buyers and sellers each did their part to keep our housing market buzzing. Sellers listed 44 homes, and buyers ratified 40 contracts. The average days on market was only 30 for those homes that sold.

The Federal Reserve cut its benchmark rate by 0.25% on Wednesday citing concerns of a slowing U.S. economy. The cut helps reduce consumer short term loan rates on credit cards and car loans. But mortgage rates actually ticked upward a few basis points after the Fed cut. Long term rates like mortgages are influenced by the U.S. Treasury 10-yr bond, not the Fed.

The current rate on 30-yr fixed rate mortgage is 3.75%-3.875% and probably rising. So for those lucky 40 buyers who ratified this week, I would advise them to lock in their rates ASAP if not sooner.

The cool autumn weather brings us beautiful vistas of brilliantly colored trees, but it sometimes also brings us unwanted visitors. Those noises in the attic or your walls aren’t Halloween spirits, but outdoor critters seeking warmth and nesting places. Get them out immediately before they cause more harm and health concerns. After professionals remove the squatters, make sure you properly plug their access routes to prevent them and their friends from coming back. The longer you wait, the more it will cost.

Click to see all the fresh new inventory in MRIS and call Team Cathell (703-975-2500) when you find a home you like.

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Just Listed highlights Arlington properties that just came on the market within the past week. This feature is written and sponsored by Team Cathell, “Your Orange Line Specialists.”

Arlington’s real estate market took a siesta this week. Both buyers and sellers were napping big time.

Sellers listed only 45 homes, and buyers ratified only 36 contracts. What’s up with that? Last October, sellers were averaging 60 new listings a week, and buyers were ratifying 58 contracts.

Mortgage rates did increase earlier this week, then fell back a bit to settle at 3.75% for a 30-yr fixed rate. A year ago, that rate was 4.86%. The gradual drop in interest rates has helped home prices continue to grow.

Nationally, the average price of homes rose 5.9% over last year. In Arlington, detached home prices rose 6%. But Arlington condos are a tale of two markets. Condo prices in North Arlington actually dropped 0.2% as more inventory entered the market, while prices in South Arlington were up 23%. Remember, the Amazon announcement came in November last year.

There’s some good news for veterans. The Veterans Administration has announced that its coveted “no money down” mortgage program will no longer have limits on purchase price. Previously, the 100% loan program capped out at about $726,000 for our area. Soon, there will be no cap. For more information, ask Team Cathell or contact your preferred lender.

Click to see all the fresh new inventory in MRIS and call Team Cathell (703-975-2500) when you find a home you like.

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Just Listed highlights Arlington properties that just came on the market within the past week. This feature is written and sponsored by Team Cathell, “Your Orange Line Specialists.”

Even though we started the week with a travel holiday weekend, buyers really picked up the pace and were busy ratifying 60 contracts. That’s a big boost from last week’s sleepy results of just 45 homes sold.

And sellers did their part by listing 65 homes. Arlington still has a major shortage of inventory, as does most of the country. Arlington currently has only 1.1 months of inventory, not a good situation for buyers.

Mortgage rates started creeping upward last Friday and now are at 3.75% for a 30-yr fixed rate. Mortgage refinance applications increased 4% this week as owners are trying to lock in rates before they increase further. But mortgage purchase applications were down 4% due to short term economic uncertainty and lack of inventory.

A troubling retail sales report released Wednesday showed that consumer spending in September was down for the first time in seven months. The unexpected results indicated sales were down on automobiles, online purchases and building materials raising fears that the decline in the manufacturing sector could be spilling into the broader U.S. economy.

Click to see all the fresh new inventory in MRIS and call Team Cathell (703-975-2500) when you find a home you like.

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Just Listed highlights Arlington properties that just came on the market within the past week. This feature is written and sponsored by Team Cathell, “Your Orange Line Specialists.”

For a second straight week, buyer activity in Arlington’s fall real estate market has performed more like the summer doldrums.

Buyers ratified only 45 contracts this week, a few less than last week’s ho hum results. Sellers however stepped up and listed 62 homes.

A recent report from Redfin indicates that the bidding wars have significantly dropped nationally in the last year from an average of 41% of sales to just 11% last month. San Francisco leads in the bidding wars, followed by San Diego. A year ago, San Francisco had bidding wars in 73% of transactions, but last month that dropped to 32%. San Diego went from 49% to 21%. And our DMV area went from 41% last year to just 9.3% last month. The robust U.S. housing market may be losing its edge.

Federal Reserve meeting notes were released this week indicating the board may NOT be ready to lower its short term rate later this year as the financial markets have anticipated. The board will take a wait and see approach.

The notes also indicated that the board’s concern for the protracted weakness in business investment, manufacturing and exports may be worse than expected. They cited strong employment numbers and continued consumer spending as propping up the U.S. economy.

Meanwhile, mortgage rates have remained fairly stable at 3.625% for a 30-yr fixed rate.

What can you do to create a bidding war on your home? Two dominant themes prevail on those homes that attracted multiple offers:

  1. The homes are updated and in pristine condition, like new with nothing left to do
  2. The homes are priced properly, or maybe even a bit low to attract more buyers

Click to see all the fresh new inventory in MRIS and call Team Cathell (703-975-2500) when you find a home you like.

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Just Listed highlights Arlington properties that just came on the market within the past week. This feature is written and sponsored by Team Cathell, “Your Orange Line Specialists.”

For some unknown reason, Arlington’s real estate market slid back into summertime doldrums this week.

Sellers listed only 46 homes, and buyers ratified only 48 contracts. Some 22 of those homes sold within seven days on the market. Arlington’s inventory has improved a bit to 1.3 months with 257 homes actively for sale. A balanced inventory level is about 5.5 months where it’s neither a buyers nor sellers market. If no additional homes in Arlington went on the market, all 257 active homes would be sold in 1.3 months.

Perhaps some bad economic news this week influenced buyers and sellers. A report indicated that U.S. manufacturing contracted for a second consecutive month in September. U.S. exports are down as several European countries economies are weakening and the U.S.-China trade war is showing its effects.

The manufacturing news, and the incessant impeachment news this week, prompted uncertainty and concern on Wall Street and the Dow Jones dropped 838 points in two days. Some investors are seeking the safety of less risky securities and moving their capital into 10-yr U.S. Treasury bonds which pushes the yield downward.

That’s good for homebuyers, as a lower yield influences lower mortgage rates. The current rate on a 30-yr fixed rate mortgage is 3.625%. With more capital moving into 10-yr bonds, that rate could come down further.

There’s some good news for many, but not all, Arlington home owners. The average value of most homes has gone up since last year, especially for condos in South Arlington. Those home owners enjoyed an average of 23% increase in their condo’s value, from $350,720 in September last year to $431,475 last month. Perhaps Amazon’s announcement had something to do with that. Perhaps.

Owners of detached homes in South Arlington saw their values go up by 6% to an average of $773,681, while owners in North Arlington experienced 6.2% increase to an average of $1,174,865.

Unfortunately, condo owners in North Arlington didn’t fare so well. Their average sales price dropped by 0.2% to just $520,47.

Click to see all the fresh new inventory in MRIS and call Team Cathell (703-975-2500) when you find a home you like.

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Just Listed in Arlington

Just Listed highlights Arlington properties that just came on the market within the past week. This feature is written and sponsored by Team Cathell, “Your Orange Line Specialists.”

Arlington’s real estate market picked up some steam this week after a sluggish start to the fall season.

Sellers listed 69 homes and buyers ratified 61 contracts. These numbers are more in line with previous robust fall numbers. While the U.S. continues its historic economic expansion into the 11th year, there were signs this week of concern. Job growth has slowed, although unemployment remains at a near historic low of just 3.7%. And the consumer confidence index dropped this week.

Economists have cited consumer spending as the main pillar supporting continued economic growth. Well, consumer confidence, as measured by the non-profit Conference Board since 1985 (index started at 100), dropped from 134.2 in August to 125.1 in September. Economists expected a drop, but not that much.

Mortgage rates meanwhile improved early this week and have held at 3.75% for a 30-yr fixed rate.

The improved rate of ratified contracts this week didn’t help our inventory level. The supply of active homes for sale (271) dropped from 1.3 months to 1.1 months based on the current rate of absorption. It’s still a tough market for home buyers.

Click to see all the fresh new inventory in MRIS and call Team Cathell (703-975-2500) when you find a home you like.

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Just Listed in Arlington

Just Listed highlights Arlington properties that just came on the market within the past week. This feature is written and sponsored by Team Cathell, “Your Orange Line Specialists.”

Arlington’s fall real estate market appears to be getting off to a slow start.

It’s not bad. But it’s not great either.  It’s just sort of okay, which indicates something may be going on that’s not clear yet.

Sellers listed 71 homes this week, which is good. But buyers seem to be dragging their feet with only 51 ratified contracts. Of those, some 30 homes sold within seven days on the market.

Compared to last year, these numbers are ho hum. In the last three weeks of last September, buyers ratified 55, 65 and 54 contracts each week. And sellers really did their part by listing 96, 95 and 65 homes each week. Numbers tell a story.

Perhaps it has something to do with consumer confidence. The Fed on Wednesday dropped its overnight rate by .25% as a measure to bolster signs of a slowing economy. It cited concerns of a slowing global economy influenced by the US-China trade war and Britain’s exit from the European Union. The Fed wants consumers and businesses to maintain their level of spending while keeping inflation at its current rate of 1.6%

If you read this blog regularly, you may recall us telling you to grab the low mortgage rates to buy or refinance several weeks ago. Hope you followed the advice. Mortgage rates, which are NOT directly linked to the Fed rate, jumped this week with quotes varying from 3.73% to 4.01%. And they’re likely to rise more.

The good news for buyers this week is that the housing inventory level is at its highest in a year at 1.3 months. That gives buyers more to choose from, and strengthens their negotiating power

Click to see all the fresh new inventory in MRIS and call Team Cathell (703-975-2500) when you find a home you like.

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Just Listed in Arlington

Just Listed highlights Arlington properties that just came on the market within the past week. This feature is written and sponsored by Team Cathell, “Your Orange Line Specialists.”

Arlington’s real estate market picked up some steam this week as we head into a typically strong fall market.

Sellers did their part by listing 72 homes, while buyers ratified 48 contracts. That’s an improvement over last week’s 45 ratified contracts, but I would have expected much more this week.

The week started with interest rates taking some leaps. The 30-yr fixed rate mortgage went from 3.5% last week to 3.625%-3.75% early this week. Despite the uptick, the number of mortgage purchase loan applications so far this month is up 9% over last year, according to Freddie Mac.

So far, all the media talk about a possible recession around the corner hasn’t hurt our housing market locally. One of the first indicators that our local market is slowing is the number of sales in luxury homes. Higher end sales are doing well. Last summer, there were 88 homes that sold for $1.2 million or more. This summer, there were 106 sales, and the days on market dropped from 92 to 45. However the average sales price also dropped a bit from $1,639,246 last summer to $1,609,176.

Buyers should be happy to hear that Arlington’s inventory has improved. Just a few months ago, there was less than 1 months supply, meaning at that pace of sales there would be no homes left to buy if nothing else was listed. This week the inventory is now 1.4 months, a big improvement.

Click to see all the fresh new inventory in MRIS and call Team Cathell (703-975-2500) when you find a home you like.

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Just Listed highlights Arlington properties that just came on the market within the past week. This feature is written and sponsored by Team Cathell, “Your Orange Line Specialists.”

Arlington’s real estate market picked up the pace a bit this week, and that’s impressive considering we had a major holiday at the beginning of the week and people were still traveling back home.

Buyers ratified 45 contracts, and sellers listed 44 homes. That’s good for a transition week. We should see those numbers jump even higher next week as people have settled into their work and school routines.

Overall, Arlington’s market reflects the nation’s housing market. We have been experiencing a drop this year in the total number of home sales. Last month, we had a total of 244 sales of all types of housing. In August of last year, we had 300 sales. That’s nearly a 19% drop.

The National Association of Home Builders reported that they have seen a 9% drop in the number of actively looking buyers since last year.

And Fannie Mae’s economist Doug Duncan reported a similar downturn in the number of sales. He attributes it primarily to a lack of inventory. He noted that baby boomers are deciding to age in place much more than before, and gen-xers are building additions instead of buying bigger homes.

Other economists say the lack of inventory is because home builders are delivering fewer homes than needed, especially affordable housing. Builders blame that on the increasing costs of materials and labor. During the Great Recession in 2008, home building tanked for five years. Those workers looked for other job opportunities and many never returned to the construction labor pool.

Click to see all the fresh new inventory in MRIS and call Team Cathell (703-975-2500) when you find a home you like.

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