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.”

Hello springtime!

While the weather can’t decide if its winter or spring, home buyers this week have screamed from the rooftops that the spring real estate market has launched. Sellers stepped up and listed 54 homes in Arlington while buyers ratified 43 contracts this week. And some 27 of those sold within seven days. These are March numbers, and its only mid-January. The bidding wars have begun.

Loan applications for existing homes jumped 30% last week over the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. And new home loan applications are up 39% from a year ago.

Higher demand and low inventory makes it really hard on home buyers, especially new home buyers who are going through the nerve-wracking process for the first time. Here are a few tips:

  1. Work with an experienced agent with proven track record of winning in competitive bidding
  2. Work with a reputable local hybrid lender that underwrites in their own shop, also with proven track record (ask your rock star agent for referrals for lenders, they know who is good)
  3. Look at homes listed below your maximum purchase range so you have room to escalate your bid upward to win
  4. Go big just once to get ahead of the market to win. You may FEEL like you’re over-paying, but in six months you’ll look like the genius in the room when others are still making offers while prices have jumped three percent and you’ve already built equity

Buyers, here’s some good news: interest rates dropped this week by about 1/8% to 3.625% for a 30-yr fixed rate. Make the commitment to own and start building equity and wealth.

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 consensus is in on the outlook for our housing market in 2020.

Here are the views from the top economists from the National Association of Realtors, Fannie Mae, Realtor.com, Zillow, Redfin, the National Association of Home Builders and more.

Buyers beware and get ready. 2020 will be more agonizing than last year as a scarcity of inventory will get even worse. “2020 will prove to be the most challenging year for buyers not because of what they can afford, but rather what they can find,” says George Ratiu, senior economist with Realtor.com.

Mortgage interest rates will stay about the same, currently at 3.75% for a 30-yr fixed rate, through 2020 rising no more than 4%. That’s some good news for buyers.

Home values will increase in 80% of major metro areas across the U.S., rising by 1.8% to 6%. In 2019, Arlington values rose 6% for single family homes. With less inventory and greater demand, we should see home values rise 6% to 8% in 2020.

Because of inventory scarcity nationwide, some 25% of all transactions will be involved in bidding wars. In my opinion, you can double that for Arlington in 2020.

Home builder confidence is the highest in 20 years as contractors race to keep up with demand. They expect to deliver 4% more homes to the market than last year. But still the U.S. faces a cumulative housing shortage of 1 million homes based on population growth and household formation.

In other words, buckle up.

This week in Arlington some 41 sellers listed their homes, and 32 buyers ratified contracts. The spring market has sprung.

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.”

Happy New Year!

There’s no doubt that 2020 will be an exciting year with many major events from politics to the environment, to science, medicine, foreign affairs, and that’s just the start. So, buckle up for a wild ride.

What can we expect to see with Arlington’s real estate market? There are several key factors that will impact our local market: inventory, mortgage rates, wage growth and the national economy.

If you think 2019 was a bad year for low inventory, 2020 is looking even worse. Home builders are falling further behind the demand for housing, especially moderate to low income housing. The DMV area, particularly Arlington, has done a great job at creating new jobs. And most of these new jobs are white collar jobs with good salaries. More jobs, more people, more demand for housing.

It’s a simple equation that has put tremendous pressure on the available inventory of homes for sale. This week, only one home of 11 that sold had been on the market less than a week. All other 10 sales were stale inventory. And it’s going to get worse this year. We should expect to see home prices rise more than 5%-6% in 2020.

Mortgage rates are expected to stay relatively unchanged for the year. The 30-yr fixed rate is now 3.75% and is expected to stay below 4% by the end of the year. So low steady rates should help more people qualify and create even more demand for 2020.

Wage growth has been a decelerator for demand the last 2-3 years. Wages for salaried employees have been stagnant with no real growth. The small amount of wage growth we’ve seen in some areas of the U.S. has been countered by inflation, also running low at just 1.9%. Just in the last few months we have begun to see some wage growth for minimum wage workers, but these are not the consumers who buy homes, not yet. When our area begins to see real salaried wage growth, we can expect to see more housing demand from first-time buyers and move-up buyers.

The U.S. economy is the underlying driver all consumer activity, and it’s expected to grow at a modest 2% for 2020, GDP for 2019 will likely close out at 2.2%. The economy is expected to slow but stay steady and resilient. So, we should see a very similar economy for 2020.

In a nutshell, 2020 is going to be a highly competitive market for buyers. The market is showing no mercy: tighter inventory, more demand, continued price increases.

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.”

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

This week between Christmas and New Years is always the slowest week of the year for real estate activity. No wonder. Who wants to be stressed out about buying or selling a home when you’re already stressed out from the holidays.

Because there were only 11 homes listed for sale this week, and five of them sold right away, there are not enough new listings to share with you today. So  I am presenting four of the more interesting listings that are active.

Enjoy the holidays, and I’ll catch you in the next decade.

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.”

With the Holidays just around the corner, Arlington’s real estate market remains healthy and stable while any potential craziness is held in check by low inventory. Demand remains strong, as this week testifies, but there’s just not enough homes for sale to satisfy the eager buyers.

This week only 22 homes were listed for sale, while buyers ratified 33 contracts. Many of those homes that sold would be considered stale inventory as they had been on the market 2-3 months. Without enough fresh inventory, buyers are turning to homes still for sale after 60 days or more. And that’s great for everybody. The average days on market is now up to 31, and there are currently only 166 homes available for sale.

The National Association of Realtors reported this week that inventory is down 5.7% nationally over last year while the median home price has increased 5.6%. NAR’s economists project that next year home values will go up only 3.6% and there is a low likelihood of any recession. They expect economic growth of just 2%.

They would like to see a surge of home builder activity that would both stimulate the economy while delivering more inventory to help keep down the increase in home prices and the increase in rental rates which is the untold victim of low inventory. They expect rent rates to increase 3.5% next year.

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.”

You know it’s holiday shopping season when there’s total gridlock on the roads within five miles of any shopping center.

Us consumers are doing our part to keep the economy humming along. Buying and selling homes is not typically a priority for most people this time of year. But homes must be on their shopping list.

Buyers ratified an amazing 44 contracts this week, and sellers listed 33 homes. Those are good numbers this close to the holidays.

Not to put any pressure on you buyers out there, but the spring real estate market starts the second week of January. Check the calendar. That’s only three weeks away. That means you have a window of opportunity of just three weeks to find the right home, negotiate relatively aggressively and ratify a contract. In three weeks, buyers will be out in volume with limited inventory and the battles will begin. So quickly finish your holiday shopping and find the right house.

Realtor.com just issued its housing market forecast for 2020, and it’s mostly not good. Here are some key projections:

  • A relatively stagnant market with 1.8% fewer sales of existing home
  • A national median price increase of only 0.8%
  • 25 of 100 top US cities will experience a drop in average home prices
  • Weakened buyer affordability, and even lower inventory levels than today
  • Millennials will account for over 50% of home purchases for the first time ever
  • Gen Xers will follow with 38% of purchases, trailed by Boomers at 17%
  • About the only good news is mortgage rates will remain steady peaking at 3.85%

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.”

What a difference a year makes. While Arlington’s real estate market is still healthy, it’s not robust. With so much demand for housing in Arlington, you’d think buyers would be more active ratifying contracts. But they’re not, and it’s puzzling as to why.

Let’s put it in perspective. This week, buyers ratified only 26 contracts while sellers listed 36 homes. There are currently only 211 homes actively for sale. Mortgage interest rates are steady at 3.75% for a 30-yr fixed rate.

However a year ago this same week, buyers ratified 68 contracts, sellers listed just 24 homes, there were 350 homes for sale, and mortgage rates were 4.75%, a full one percent higher. Granted, buyers and investors may have been motivated by Amazon’s announcement two weeks earlier that it selected Arlington for its HQ2.

But with interest rates so low today, why aren’t more buyers out there ratifying contracts? Economists point to chronic low inventory, and certainly that’s a factor, but I don’t think that explains current buyer behavior. It may take a few more months of data for other factors to be detected.

The outlook is bleak. If we think the low inventory situation is bad now, economist point to worsening conditions over the next 20 years as our population grows and ages, and housing demand spikes. The current rate of home builders delivering more supply will lag far behind growing demand creating an even greater crisis for available housing. So these may be the good times right now. It’s hard to imagine that.

My advice to buyers: Get purposeful, make home buying a priority, select an assertive professional agent to help you not just FIND the home, but more importantly win the bidding war, and don’t be discouraged by failure. If you don’t focus on your mission, you will forever be a home shopper, and never a home buyer.

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.”

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you ate well, drank well and enjoyed your family and friends yesterday, and now it’s recovery time…

The slowest two weeks of the year for real estate activity are Thanksgiving week and Christmas week, and this week lived up to those expectations as sellers listed only 34 homes and buyers ratified just 35 contracts. But hey, that’s still really good considering so many people start traveling on Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

The month between Thanksgiving and Christmas is also the slowest month of the year for real estate as most people are preparing for the holidays and traveling. However, there have been many years where the real estate market just booms through the holiday period and starts off the new year charging ahead. There is certainly enough demand for housing in Arlington to see those results if we had enough inventory.

Enjoy your holiday weekend!

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.”

Our real estate market in Arlington has slid backward this week with only 41 ratified contracts and a meager 43 new listings. Last year at this time, we had 63 ratified contracts and 50 new listings.

Can anyone remember what else happened this week a year ago? Amazon announced it was moving its HQ2 to Arlington, and the town was abuzz with the news and wild speculation on its impact on our housing market.

The lack of inventory continues to plague our market. A year ago, we had 476 active listings of homes for sale, resulting in 1.9 months of inventory. This week we have only 236 homes actively for sale, and at our current rate of absorption we now have just 1.4 months of inventory. Compare that to the current national inventory rate of 4.3 months. So Arlington home buyers are super challenged.

There’s finally a glimmer of good news on the national front. Housing starts have increased for both single family and multi-family homes. So we’ll see more inventory coming into the market. Single family starts are up 3.8% over last year, and multi-family starts are up 8.6%. This is the highest level of housing starts in 12 years. It’s about time.

When a buyer can’t find a home to purchase, their alternative is to rent. And so the rental market both here in Arlington and nationally is hot hot hot, if you’re a landlord; and horrible horrible horrible if you’re a tenant. Rental inventory is also down by about 1 percent, and rent rates are up about 3.8% for lower end homes. With the rental market so hot, it attracts more investors who in turn compete with end-user buyers for the available inventory putting an ever greater burden on buyers to compete.

Meanwhile, mortgage rates held steady this week with the 30-yr fixed rate at 3.75%-3.85%…

Best wishes to all for a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday next week. Let your family and friends know how much you love them.

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.”

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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