Arlington, VA

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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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.”

If you talk with leaders in mortgage, title and real estate brokerage, as I do regularly, you’d think our housing market is about to collapse.

The number of transactions and mortgage applications in the last two weeks has dropped significantly in our area, and those industry leaders are worried. Is the drop just normal summertime blues, or is something more ominous lurking over the horizon?

Arlington’s numbers this week are low with only 40 ratified contracts and 49 new listings. It’s too early to tell if this is because of weakening consumer confidence influenced by media bombardment about a possible recession coming soon. Or if its just because it’s the end of summer, public schools in Arlington don’t start until next week when workers resume normal routines, and home buying right now just isn’t the biggest priority.

The next 2-3 weeks will likely bring some clarity and answers. Keep in mind that our economy is overdue for a shift based on historical business and economic trends. We have experienced numerous minor recessions over the last 30 years that left little impact on daily life.

It’s still a great time to buy a home or refinance. Interest rates remain low at about 3.5% for a 30-year fixed rate. Those rates won’t last forever. Ironically, if we have good economic news then mortgage rates will likely rise. But if we have worsening global and U.S. economic news, rates could actually go lower.

I would advise home buyers to ratify a contract as soon as they are able to find the right home. Once ratified, you can lock in your interest rate. Choose a local reputable lender that offers a one-time float down. If interest rates drop after you’ve locked in, the float down allows you to lower your rate before closing. Ask for the float down option.

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.”

This week has been one of the most quiet weeks of the year for real estate activity in Arlington.

The summer doldrums finally kicked in. Sellers did their part listing 43 properties, but buyers ratified only 31 contracts. They must still be at the beach.

There’s only 10 more days before the fall market begins right after Labor Day. That will usher in lots of fresh new inventory, but also many more buyers so we will likely start to see competitive bidding again.

Interest rates dropped another 1/8th% to 3.5% this week, the lowest rates since 2011. So buyers have a window of opportunity over the next 10 days to ratify and lock in a great rate before the buyer frenzy starts and they lose their negotiating power.

With these low interest rates, you may consider refinancing your existing loan. If you can lower your rate by 5/8th% or more, it’s definitely worth talking to a reputable lender who can help you analyze your cost/benefit and breakeven point.

A home safety travel trip: If you’re going to be gone more than four days for vacation, turn off your water main valve. Water appliances like refrigerators or dishwashers seem to always time their failures when the owner is away. The owner returns to a watery mess costing thousands in repairs and hours of hassle.

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 wild and crazy economic news this week didn’t discourage home buyers and sellers from conducting business.

Buyers ratified 47 contracts and sellers put 59 homes on the market this week. Some 20 of those new listings were sold in seven days or less. Who said the real estate market slows in August? They need to wake up and smell the coffee. One property over the Arlington border in Del Ray, Alexandria, attracted 44 offers and escalated nearly 40% above the list price.

You’ve already started to hear the big “R” word in the news, and you’ll hear plenty more in the weeks and months ahead. Is a recession really looming over the horizon? Economists say it’s inevitable that our economy is due for a normal cyclical cooling down after a historic nine years of uninterrupted growth. Remember, a “recession” is just two quarters (6 months) of negative growth.

The U.S. economy is slowing, but not nearly as much as other major economies like China, Germany, the UK, Argentina and Russia. Sustaining the stronger U.S. economy is consumer confidence and spending. But that could change. Events like the Dow Jones index dropping 800 points on Wednesday could begin to influence consumer confidence.

Don’t let the hype of left and right media scare you into thinking our economy is about to tank like it did in 2008. That is highly unlikely. A slowdown in U.S. gross domestic product, yes. But a meltdown? Not likely.

Actually, the bad economic news brings short term good housing news, temporarily. The fear of a global economic recession prompts investors to seek safe havens for their capital, like U.S. Treasury bonds. That flood of capital into T-bills drives down the yield, which influences our mortgage rates. So we are likely to see a drop in rates. And this week already, in the last few days, the rate on the 30-yr fixed mortgage dropped from 3.75% to 3.625%.

For home buyers, there is a narrow window of opportunity to ratify a contract between now as rates drop and Labor Day weekend. After that, there will be much more buyer competition as the market heads into the active Fall season. So go for it!

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 pace of home sales in Arlington finally dipped a bit this week with only 43 ratified contracts compared to last week’s 57 sales.

Sellers listed 48 homes this week, and 13 of those sold within seven days. It’s still an unusually strong summer market which bodes well for a vibrant fall market starting right after Labor Day.

There are only 225 homes actively for sale in Arlington. At the current absorption rate, that’s 1.2 months of inventory which is an improvement for buyers. Other good news for buyers is the big drop in interest rates this week. On Monday, rates dropped as low as 3.5% for a 30-yr fixed rate, but then began edging up to about 3.65% on Thursday.

If you have a ratified contract and haven’t locked in your rate yet, stop reading this and call your lender NOW. This is the lowest rate since November 2016.

What drives our housing market isn’t just interest rates. Our overall economy creates housing demand which drives our market. Job security and wage growth is more important than interest rates and inventory. We need to be looking for the subtle little signs of change in our economy such as growth with our trading partners.

Currently, big businesses are concerned about a general global economic slowdown and that uncertainty influences their decisions on reinvestment, growth and hiring. But buoying our slowing economy is strong consumer confidence. So pay attention to news reports about economic events, like the Dow dropping 700 points in one day, and China devaluing its currency, the yuan, especially against the dollar. These are clues.

Good news for South Arlington home owners: Your home has increased in value since July last year. For single family owners, the average price went up by 9.4% to  $868,837. For condo owners, the average sales price went up 6.4% to $402,736 from July 2018.

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.”

Like the weather, Arlington’s real estate market remains hot hot hot with buyers ratifying 57 contracts this week.

Sellers were busy taking a siesta and listed only 41 homes. Shame on them. We need more inventory!

Don’t get excited about the Federal Reserve cutting its short-term bank rate on Wednesday by a quarter point. That doesn’t effect mortgage rates. The Fed move signals its perception that the economy is slowing and the cut is intended to stimulate the economy.

U.S. gross domestic product dropped from 3.1% in the first quarter to 2.1% in the second quarter. The Fed cited a general global economic slowdown and the effects of the U.S.-China trade war on our economy. Our mortgage rates have remained virtually unchanged with the 30-yr fixed rate currently at 3.875% with no points.

Condo owners should be thrilled to learn that the average sales price of a condo in North Arlington increased 10.7% in July over the same month last year. The average price of a condo went from $488,555 to $541,171.

Single family homes didn’t fare as well. The average price of a detached home in North Arlington increased about 2.8% over last July. The average price of a detached home in North Arlington is now $1,076,613.

We discussed trees last week, and it’s important to know your rights regarding trees that sit on a property line. If any part of a tree trunk straddles a property line between homes, an owner must obtain written permission from their neighbor before cutting it down. You can trim branches on your side but can’t cut the entire tree down without your neighbor’s permission.

Of course, if the entire tree trunk is on your side of the property line, you have the full right to cut it down unless it has been designated by you or a previous owner as a county certified heritage or memorial tree.

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 is starting to show the expected signs of a summer slow down, but many buyers didn’t get the memo and kept up the pace this week.

They ratified 63 contracts compared to typically 50-55 sales a week in the summer. By contrast sellers only added another 42 fresh listings to the inventory. Some 20 of those got snatched up in less than seven days, mostly in price points under $750,000.

This has caused the total inventory to shrink to just 250 homes actively for sale. At this week’s pace of sales, all inventory would be sold in just 1 month which is considered very low. Any sellers on the fence about when to put their home on the market should consider listing now.

Mortgage rates continue to hold to near three year lows with this week’s rates at 3.88% for a 30-yr fixed rate with no points.

The summer’s afternoon thunderstorms are causing falling trees or branches to become an issue for many homeowners. The big question we hear: Who is responsible for maintenance, and damages caused?

In Arlington, you have the right to trim any trees or branches that come across your property line. You can trim up to the property line, but not beyond. Any property damage caused should be covered by the hazard insurance of the damaged party regardless of the origin of the tree. There can be exceptions if a property owner serves notice to a neighbor about a risky tree. In such a situation, you are advised to get advice from legal counsel.

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 blistering heat wave this week hasn’t slowed down the real estate market.

Buyers and sellers performed more like the cool days of spring with 56 ratified contracts and 61 new listings. So far, the spring market keeps plowing right through the summer. Of those 56 sales, 26 of those homes were gone within a week.

The lack of inventory is still a big problem. There is now only 1.1 months of inventory, a slight improvement from two weeks ago when it dipped to 0.9 months. A market is considered in balance when there’s 5.5 months of inventory.

Homeowners in North Arlington should be happy (unless you’re on a fixed income). The average price of a detached home last month was up 10.2% compared to June of 2018. That increases an owner’s equity, but it also increases an owner’s property tax. Not good if you’re living on a pension.

Mortgage rates have finally started to move. In just the last week, rates have gone from 3.875% for a 30-yr fixed rate with no points to 4%. The financial markets are anticipating that the Federal Reserve will cut its bank rate by the end of the month to help stimulate what the Fed sees as a slowing 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.”

Arlington’s real estate market has finally slid into standard summer mode with only 49 new listings and only 32 ratified contracts.

The market typically drops significantly after July 4th and picks up again full steam after Labor Day in early September. People tend to travel or spend time at the beach with family and friends in July and August.

The big story for homeowners this week is the massive flooding in Arlington from that torrential rainstorm Monday morning that dropped 3.5-4.5 inches of water in just two hours. Roads were closed, streams overflowed their banks and hundreds of basements flooded big time. The storm was said to be a freak 100-yr event, but with climate change I think we can expect to see more such powerful storms.

What can a homeowner do to protect their basements from flooding, especially when the homeowner is traveling?

I have a brilliant new discovery to share, and some ageless sage advice:

  • Keep your gutters clean and downspout extensions at least 3-4 ft from house.
  • Keep your drains outside basement doors clear of debris, and make sure drains are not clogged.
  • Test your sump pump once a month. Activate the float switch to ensure all is working properly.
  • Make sure the soil around the exterior of the house is graded away from the house at the foundation wall.
  • Add a backup sump pump in your sump crock. Typically plumbers will install a battery powered pump that only comes on when the primary pump fails due to power outage. But wait, there’s a new backup pump system…

Install a water-powered backup sump pump in your sump crock. This is a brilliant new product that does not rely on electric power either from a battery or your home’s power grid.

It works from the water pressure in your home, which remains constant even when your power goes out in a big storm.

We installed one in the basement of our new home, and within two months it saved our basement from flooding and costing $30,000 in renovation. The pump costs just a few hundred dollars to be installed. It connects to your home’s cold water supply.

When its float valve is activated, it allows the full pressure of your home to pull out the water in the sump based on the Venturi principle of creating low pressure. It worked beautifully and saved our basement. For every gallon of water used, it pulls two gallons of water from the sump. And it can keep doing that forever until power is restored.

I predict battery backup sump pumps are headed quickly for extinction.

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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