Let me break it down:
Because of its very strong job base, the Northern Virginia market rarely moves above a 3-month’s supply. Traditionally, three months constitutes a “normal” market. Normal is good for buyers because it allows them an ample amount of inventory to look over and then the ability to negotiate on price and terms. For the past several years, buyers in the D.C. metro market have been battling each other with escalation clauses and giving up home inspections to win contracts. While you may need to compete for the home of choice, when you win – you have some of the lowest interest rates on record to help you with the purchase.
Prices have continued their appreciation this year in most zip codes. The job growth has continued pressure on the inventory (as you may know – houses are where the jobs go at night)! This means, there’s plenty of demand for your house, regardless of the community, the style or the school district. HOWEVER – condition still plays an important effect on the frothing of the market for today’s buyer. Fresh paint, cleaned/new flooring, upgraded hardware (lights, door knobs/hinges, faucets, etc.), are what buyers are looking for. If you still have green and yellow appliances (or maybe even white or black), you may want to consider a new appliance package!
It’s all about cash flow for investors. And in today’s market with the low interest rates, investors are able to purchase a condo, and including condo fee and taxes, still walk away with a cash flow (disclaimer: it has to be the right price and the right condo fee – call to start your search). If you’re able to strike out the high condo fees, the return on investment is even more attractive. (Take a look at these houses that would be good investments – click here!)
An interesting factor that plays in the D.C. area market is politics and mid-term elections, which have historically placed a temporary damper on the market. This year was no exception. In the two weeks running up to the election pending sales dropped 22% compared to the same two week period last year (a non-election year). In the third week, once all the votes were counted, contract writing increased 6.3% over the same period of time last year. (Source: data from MRIS.com).
The market is in good shape for nearly every type of buyer and seller.