Median sale prices decreased throughout the entire Winchester region last month, according to the Long & Foster Real Estate Market Minute report. Warren County had the biggest decline with a 5 percent drop, followed by Winchester City which had a 4 percent fall. Units sold also fell in much of the region except for Shenandoah County, which saw an uptick of 34 percent. Inventory rose in Frederick County and Winchester City, while it fell in Shenandoah County and Warren County.
Though inventory continues to crawl downwards, Larry “Boomer” Foster, president of Long & Foster Real Estate, believes the market is still strong in the Winchester region. “It depends on who you ask, and it’s really hyperlocal, but February’s numbers are not surprising,” he said.
The decrease in units sold is due to a lack of supply of good saleable inventory at a price point where there is demand. Foster said this illustrates how hyperlocal the market is, as the inventory challenges have caught up and magnified how low the numbers are.
Foster addressed concerns that the market is moving toward a housing bubble, pointing out that the situation in 2005 was drastically different from the current market. “The home affordability index is around 150, meaning that the median household income has 50 percent more money than is needed to afford the median home price.”
“When you look at the things that had happened back in 2005 to create the housing bubble, there were a couple of factors,” Foster said. “One was the regulatory environment around mortgages, the other was double-digit appreciation with no way to keep up with it and the home affordability index.” In today’s market, Foster feels comfortable concluding that we are not in a housing bubble due to those factors being more stable.
In terms of getting a home, Foster said many people are not always aware of the number of options available to homebuyers. “The biggest deterrent is most people don’t think they have enough money to put down, believing they need to put 20 percent down on the price of a home,” he said. However, there are many financing options that don’t necessarily conform to that standard principle.
Foster says you can get homes that are in need of updates for a steal at the moment since “the vast majority of buyers want move-in ready.” He advises for consumers to come in with a competitive offer backed by a strong reputable lender.