The number of homes sold increased throughout most of the Northern Virginia region in September, according to the Long & Foster Real Estate Market Minute Report. Loudoun County had the largest jump with a 17% rise, followed by Fairfax County with a 13% increase.
Aside from Alexandria City which had a 4% decline, median sale prices exhibited an upward tick, with Arlington County showing the largest jump with a 15% increase. Inventory continued to decline with decreases ranging from 54% in Alexandria City to 27% in Loudoun County.
“The numbers, especially in Northern Virginia, are the same as it’s been,” said Larry “Boomer” Foster, president of Long & Foster Real Estate. The Amazon effect is still in full swing, with both Arlington and Alexandria seeing their inventory contract, causing a squeeze on the number of units being sold.
However, home prices are appreciating at a healthy rate even while inventory continues to decline. With the fall market coming to a close, Foster noted that “you will see the days inventory stays on the market start to climb, which is normal for this time of the year.”
Referencing the low-interest rates, Foster said that lots more people are starting to refinance or buy homes, in order to not miss out on the low rates. When interest rates started to climb up the end of last year, it was projected that they would continue their upward rise throughout most of this year. However, as they’ve continued to get lower, it’s allowed people to have more buying power.
“As money becomes cheaper, what people can actually afford is going up, so competition is going to increase,” Foster said. Home price appreciation is also expected throughout however there is no hyper-appreciation so there’s no risk of a housing bubble.
For those thinking of buying a home for the first time, Foster recommends getting involved with a quality professional Long & Foster real estate agent so they can help consumers navigate the relatively complex process. The agent will not only help take some of the stress away, but they’ll be able to connect them with mortgage professionals who can provide a better picture of what they can afford.
Many times, people believe they need between 11% to 20% down payment on a house however there are choices available that do not necessarily conform to that standard. Foster said that there’s “plenty of financing options so getting connected with trusted professionals will help them understand the process more so they can make the best investment.”