NVAR’S SPRING PREDICTIONS

15 04 2007

Home Shoppers will Find Plenty of Choices this Spring

Potential homebuyers in Northern Virginia will continue to have many choices and negotiating tools as spring moves forward, while interest rates remain at favorable levels, below where they were one year ago.The Northern Virginia market slowed slightly in March, but seems to be following similar trends to the national market. National Association of REALTORS Chief Economist David Lereah noted recently that home sales data suggests an underlying stabilization in the housing market, but it will take another month or two to clarify.

Be sure to check out the numbers from March here.  Or, continue reading the article.

“If it wasn’t for the unusually bad weather in February, we’d be seeing a better performance in pending home sales,” he said. “We also may be seeing some fallout from a decline in subprime lending…” This has caused lenders to tighten credit standards toward applicants or mortgages.

Prospective buyers and sellers in Northern Virginia will reach deals if both sides are willing to negotiate. Buyers can still seek a bargain with reasonable offers. Meanwhile, sellers should base list prices on up-to-date sales trends in their neighborhoods.

March data confirms that the 2007 rebound will be gradual. The Northern Virginia local economy continues to have strong economic indicators for job growth and unemployment.

Mortgage Rates

According to the latest data from Freddie Mac, mortgage rates are near their low for the year, at an average of 6.17 percent nationwide for a 30-year fixed-rate loan during the first week of April. Local rates published by the Washington Post range from 5.25 percent to 6.38 percent.

Northern Virginia: March 2007
The Northern Virginia Association of REALTORS reports on March 2007 home sales activity for Fairfax and Arlington Counties, the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax and Falls Church and the towns of Vienna, Herndon and Clifton.

A total of 1,752 homes sold in March, about 6 percent less than in March 2006, when 1,867 homes sold. This slight decrease is not completely surprising taking into account the deep freeze that may have discouraged activity among buyers and sellers in February.

Active listings increased from February as sellers prepared for the spring market, but total inventory remained below last year’s level by about 6 percent, standing at 8,077 active listings at the end of March, compared to 8,577 homes available at the end of March 2006. Homes continue to take longer to sell, with the average Northern Virginia home in March 2007 staying on the market for 101 days. In March 2006, homes averaged 53 days on the market (DOM).

The average sales price in March 2007 in Northern Virginia was $532,517, reflecting a 0.58 percent (six-tenths of 1 percent) decrease from the average sales price of $535,633 in March 2006.

The median price of a home sold in Northern Virginia in March was $460,500, about 3.46 percent below March 2006’s median price of $477,000. (The median price reflects the price at which an equal number of homes in the region are sold at higher and lower prices.)

Greater Northern Virginia: March 2007
Sales activity in Greater Northern Virginia (NVAR jurisdictions plus Prince William, Loudoun and the Greater Piedmont counties) for March 2007 reflects a slightly greater dip comparatively.

Greater Northern Virginia sales data shows a slight lag in market activity, as a higher inventory and lower demand in further-out suburbs have slowed the sales pace compared to the core Northern Virginia region. The average sales price of $497,666 in March 2007 was 1.10 percent less than the March 2006 average sales price of $503,200.

The number of Greater Northern Virginia region units sold in March was 2,826, nearly a 17 percent decline from the 3,392 houses that sold in March 2006.

Across Greater Northern Virginia, 18,528 listings are active on the market, about 0.5 percent (that is, one-half of 1 percent) more than this time last year, when 18,444 homes were available. The average number of days on the market for a home sold in March 2007 was 113, which is about 78 percent higher than the DOM of 64 days one year ago.

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