Northern Shenandoah Valley Real Estate Market Update – January – July 2017

Northern Shenandoah Valley Real Estate Market Update – January – July 2017

The northern Shenandoah Valley real estate market update for January through July 2017 shows where real estate is moving and where it is booming. It’s moving in all sectors, including, Frederick County, Clarke County and Warren County, VA. Where it’s booming is just across the Virginia state line in Berkeley and Jefferson County, WV.

Frederick County saw 792 homes sold in the first seven months of 2017. That was Northern Shenandoah Valley Real Estate Market Update - January - July 2017followed by 426 in Warren County, and then 123 in Clarke County. Move that view a few miles north and numbers run off the chart. Berkeley County, WV saw 1204 sales during that same period and Jefferson County, WV left all the neighboring counties behind with 1707 homes sold.

The Frederick, Clarke and Warren markets had a total of 1341 homes sold compared to Jefferson County, WV at 1707. That is a 21% difference in that one market as compared to three. Where’s the market booming at the top of the Shenandoah Valley? Jefferson County. WV. That’s good news for our northern neighbors.

Where the numbers are similar in the Shenandoah Valley Real Estate Market

Northern Shenandoah Valley Real Estate Market Update - January - July 2017The total sales numbers are all over the map in the northern area of the Shenandoah Valley real estate market, but there are numbers that are similar. Through the five counties, distressed property sales range from as low as 6% to as high as 9%. Frederick County, VA and Berkeley and Jefferson Counties in WV all show a 6% distressed property rate for the previous seven months. Warren County, VA was at 8% and Clarke County, VA was 9%. The 6% number is closer to pre-recession numbers, but overall, even 9% is a good number compared to five years ago.

The days on the market are also similar across the five counties. Clarke County, VA and Warren County, VA both show an average of 91 days on the market, while Frederick County, VA shows a low of 63. Berkeley and Jefferson County, WV had 77 and 76 respectively. There is a 30% difference from the high to low days on the market, but that number is influenced by many factors that may not signal problem issues.

The biggest difference in the Shenandoah Valley Real Estate Market

The biggest difference in the Shenandoah Valley real estate market is in the average sales price. The lowest sales price is Warren County, VA. Warren County had an average sales price of $154,416 for a 3 bedroom 2 bath home. Close behind that number was Berkeley County, WV. Berkeley County home sales averaged $188,279 for the first seven months of 2017.

Clarke County, VA had the highest average home sale price at $380,365, followed by Frederick County, VA at $269,030 and Jefferson County, WV at $210,935. The Clarke County, VA real estate market is a unique market. It is a lot like an island in the midst of the five counties. What is a normal market in the other four counties rarely applies to Clarke County, VA.

In the five counties, the numbers are moving in the right direction. Jefferson and Berkeley Counties may be getting a boost from new industry moving into the area. Proctor and Gamble is establishing a new facility on 450 acres just south of Martinsburg, WV in Berkeley County. The facility will be one-million square feet under roof and will employee 700 workers.

Amazon is also establishing a new fulfillment center at the most northern tip of Virginia in Frederick County. The new facility will hire 1,000 full-time workers. The facility will also be one-million square feet under roof. The site is just minutes south of the West Virginia border. That may also be contributing to the increase in home sales in both Berkeley and Jefferson Counties.

The northern Shenandoah Valley real estate market is looking good as we head into the second half of 2017. Home sales are up, distressed property sales are down and home values are returning to pre-recession values. It is a good time to sell. When you’re ready to buy or sell in the northern Shenandoah Valley real estate market, give Cornerstone Business Group, Inc., a call. Cornerstone serves both Virginia and West Virginia and we are here to help you find that great home. We are your local real estate sales pros.

 

 

Don’t panic; it’s July. Winchester-Frederick County, VA Real Estate Market Report

Don’t panic; it’s July. Winchester-Frederick County, VA Real Estate Market Report

Don’t panic; it’s July. The Winchester-Frederick County, VA real estate market for July 2017 shows a considerable drop in sales from June 2017. Real estate sales dropped 24%. That might sound worrisome to some, but in reality, it’s a seasonal decline that happens year after year.

July of 2016 dropped 9% from June 2016. July of 2015 dropped 23% from June 2015, Don't panic; it's July. Winchester-Frederick County, VA Real Estate Market Reportand July 2014 dropped 37% from June 2014. What causes these mid-year anomalies? Vacations and summer. Home buyers are less likely to buy a home in July than most other months. Buyers are on vacation, kids are out of school, and college students are doing what college students do during the summer. You get the point. People are busy and distracted.

Add to those simple things a run up in inventory like the June to July 2014 market and you can see how the numbers shift away from robust sales to the appearance of dismal sales. The reality is, the Winchester-Frederick County, VA real estate market takes a breather for a month, and it begins to pick up again in August as students go back to school and vacations come to an end.

Don’t panic; it’s July and the numbers are good.

The Winchester-Frederick County, VA real estate market is very healthy at the mid-summer point of 2017. The real value in the current market is seen in where it has been and where it is today. So, don’t panic; it’s July.

The average sales price of homes sold in the Winchester-Frederick County, VA real estate market have made a steady climb since 2013. There has been a 19% increase in value over those five market years. An average 3 bedroom 2.5 bath home sold for $236,312 in 2013. Today, that same home sells for $289,999.

The days on the market has also declined over the same period. That number hasn’t seen the same level of improvement as the sales values, but it’s still heading in the right direction. A 2013 sale took an average of 56 days, and a 2017 sale averages 47 days. That’s not a huge difference, but it is a 16% improvement. Again, that’s a positive change.

Don't panic, its July. Winchester-Frederick County, VA Real Estate Market ReportThe most stunning change over the past five markets is the distressed property sales. This number continues to improve month over month and year over year. The current short sales and foreclosures only account for 1.5% of total sales in July. In 2013, that number was 21% of total sales. That shift alone should give buyers a much greater level of confidence that the value of the property they’re buying is the actual value of the property.

Don’t panic; it’s July and inventory is good.

Sellers are still in a better position in the local market because of the lower inventory, but inventory is climbing. Currently, the inventory stands at 592 available homes with 249 pending sales. The local market is strongest at 500-600 available homes with 550 being the sweet spot. If the inventory increases much beyond 600, the advantage may swing toward buyers, and sales may slow down. Higher inventory equates to more opportunities and that can give buyers the freedom to look at more homes before making a decision.

No matter what data you look at, the Winchester-Frederick County, VA real estate market is strong, healthy and on course for another great year. So, when I say don’t panic; it’s July, you can take that to the bank. When you’re ready to buy or sell a home in Winchester-Frederick County, VA, give your Cornerstone Business Group, Inc., agent a call. We are your local real estate sales pros.

 

Winchester-Frederick County, VA Mid-Year Real Estate Report – 2017

Winchester-Frederick County, VA Mid-Year Real Estate Report – 2017

The Winchester-Frederick County, VA mid-year real estate market continues to shine. Some numbers are up and some are down, but they’re all good. That is welcome news for buyers, sellers and homeowners in general. The total number of sales in the Winchester-Frederick County, VA mid-year real estate market was 840 compared to 806 in 2016. That is not a major change, but it is a number heading in the right direction. It is consistent with the national average of 6% appreciation.

The one number that is the most impressive is the average sale price. The 2017 mid-Winchester-Frederick County, VA Mid-Year Real Estate Report - 2017year sales price average was $265,500 while 2016 was $255,034. The same period in 2015 was $242,578. That’s a nice consistent progression over the past three years, but the big change is when you look back five years. In 2012, the average sales price for the first six months of 2012 was $209,049. That is a 21% increase over five years. That’s impressive.

Winchester-Frederick County, VA Mid-Year Real Estate: Down Numbers

Another number that is down in the Winchester-Frederick County, VA mid-year report is the days on the market. The days on the market has remained fairly consistent over the past 5 years. The days on the market in 2012 was 87, 85 in 2015, 81 in 2016, but 2017 was down to 63 days. That is a 22% drop between 2016 and 2017. The good news for sellers is that their homes sit on the market fewer days and the sale price is higher.

Another stunning number that is also down is the percentage of distressed properties (short sales and foreclosures). The Winchester-Frederick County, VA distressed property average for the first six months of 2017 was 6%. Foreclosures made up 4.4% and short sales added 1.6%. Here again, historical comparisons show how far the market has come since the recession. The percentage of distressed properties in 2012 was 39%. In 2012, 14% of mid-year sales were short sales and 25% were foreclosures. A 33% improvement is seen in the increase in home prices from 2012 to 2017. The fewer distressed properties on the market means that home values are stable and selling at true market value.

With low-interest rates and a moderate number of homes on the Winchester-Frederick County, VA real estate market, sellers have the upper hand. That can be fragile because a run up in available properties could reverse that benefit in favor of buyers overnight. It happened in July of 2014. But, for now, sellers are in charge of the local real estate market.

When you’re ready to buy or sell in the Winchester-Frederick County, VA real estate market, give the local real estate pros at Cornerstone Business Group, Inc., a call. Let’s talk and make something great happen.

Winchester Distressed Properties Are No Longer Distressing

Winchester Distressed Properties Are No Longer Distressing

The good news for the Winchester-Frederick County, VA real estate market just keeps rolling in. It’s safe to say that Winchester distressed properties are no longer distressing most home-owners. What is a distressed property? A distressed property can be a short sale or a foreclosure (or REO, real estate owned).

Winchester Distressed Properties Are No Longer DistressingA short sale is a property the lender gives the home-owner permission to sell below the current loan balance. Many homeowners who bought in the pre-recession years, bought their homes at a premium price. For instance, a home that sold for $400,000 in 2006 lost value during the recession, and owners who carried those mortgages found themselves in trouble in 2008 and beyond.

Winchester distressed properties: What are they?

The Winchester real estate market lost an average of 33% in the fall of 2008, and soon after, Winchester distressed properties shot up. That $400,000 home was now worth $280,000 – $300,000. That left the home-owner with a debt of up to $100,000 beyond his home’s value which was no longer backed by his real estate. That scenario is where the often used real estate term, “under-water” originated. In that case, the owner was drowning in his mortgage debt because he owned more than the home was worth.

Distressed properties came in waves. The first wave of distressed properties came by way of foreclosure. Many families who were dependent on two incomes were reduced to one income as the economy and the real estate values contracted. They were followed by investors who over-extended themselves, and finally, those owners who were hanging on by their fingernails lost their battle in 2009 through 2013. That opened the door to a wave of short sales.

All Winchester-Frederick County distressed properties have declined over the past three years, but the most recent news is the best. Of the current pending sales (homes under contract), only 8.7% are distressed properties. This is a place where an interesting phenomena has taken place. Up until this year, foreclosures have always been the primary source of distressed properties, but in June of 2017, short sales are leading that group of Winchester distressed properties at 6.2% of that total. Foreclosures make up the rest at 2.5%. That number is likely to return to higher foreclosures as short sales continue to fall, but both categories are on the decline.

Winchester distressed properties: By the numbers

There are 289 pending sales in the Winchester-Frederick County, VA real estate market. Of those, there are 15 short sales and 7 foreclosures. If you know how the numbers unfold, you can decide whether this is a time to panic or is it the natural progression of a market on the move.

Of the 15 short sales that are pending, 77% (13) were homes purchased before 2008. Winchester Distressed Properties Are No Longer DistressingBecause of the inflated home values before the recession, those properties would be prime candidates for an under-water mortgage. The highest number of short sales also corresponds to highest home sale prices immediately before the recession (2007). The remaining 13% of Winchester distressed properties (2) were purchased after the recession began.

The reason there so many short sales pending in June 2017 is because of the way short sales progress. Before a home-owner can qualify to do a short sale, she must communicate with her bank that she can no longer afford her home and she needs to do something. The home-owner has a few options. None are very good, but she can allow the home to be foreclosed, or offer a deed in lieu of foreclosure or she can begin a short sale.

Winchester distressed properties: How short sales work

A short sale is only possible if the bank agrees to allow the home-owner to sell the property below the loan balance. When the bank agrees, the home is listed and buyers can make offers. Once a buyer makes an offer, the seller can accept the offer, but that does not mean that the property will ever go to closing. The bank also has to agree to the offer. This is where the third part approval is needed a second time in the sale. It’s also traditional real estate sale practices and timelines disappear.

A bank may take 3 months to 6 months to 18 months to accept the buyer’s offer. Even though the seller has already said, “Yes,” to the buyer’s offer, the bank has to sign off on it. Of the pending short sales, 6 of those properties were listed in 2016. Only 9 were listed this year (2017). Some of those short sales have been under contract for months waiting for “third-party approval.”

The bank will hire local real estate agents to assess the property to make sure the list price is a fair price, and they will compare the buyer offer to that assessment. If there is a large gap, they bank will likely turn it down, and that can come after 90 days, or more, of waiting. A short sale is not a good property for someone who has to move quickly. Once the bank has accepted the buyer’s offer, then the process of a traditional sale begins. Home inspections are scheduled, earnest money deposits are deposited, title searches are conducted and the process begins to move toward closing.

Winchester Distressed Properties Are No Longer DistressingThere are 15 short sales pending in June 2017, but they are more likely a sign that the market is doing a little housekeeping after the recession. If the balance of the homes under short sale contracts had been purchased in 2013 and beyond, I would be concerned. Since they are pre-recession purchases, they’re showing that real estate prices were over-inflated, buyers were over extended and the market was in deep need of a correction.

Another reason not to panic over the June 2017 numbers is that there are 535 active listings on the Winchester-Frederick County, VA real estate market. Of that number, only 3.8% are distressed properties. That’s a negligible number compared to where the market has been in the past decade. Only .01% of those distressed properties are short sales. The Winchester distressed properties are no longer distressing home-owners, and that’s good news for everyone in the Winchester-Frederick County, VA real estate market.