Winchester-Frederick Co., VA Real Estate Market in Review – 2017

Winchester-Frederick Co., VA Real Estate Market in Review – 2017

The Winchester-Frederick Co., VA real estate market ended 2017 with solid numbers and evidence that the trajectory is continuing up. Every sales number is positive, and the view for 2018 is upbeat and bright. The only negative number in the year in review is the inventory. Inventory as of December 31, 2017 stands at 254 now available homes in the Winchester-Frederick Co., real estate market. That is about 300 below the needed available homes necessary to keep the market healthy.

Winchester-Frederick Co., VA Real Estate Market in Review: Positive Numbers

The average sales price in 2017 was $269,724. That is a 3% increase from 2016. Winchester-Frederick Co., VA Real Estate Market in Review - 2017Historically, the 2017 numbers are 14% above 2013, 11% above 2014, and 8% above 2015. Each of the past five years have shown an increase in sales price. The year to year sales percentages have increased 3-5%. The 2016-2017 percentage is slightly smaller than the previous few years growth, but it has also struggled with inventory shortages.

More positive numbers: Days on the market

There are many details that show a real estate market’s health. Price and volume of sales are always a good place to start, but days on the market will show if prices are drawing buyers into the market or if they are limiting buyers.

Prior to the market decline in 2008, many buyers would have been priced out of the market because of the phantom rise in home prices. The thing that kept that from happening on a broad scale was the easy access to lender cash. With no doc loans and lenders scrambling for dollars, questionable buyers were allowed to stay in the market and buy homes they often could not afford or keep. Those buyers were the first wave of foreclosures at the beginning of the recession. At that time, days on the market was not as revealing as it is in a more stable market.

Winchester-Frederick Co., VA Real Estate Market in Review - 2017The current average days on the market for 2017 was 60. Over the past five years, that number has stayed consistent with a down movement of 25%. In 2014, the average days on the market reached a five-year high at 80, but it has drifted downward each year since.

A home that has been on the market for 100+ days is telling the seller that something is off. It might be location, price, condition, neighbors, or a market that is simply not moving. The Winchester-Frederick Co., VA is in peril of becoming the market that is not moving. Low inventory can ultimately paralyze a real estate market as quickly as a recession.

Winchester-Frederick Co., VA Real Estate Market in Review: Distressed Properties

Distressed properties are also a market health indicator. This is an area where skittish buyers can enter the market with confidence that the market is healthy and they are likely to see equity appreciation over the average five years of ownership. This is also the area of greatest improvement in the Winchester-Frederick Co., VA real estate market over the past five years.

Local distressed property sales, which are made up of foreclosures (REOs) and short Winchester-Frederick Co., VA Real Estate Market in Review - 2017sales, settled into an average of 6% for the year. Throughout the year, a few months saw that number drift to as low as 3%, but the overall average is twice that. Over the past five years, the number of distressed properties has dropped precipitously. The 2013 distressed properties sold in the Winchester-Frederick Co., VA real estate market were 22% of the market. That was followed by 14% in 2014, 13% in 2015, 8% in 2016 and the new low of 6% in 2017.

The continuous drop in distressed properties is one of the most encouraging numbers in the local real estate market. It helps sellers regain lost value in their homes. A street full of foreclosures and short sales affects every house on the street. When neighborhood distressed properties disappear, home values begin to settle back into a true value. The total number of distressed properties in the Winchester-Frederick Co., VA real estate market were 94. When you reflect back to 2013 at 339 with lower overall volume sales, the local market looks a lot better.

Winchester-Frederick Co., VA Real Estate Market in Review: The Only Bad News

There is a great deal of good news in the Winchester-Frederick Co., VA real estate market, but there is one hurdle the market will need to overcome in 2018 if the market is going to reach new highs. Inventory. Inventory is the 800 lb gorilla in the living room.

As mentioned above, inventory is at a decade low. At 254 currently built homes available, the market is struggling to give homes for would-be buyers. Sellers can’t list because there is nowhere to move, and buyers can’t buy because there is nothing to buy. Low inventory could have the local market in a standoff.

If sellers won’t list because of the lack of available properties for them to move to, then buyers have nothing to buy and the circular dilemma continues. That could push buyers into other markets. The Jefferson County, WV market is the fastest growing market in the top of the Shenandoah Valley. Driving buyers and sellers into other markets does nothing to help the Winchester-Frederick Co., VA market.

At some point in the first quarter of 2018, someone has to blink. Even rentals are at a low of 80 available. Sellers who are willing to rent for a year after they sell, have nowhere to move to in the rental market. The inventory issue needs to be addressed early in 2018. If not, the New Year may enter unfamiliar territory in the Winchester-Frederick Co., VA real estate market.

When you’re ready to buy or sell in the Winchester-Frederick Co., VA real estate market, give Mike Cooper a call. Mike is your local real estate sales pro.

Advertisements

Should I list my home in the Winter months?

Should I list my home in the Winter months?

Should I list my home in the Winter months? Absolutely! There is a mistaken idea that homes sell better in warmer months, but there is plenty of evidence that homes sell at anytime, but Winter has some advantages that other months may not have.

Realtytrac’s longitudinal study of when is the best time to buy a home found that October is the best month followed by February, July, December and January. Four out of five of the top months are Fall or Winter months. The best day of the week to buy a home is Monday, and October 8th is the best day of the year. That one study blows a huge hole in the “Spring is the best time to list” theory.

Should I list my home in the Winter months? Why?: Inventory is lower

For one, inventory tends to be lower in the cold months. That gives a seller more Should I list my home in the Winter months?visibility because competition is lower. The current Winchester-Frederick County, VA market only has 270 previously owned homes on the market. The market typically has 500-600. The current inventory makes great homes fly off the market.

Think about what low inventory means to a home seller. When the competition is lower, a home seller has more opportunity to make a greater profit on a home sale. Buyers will pay more for a home they fall in love with when there are fewer homes to compare it to. Low inventory, means higher sale prices and quicker sales.

Should I list my home in the Winter months? Why?: Fewer showings

Buyers tend to look at fewer homes in the Winter months. It’s dark early. It can be cold outside (depending on your market). There are fewer homes in their criteria list. Our company has more buyers who buy the first home they see in the Winter months. Why? Because buyers have done their homework before looking at homes. When the inventory is up and the sun is up and the curiosity of buyers is up, they will shop and shop and shop.

In the Summer, a buyer may look at a dozen homes before settling on a home to make an offer on. In the Winter, the process is much faster and the buyer moves more quickly. Therefore, a seller will have fewer people passing through the listed home.

Should I list my home in the Winter months? Why?: Curb appeal is curbed (a little)

If you have kept your yard and home in good shape throughout the year, the Winter months may give you a bit of a respite from all the exterior maintenance. You’re not mowing (again, depending on your market) as much, if any. You’re not trimming hedges as much. Once any leaves are off the lawn, you are pretty well set for the season.

Should I list my home in the Winter months? Why?: Holiday fare may be a plus (but not always)

There is something endearing about a beautifully decorated home during the Winter months. When a buyer comes into a home that is welcoming and cozy, there is a sense of ease and comfort that comes with that. A warm environment, accent lighting, tasteful decorations and a sense of comfort gives buyers the ability to see themselves living in the home.

Don’t be afraid of a Winter listing. The general school of thought is that Spring is the time to list because it’s warmer, it’s lighter longer and more homes are coming on the market. All of those things are true, but the competition is also greater, and with an increase in inventory, there will be a far more showings and more competitive bidding on home prices. Winter has advantages over these issues.

There are many more reasons to list your Virginia or West Virginia home in the cooler months, but you get the idea. Every season has some advantages, and Winter is no different. When you’re ready to sell your Virginia home, give Cornerstone Business Group, Inc., 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.