Is the Winchester, VA real estate market healthy?

Is the Winchester, VA real estate market healthy? Real estate is an ever shifting business. National, state and local events can affect a real estate market overnight and change dramatically. The economic collapse in the real estate and construction industries put many localities in deep turmoil in 2008. There has been a slow grinding climb back to some semblance of normalcy, but we’re not back to the pre-collapse days by any stretch.

There were high hopes for 2013, and on the surface, it looks as though some of those hopes were met, but there was a darker trend bubbling under the surface. In the early part of August, I started to receive an increase in BPO (broker price opinion) requests from multiple companies.

Before the 2008 collapse, I started receiving the same wave of request. In early 2008, the requests started in the 15-25 a month, but by the time the market finally collapsed, the requests were 85-150 a month. That meant that a large number of homeowners were behind on their mortgages and the lenders were looking to foreclose.

BPO requests don’t always signal a wave of coming foreclosures. They can be individuals refinancing, or maybe an insurance company or lender is asking for a condition report or an owner is requesting permission to do a short sale on the property. There are multiple reasons, but a primary reason is a pending foreclosure.

The numbers of BPO requests continued to climb from August 2013 until the end of the year. Again, they went from 15-25 a month to 50-75 a month. That’s better than before the 2008 collapse, but it is an alarming trend.

The January 2014 sales consisted of 93 total sales. There were only 4 short sales, but there were 24 foreclosures. That means that 31% of all sales were distressed property sales, and 26% of all closed properties in January were foreclosures.

The numbers have changed a little since the same period in 2013. Distressed sales in January 2013 were 40% of the total closings. Of that number 29% were foreclosures. There is a 3% decline year to year, but that low rumbling of BPO requests has me keeping a closer eye on the local market.

It may be an anomaly, but it may be something more ominous. It will be worth monitoring more closely than when we were in a confirmed healthy market.

Is the Winchester, VA real estate market healthy?