It’s official, the Winchester / Frederick County real estate market is in recovery. A lot of us in the business have wanted to say that for a long time, and we have, but it has been more out of hope than out of statistical fact. Today, the numbers are starting to agree with us.
The number of properties sold between January 1 – February 28, 2015 stands at 186. That’s an 8% increase from the same period in 2014. The number of foreclosures (REOs) and short sales have dropped 11% over that same period. Distressed properties are getting harder to find, and that’s good news for fair market sellers.
There are still some challenges in the market. The number of available listings is currently 632. A healthy Winchester / Frederick County real estate market typically runs between 500-550 active listings. The increase in inventory suppresses price growth for sellers, but a lot of sellers are learning how to overcome that hurdle. There are four key things that help sellers beat a high inventory market. If they price their home well, make it easy to show, keep it in good condition and are blessed with a great location they can overcome an inflated inventory with little problem.
The average days on the market is a good indicator of a seller’s ability to meet those four key criteria. In January, more homes sold in the 0-14 days on the market than any other period up to and beyond 100 days. There were 23 of the 98 homes sold that were in that 0 -14 day window. Sadly, there were 30 that went beyond 100 days. When a home is on the market for 100+ days it’s time to take inventory and see if there is a problem. There may not be one, but it’s a good indicator that one of the four keys is being violated.
February showed a similar pattern with 25 of 88 being sold in those first 14 days. February also had 30 homes that languished beyond 100 days. Here again, refer back to the keys. Is one being violated? There was a reduction in number of units sold in February, but there was also bad weather and one of the coldest months this winter. It’s not necessary an anomaly for the month.
March will help determine if the current changes are a true trend, but at this point it looks good. The Winchester / Frederick County real estate market is finally in recovery for 2015. It has been a long eight years coming, but we’re ready for the change.