Tax reform not hindering Fairfax real estate sales

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The year 2018 is starting off with solid rises in homes values despite tax reform measures and higher interest rates, according to the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors.

“With our local economy thriving, the nominal predicted interest rate hikes are a signal of our strong national economy, despite the inventory shortages. All of the business growth reported locally and nationally bodes well for consumer confidence,” said Lorraine Arora, the 2018 NVAR Chairman of the Board and Weichert, Realtors Fairfax regional managing broker.

If such robust growth continues, this year’s Northern Virginia housing market will likely increase by 2 percent compared to 2017 sales numbers, Arora said.

Suspecting that Northern Virginia housing will see an early, strong spring market, Rob Allen, a 2018 NVAR Board member and Long and Foster Realtor in Reston, remains confident that houses that show well and are priced right will be snapped up quickly. “I’m seeing buyers eager to act on homes that fill their needs as inventory remains extremely low,” he said. “It’s not uncommon to find you are in a competitive bidding situation right now.

“Conversations with my buyer-clients have centered more around strategies for putting together a well-written and competitive offer and less about the possible implications of tax reform,” Allen said. “From a seller perspective, I’m finding it an appealing time to be on the market. Houses that are competitively priced from the start are going to be in great shape.”

According to Ryan T. Conrad, NVAR CEO, “In 2017, NVAR Realtor members conducted 22,555 transactions valued at $13.1 billion; both figures are the highest since 2005. We had an average sales price of $579,498 – one of the strongest on record for our region. Such data points indicate a viable market.”

Understanding the new normal, Ryan noted, “We are not minimizing that the rising interest rates are inevitable to help combat inflation. However, housing markets nationwide have been thriving, just as we have been in Northern Virginia. We fully expect that real estate in Northern Virginia will continue to show strong metrics, remain stable and provide long-range equity for serious homebuyers. Such savvy clients are not intimidated by what goes on in politics.”

Year-to-year

The Northern Virginia Association of Realtors reports on January 2018 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 1,097 homes sold in January 2018, a 1.17 percent decrease below January 2017 home sales of 1,110.

Active listings decreased this month compared with 2017. Listings were down about 20 percent below last year, with 2,193 active listings in January, compared with 2,730 homes available in January 2017. The average days on market (DOM) for homes in January 2018 was 63 days, a decrease of 7.35 percent compared to the 68 DOM for homes in January 2017.

The average home sale price rose compared with last January, to $567,710. This is up 3.21 percent compared to January 2017, when the average price was $550,069.

The median sold price of homes this January, which was $475,000, rose by 2.76 percent compared to the median price of $462,250 in January 2017.

The 1,444 new pending home sales in Northern Virginia in January were 2.30 percent below the 1,478 contracts that were pending in January last year. Total pending sales in January were down by almost 10 percent, to 1,720, compared with 1,910 pending contracts in January 2017.

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Truman Lewis
A former reporter and bureau chief, Truman Lewis has covered presidential campaigns, state politics and stories ranging from organized crime to environmental and consumer protection.