Real estate prices up, sales slower in Northern Virginia

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Median sale prices were up in many parts of the Northern Virginia region in November, according to the Long & Foster Real Estate Market Minute report. Alexandria City, for example, experienced an increase of 6 percent, resulting in a median sale price of $550,000 compared to $518,200 in November 2017.

Units sold were down throughout the region, ranging from a 1 percent decline in Fairfax County to a 21 percent decline in Arlington County. Inventory continued to fall in most parts of Northern Virginia, though it remained steady year-over-year in Prince William County.

“Inventory is continuing to contract in many of our markets, including the Northern Virginia market. It’s been the same story for the past 36 months, and in the past few months it’s become a drag on unit sales,” said Larry “Boomer” Foster, president of Long & Foster Real Estate. “With interest rates so low, there are still opportunities to buy in the market, but it may take more effort to find them.”

Worried about underpricing?

While most buyers are looking for move-in ready homes, which sell quickly, there are properties available that stay on the market much longer, typically because they aren’t updated, Foster said.  Having vision when looking at those properties can help buyers create a home that fits their needs and tastes.

“It helps to be aware and do your homework – being an informed buyer is very important right now,” Foster said. “Often consumers don’t know that there are construction and renovation loan options that roll the cost of renovating a home into the mortgage loan. This is why it’s so important to have a knowledgeable, professional real estate agent, like those at Long & Foster, representing you on the biggest investment you’ll ever make.”

For home sellers, it’s important that they base their list price on the actual sale price of comparable homes in their neighborhood. Foster said if buyers don’t feel the features and benefits of the home justify the list price, it won’t sell.

“People worry that they’re going to price their home too low, but if a home is underpriced, it will receive multiple offers that push the price up to what the market will bear,” Foster said. “Consumers don’t usually sell homes very frequently, which can make it hard to understand the importance of pricing, but good agents do it every day. Trust their opinions and recommendations.”

 

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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.