Northern Virginia Real Estate Market Update through October 2009

The Northern Virginia Real Estate Market continues to clip along at about a pace that would sell all the houses on the market in 3.5 months.  This is the type of market where prices would be expected to rise, and indeed have been rising.  In the spreadsheets below, you can see that in most jurisdictions, average prices are right around where they were a year ago, after spending the last several years falling.

You should never assume that because the average price in an area has risen or fallen that the value of houses in that area has done the same.  For example, if you are in an area where all the homes are around $300K, and a builder comes in and builds and sells homes for $900K, the average price in your area is going to go up even if the existing homes are selling for less than they had been.  In other words, average price is affected by both the direction of the market, and by the mix of houses on the market.

That being said, I believe the market value of homes in Northern Virginia is very similar to what they were a year ago.  People who bought a year ago are coming close to breaking even if they sell right now and some are making a profit.  This is not true of people who bought 2 or 3 years ago at this point.  Generally speaking, those people are selling at a loss.

For example, this house sold in March of 2008 (as a foreclosure) for just over $470K.  It was just listed for $600K, and is under contract.  Last year’s listing of this house doesn’t have photos, but even assuming the owners put a lot of improvements into the house, that is a big jump.

Another example is this house that sold (and the pictures show it was in excellent condition) for a net price of $313K in April 2008 and was recently on the market for $308K, and went under contract.  We don’t yet know the final sales price, but it likely won’t be too far off from where it sold last year.

These are worth noting because it’s been several years since a recent buyer could break even or turn a profit in Northern Virginia.  We have now seen a solid six months of escalating prices that have started to make up for some of the losses of the down market.  Here are all the numbers:

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Written by Jeff Royce of Frankly Real Estate, Inc. Fairfax, VA, 571-482-7817

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