2009 Spring Real Estate Update

Posted by on May 5, 2009 in Reston Real Estate Report

2009 Spring Real Estate Update

Happy Spring!

I hope this finds you well and ready for summer.  Below is my January thru April 2009 update on the Reston real estate market and general ‘goings on’ in the market.

FOR SALE There are currently 255 homes for sale in Reston (compared to 260 in January).  This is good (and surprising) since you would expect a surge/increase as people historically wait until spring to list their homes for sale.  We have not seen an increase as yet.  There are 71 detached homes on the market ranging in price from $199,999 to $1,380,000 with an average list price (ALP) of $720,901 and average days on market (DOM) of 60. There are 81 townhouses for sale ranging from $159,900 to $959,900 with an ALP of $451,727 and the average DOM is 62. And finally, there are 103 condominiums for sale ranging from $99,500 to $1,299,000 with the ALP being $339,708 and an average DOM of 71. 

SOLD – January thru April 2008 vs. January thru April 2009

JAN 08 JAN 09 FE 08 FE O9 MR O8 MR 09 AP 08 AP 09
# SOLD 33 58 57 63 69 71 79 99
ALP 447,092 340.709 380,976 310,725 406,753 428,096 455,891 363,151
ASP 431,508 330,551 365,075 300,831 392,369 410,360 440,900 353,789
DOM 69 72 90 62 69 78 46 54


14.239 19.171 20.809 18.952 27.073 29.135 34.831 34.239

Of note:  Number of homes sold is up every month of this year compared to last with April numbers up 25%. In March 2009 the average sales price was up over the year before while in the other three months it was down and down substantially.  While units sold are up, total volume for each of the four months is about the same due to lower sales prices this year.  Lower price ranges may be seeing increased activity due to the first time buyer tax credit.  Sales are increasing monthly.

Opinion: So what does all this mean?  I see a positive trend in that monthly sales have increased each month so far this year from 58 in January to 99 in April.  Due to the current economic climate I am content with getting inventory moved and into the hands of new owners.  And while these are distressing times for many, especially anyone who purchased a home in the last three to four years, the market determines the current value and people are buying when they perceive prices to be fair.  I do not anticipate further erosion in prices.  The average seller in April 2009 received 97% of their asking price. Days on market to sell are trending down.

FORECLOSURES AND SHORT SALES: The topic of the day.  A ‘short sale’ occurs when the home seller owes more on the mortgage than the current value of the property and wants to sell it.  The house may or may not be pending foreclosure. In many cases the lender does not want to talk to you if you are current on the payments since they have a long list of people who are behind and deserve priority.  Foreclosures, generally, I see several a month in Reston – several not many.  Short sales are more common but not prevalent in Reston, unlike many other areas.  Short sales are predominantly in two categories – condos around Reston Town Center due to lots of investor activity and speculative purchasing at the top of the market and townhouses where people bought high and have either been transferred or there is a loss of job/income and the property needs to be sold.

Purchase-wise they are two totally different animals.  The foreclosure you buy from a bank.  The bank is the owner/seller.  There is a popular misconception that you can ‘steal’ a house at foreclosure – not happening.  You probably will pay fair market value, maybe a little less and be forewarned, you are buying it ‘as is’ from the bank – no warranties so be careful.  Remember…if it sounds too good to be true…The short sale you are buying from the seller and a bank or two.  They require a ton of work as the bank does not own the house and yet you are forced to deal with them.  Every bank is different, every short sale is different; they can take months to get resolved. Many never go to settlement.  This is not to say that some folks are not getting a good deal, some are.  For the young person living at home, those renting month to month, investors or for someone with a ‘just don’t care attitude’ they can be accomplished but it takes lots of work and patience.

VALUES: Will foreclosures and short sales affect the value of my house?  Most likely not.  We have been told that the appraisers take into account the circumstances and other sales should more than offset the lower than market sale price.

GREAT RATES: Mortgage rates continue to improve and are currently below 5% for 30-year conventional fixed rate conforming money (under $729,000).

And with that said, there goes all the space for this issue.  As always, I wish you much success and happiness!  If you know of anyone looking to buy or sell a home please think of me. You can always search all homes for sale, get email updates of homes for sale, learn more and contact me thru our website.

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