Despite this summer’s record heat wave, area realtors say homebuyers still are getting out for sales.
This summer’s home sales numbers are up compared with last year, according to reports released earlier this week and last month.
Regionally, the mid-Atlantic’s median home sales prices rose 7.39 percent compared with last year, according to a June report by Real Estate Business Intelligence. On average, homes in the mid-Atlantic region stayed on the market 75 days, nearly 10 days shorter than last year.
The Washington, D.C., metro region outperformed many of its neighbors in the mid-Atlantic on prices, but home sales growth in the area — which had been categorized as more stable because of the high volume of government jobs — did not show the rebound seen in other areas.
In Fairfax County, median home sale prices rose 2.27 percent to $450,000 compared with the same price last year. Loudoun County home sale prices decreased 1.23 percent to a median price of $404,950 compared with last year. Neighboring Montgomery County, Md. fared better than its Virginia neighbors, boasting an 8.36 percent median home sale price increase over last year.
“We’ve been seeing a lot of first-time buyers saying ‘My rent is going up again in the next few months so I’m looking to buy my first home,’” said realtor Pat Kline, who chairs the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors.
“We would like more inventory and we’ve been saying that all year long,” she said. “Sellers sometimes don’t understand that the market is better for them now. Some of them still think that they’re going to be beat up in the market.”
Kline’s primary listing areas are Springfield, Annandale, Alexandria and Arlington. She said first-time homebuyers and retirees looking to downsize are the big buyers this summer. Kline also said homes are spending on average about 24 percent less time on the market.
“This time of year people go on vacation. But it’s been pretty steady. Even with our 100-plus degree heat, people are still going out and looking at homes,” Kline said.
Fellow realtor Virgil Frizzell, whose work focuses in Reston, Herndon and Fairfax said he also is seeing a boom in first-time homebuyers.
“The prices seem to be creeping up a bit. In May, the [D.C. areas] prices year-over-year were up 7 percent,” he said. “It costs more to rent than buy, so people are looking more to buy.”
Frizzell advises those looking to sell their homes that if they price their home fairly, it likely will sell quickly.
“Fairfax County is pretty hot,” he said. “In some ways some of the high-end homes in Loudoun are not selling as well as in Fairfax. But at the same time, some of the starter homes and condos in Loudoun are selling better. I think things are selling better in Loudoun County now that its board of supervisors approved the rail [to Washington Dulles International Airport].”
Although Frizzell and Kline said inventory could be better in terms of volume, fellow realtor Heather Embrey said she is seeing greater inventory numbers compared to last year in her sale areas of Vienna, Annandale and Falls Church.
“More sellers are willing to sell than before because they are seeing more activity,” Embrey said, adding home sellers also are seeing more stability in the housing market. She said she also is seeing a boost in the number of first-time homebuyers looking for homes because of rent increases.
“It just makes sense for them. Their rents are higher and they are maybe just looking for more stability,” she said. “It’s not always a perfect fit for someone to buy a home and I’d hate to see someone rush out and purchase a home just because someone says the time is now.”
Northern Virginia Association of Realtors is hoping to dispel some concerns reluctant home sellers and buyers still might have about entering the market. The NVAR recently launched a new “Ask Me!” campaign, where those looking to buy or sell can ask their questions about the market. Learn more about “Ask Me!” at AskMeNVAR.com.