Posted by: jimlyons | February 22, 2012

The State of the Housing Market in Old Town Alexandria, Va



It seemed only appropriate since the State of The Union address was recently delivered, that we provide the State of the Local Housing Market as well.

Lots of pundits and opinions on this subject as well. For the longest time, we’ve been hearing about what a great time it is to buy a home, historically low rates, low home prices and sellers willing to provide concessions they might not otherwise provide-anything to sell that house.

On the other hand, buyers could be picky and demanding – reveling in putting the squeeze on the seller for concessions, repairs and perhaps that cute family dog.

Well, the housing world is in flux here in the Alexandria Old Town area as well as the surrounding communities-sellers are starting to get their groove back! Sellers no longer leave their home anxiously awaiting negative buyer feedback, complaints on the level of upgrades and unrealistic low ball offers that real estate agents reluctantly encourage sellers to consider. Rising prices, lack of inventory and multiple offers are infusing new confidence for home sellers.

The market here is changing and has been for some time. Inventory levels have dropped to the lowest levels since 2005. Real estate is a very local commodity and nowhere else can it be seen in this light as in the inventory and sales in specific ZIP codes and neighborhoods.

In the real estate world, Months of Supply (MOS) is a leading indicator of the health of a market. This number looks at how long, measured in months, it would take to sell all current housing inventory in a specific market. Experts cite six months of housing supply as being the dividing line between a “sellers market” and a “buyers market” – below six months of housing inventory, it’s a seller’s market, above – well you get it.

The current MOS in 22314-Old Town is 2.93 (Dec 2011-Jan numbers not available yet) and has been well below the six month mark for some time now. Supply and demand. Our neighbors in the Del Ray, Rosemont, Ft. Hunt and other surrounding areas are also experienced this shortage of inventory. Not every ZIP code is this healthy but it’s generally true in the Alexandria markets.

Prices have continued to stabilize and inch upward in local ZIP codes with Old Town experiencing a 8.25% gain in average sale price and a 7.8% gain in median sale price in 2011. This is a year-over-year number as of December 2011. Average unit sales were up 5.11% LY with days on market (DOM) having an increase of 17% over LY.

Rising consumer confidence and the Alexandria unemployment rate, 4.5% as of October 2011 is another strong factor contributing to the health of the local markets. In addition, experts predict BRAC development (Base Realignment and Consolidation) will continue to significantly impact the local Alexandria housing market.

Finally, changing buyer and seller demographics from the National Association of Realtors Survey ofHome Buyers and Sellers –Nov 2011 indicates current home owners with good equity positions have become major factors in the market thereby opening opportunities for entry level and first time home buyers.

All in all, the local housing market in Old Town and surrounding neighbors looks very bright for 2012. Time for both sellers and buyers to get off the proverbial fence and back into the real estate market. Unlike our politicians, we can all agree that a recovering housing market is in the best interests of all!


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