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Loudoun housing prices flatten as inventory goes up

In a season that was supposed to be like a rubber band, the housing market snapped back into its pre-crash place. Home prices have flattened and overall sales are down, according to a report from the Dulles Area Association of Realtors.

Traditionally home sales pick up in the warmer spring and summer months, and a stronger than average showing in April gave optimism.

However, May showed the flattest year-over-year sales prices for the month since 2012.

"Prices are definitely not going up," said Beckwith Bolle, a principal broker with Carter Braxton Preferred Properties.

Inventory almost doubled for the same month a year ago, according to Bradley Boland, a Realtor with Keller Williams, and the current president of the Virginia Association of Realtors.

"It's a double-edged sword. The prices have flattened out, because there is more inventory," said Boland.

Even though the sales price has flattened and fewer homes have sold than last year, the most houses were listed in Loudoun for the month of May since before the housing crash more than five years ago.

Boland says there is, however, optimism in one sector.

"People who were underwater are now looking to go to the move-up market," said Boland.

The move-up market is where people sell their homes and move to something larger or nicer.

"What's missing is the first-time home buyer," said Boland.

In a lot of cases, because first-time home buyers are not entering the market there are fewer people to buy the houses residents are hoping to sell in order to move up.

Boland listed major student debt and underemployment as major culprits for the lack of people entering the first-time home buyer market.

Bolle also mentioned that rentals are still moving, which shows that people are more than happy to keep renting until they can get a better job or pay down mountains of student debt.

Another strong area for homes is turnkey properties, homes which are ready to move into immediately.

Updated homes with new appliances or upgrades are selling quickly, according to Boland.

"The places which are ready to sell, that are priced competitively are moving," said Boland.

The market does seem to be sending mixed messages to home buyers. Prices are flattening out, so buy. But some houses are staying on the market for only days and many people are beginning to list, so sell.

"Some things are selling immediately and some are not," said Bolle. "It has become a buyer's market when it comes to negotiations."

In January DAAR released a report that showed growth in sales in January, a time when some Realtors were hoping for a big bounce back.

In January the concern was low inventory, which will not be the case this summer.

In April the Times-Mirror reported a great beginning to the spring, after a chilly winter season.

For more information and to see the report visit dullesarea.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/DAAR-Housing-Market-Update0514.pdf.


Everett - Your calculation on taxes and extras is crazy; $3000 a month? How much do you pay for insurance? The tax is about $7k a year on a $600K home. My insurance with car combined is less than a $1000 a year. You are not even tacking on $1000 a month with home owners and utilities

Everett… Taxes and Insurance don’t end up in the Bank’s pocket, so they don’t really factor into te equation. Plus those numbers are subject to change up or down by switching insurance companies or property tax assessments. In any case, adding an extra $1000/mo of debt a home owner should have addressed before buying a house to support your numbers is a bit weak to say that Loudoun Homes are unaffordable.

Homes in Loudoun, be it $300k townhomes or $500k single family homes, are affordable. They are affordable to those who take responsibility with their Debt to Income ratio, have median income jobs, and don’t blame everybody else for their misfortune.

I will say this, if you want a home in Loudoun, you likely need a dual income.


You should stop sugar coating everything. Let me guess…you were one of those people that said the recession was over 3.50 years ago?

A 500K house with 20% down means your financing $400,000. That brings a monthly payment of interest and principal at $2,100 (assuming 4.75% fixed 30 years). Factor in LC property taxes (highest in VA), HOA, and insurance were at $3,000 per month. If you make 120K per year you NET out at $7,100 per month AFTER taxes. Most people carry car and credit card debt, so let’s figure $1,000 per month. Now your at $4,000 (3,000 mortgage + 1,000 credit and car debt). That equates to 56.3% debt to income ratio (4,000 debt / 7,100 income). That is WAY over the 33% threshold you stated. Yes, banks do look at other forms of debt in this 28-33% percent threshold. Even the more “relaxed” banks will stretch to 40%, but last time I checked 56.3% is still greater than 40.0%.

Looks like Joe can’t afford that 500K house after all unless he puts WAY more money down.

I agree many homes are selling at 500K plus, but purchased by those with higher than median income or LARGE down payments .

Fed:  Here is a nice Affordability Calc so you can stop believing that Loudoun is unaffordable—http://money.cnn.com/tools/houseafford/houseafford.html

fedupdude:  A bank will approve a mortgage if your monthly payments don’t exceed 28%-33% of your income. A $500k home will run you about $31,000/yr ($2600/mo). A household earning $120k a year is bringing home $10k a month. They are more than capable of being approved. Taxes, Debt, etc will adjust those numbers. But there is no reason a family w/$120k in income and 20% down on a house can afford a home in Loudoun.

And guess what?  They are, because homes are selling and many are $500k+.

This is not a political issue, homes are supply and demand. Prices top out because of market factors.

That is exactly what the liberals want you to believe Fred and Dude.  Keep telling yourself that houses are fairly priced, that is what the liberal media wants you to believe. You probably also are one of those that think the real estate taxes are fair and should be increased to fully fund LCPS to"support our children’s future”

Fred- Your math is skewed. If your income is 120K the most a bank will lend you is 325K (assuming 20% down).  Your math is only correct if you put down 175K to 275K the you can get the 500K-600K house no problem.

My household has always made above the median income, and we purchased a house many years ago WELL below are means (i.e. 150K income with a house price of 375K 20% percent down).

Let’s hope your not a LCPS teacher especially math.

The household income in Loudoun County is well over $100,000/yr. I believe it’s around $120,000/yr. That’s enough money for the average household to afford a $600k (+/- $50k) house.  Most townhomes in Loudoun are in the $300k range and single family is in the $500k range.

I’m sorry to say, homes in Loudoun County are fairly priced. I believe the issue is that your household isn’t making the same amount of money as the average household in Loudoun. I don’t believe it’s unreasonable to find plenty of Loudoun Households (Husband/Wife + Kids) with each income earner bringing home $50k-$60k a year. Which makes Loudoun housing affordable.

When all the homes are $1,000,000 and household incomes have remain unchanged, then you can cry about housing being overpriced.

Don’t forget to include restrictive land use policies that raise housing pricing.  They have the unintended consequences of forcing people into WV who then drive through Loudoun County.

I suspect we are hitting the ceiling on prices because of loan limits. In the past they upped lending limits to move the price of home but with an economy with slow wage growth that is unlikely to happen.

Overrated and over priced is a matter of personal perspective. The price is set by the market and guess what you live in the county with the highest median income.

Chris that was 16 years ago (1998). Grandma is probably talking about current prices in which case they are WAY over priced.  As long as the federal government keeps spending recklessly the home prices in DC suburbs will remain high. Perhaps as interest rates rise the prices MAY come down a bit.

That’s interesting you say that, Grandma. When we bought in Sterling (Forest Ridge) about 16 years ago, it was because we thought that LC was undervalued and underpriced. Just moving across the border from Herndon in Fairfax County to Sterling in LC bought us a huge back yard for what we would have paid for a much smaller lot in Fairfax.

Homes are too expensive in Loudoun county. Overrated and over priced. The material they use to build them is not worth the price.

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