Loudoun housing prices flatten as inventory goes up
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.