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Piedmont Real Estate Blog

Culpeper Market November 2011

Dec. 15, 2011
Categorized in: Culpeper County

If you want it in a sound bite: Inventory is much improved. Sales stink!

Here are the details of the Culpeper real estate market.

Year over year the number of houses for sale is down almost 20%. That's terrific news! There are now fewer than 10 months of inventory at the current sales pace. That's getting pretty close to what's traditionally been defined as a healthy market.

You can, of course, find depressing stats as well.

The dollar volume of real estate sold this November as compared to a year ago is down 44%. That's a substantial number. The number of houses sold is down 36%.

But the average sales price is only down 8% year over year. Not nearly so gloomy.

The average days on market has actually improved. A year ago it took, on average over 3 months to get a contract on your house. Now that number is 79 days.

What happens next depends on several factors, including:

  • How many foreclosures are banks waiting to dump on the market?
  • Will Europe implode and drag us back into recession?
  • Will the unemployment numbers continue to improve?

Fauquier Market October 2011

Nov. 28, 2011
Categorized in: Fauquier County

Today we take a look at the October 2011 market statistics for Fauquier County. The beauty of statistics is that you can make them tell pretty much any story you want. And there's certainly that opportunity here!

What the ability to tell different stories should tell you first of all is that there's no dramatic story here. It's more like a muddled mess available to be shaped. Here are some of the elements you may find interesting.

Inventory is almost identical to last October. New listings are up 25% over a year ago. However, new contracts went up even more.

The average sales price is up 2.5% but the median sales price is down 5.5%. The number of units sold in October of 2011 is down about 18% from a year ago.

Sellers are ending up on average at about 90% of their original sales price when the do get the home sold which is taking about 4 months.

What is a buyer or seller to make of all this?

First of all, remember that October is typically when we begin to see a dip heading into winter when activity normally slows.

Second, there's nothing here that would indicate we're seeing any dramatic change in our local housing market. Steady as she goes.

Most importantly remember that this is a county wide look. Where you live in the county matters. The condition of your house matters. How you price your home really, really matters!

Rappahannock Market Update

Sep. 27, 2011
Categorized in: Rappahannock County

It's been awhile since we've taken a look at the stats for individual markets. So we'll start with the smallest market today, Rappahannock, and then do Culpeper, Fauquier and Prince William over the next week.

The October, 2011 report for Rappahannock County shows mostly discouraging news. The total number of Active Listings is, in my mind, the most discouraging number with a total of 108 properties currently looking for buyers. Of the 6 properties sold last month, one third of them were on the market for over a year. The dollar volume of sales is down 58% year over year. The average sold price is down 44% year over year. Average days on market for the county is now 221, up 118% from where we were in October of 2010. The average list price and average sold price are both down over 40%. There's not much in the way of bright spots there.

The sole bit of good news I can offer is that, as usual in Rappahannock, the volumes are so tiny that it's almost impossible to draw many conclusions from a single month's data. Even year over year, volumes are just too small to compare two months and come to any relevant conclusions.

What I can tell you is that if you look at longer term trends, meaning several years worth of data, you see that average monthly sales are up from the depths of the recession. Now that only means that 6-8 houses sell in a given month rather than 3-4. But for those 3 or 4 homeowners, it makes a difference. Days on market remains high, but not as high as it's been. And, where once we were looking at around 3 years of inventory, at the current pace of sales it's more like 18 months.

There is no way to look at the data and suggest prices are better or firmer, although I suspect they're relatively stable.

If you're selling your home in Rappahannock County, make sure it's in excellent condition. If it's not, be prepared to discount it steeply and still wait a long time for the right buyer.


Days on Market Change

Feb. 15, 2008
Categorized in: Sellers

Effective today the methodology for determining how many days a property has been for sale is changing in the local Multiple Listing Service.

The indicator that is changing is something known as Days on Market Property and basically tells you how long the property has been listed for sale, Even if the sellers have changed agents or changed something about the listing, it still shows you the cumulative days on the market.

The rule has been that in order for that number to reset to zero, the property must be off the market for 180 days, essentially six months. If it is relisted after that time the counter starts again at zero. If it's relisted before that 180 days, the counter picks up where it left off. So, if you had your house for sale for 100 days, then took it off the market for two months to make some renovations and relisted it, on the first day it's back on the market it shows it's been listed for 101 days.

The new policy decreases that waiting time from 180 days to 90 days.

The rationale is that the market has changed, houses turn over more often and that the 180 days didn't accurately reflect the market. At least that's the story from the MLS.

In actuality it's motivated by unhappy sellers and their unhappy agents. Let's face it, a house that looks like it's brand new on the market is going to get more attention than a house that's already been listed for four months, or two years! And, when an offer is written, how long it's been for sale is one factor a buyer may want to consider in their offer.

Buyers are definitely the ones on the short end of this stick. The real estate agents who represent buyers can still get the information on how long the house has been for sale. But they're going to have to go that extra mile and do the research. Some of them simply won't bother. And, it becomes close to impossible for the consumer to get this information.

It seems like a short-sighted change that's been made for all the wrong reasons. Changing this kind of data point to deal with market fluctuations just doesn't seem smart. So, while they've no doubt made some sellers a little happier, I doubt they've done anyone any good in the long term.

California Got It Wrong!

Jul. 20, 2007
Categorized in: Business of Real Estate

The Southern California Multiple Listing Service just announced a decision to no longer provide consumers with the "Days on Market" information. The days on market indicator tells you how long a home has been for sale.

The rationale given by the SoCAL MLS is that this number needs interpretation and that the public can't understand this without the use of a real estate professional.

I don't know about you, but I'm deeply offended by that. No organization has ever prospered by telling their clients they just aren't smart enough to understand. While I value the input of professionals to interpret data, I don't believe they should hide the data under the premise that I can't understand or properly interpret what I'm seeing.

If we as real estate professionals won't provide that information, other organizations and/or web sites will. We're deluding ourselves to think that we can be the gatekeepers for this info. And to the extent that someone else is the source of that data, we lose!

 OK, that's my two cent rant! How do you feel? As a consumer, is it important to you to be able to see that number? Are you OK with only being able to get that from a real estate agent? If there is another source of that data online are you more likely to look at listings there?

Piedmont Real Estate Blog

Blog by Julie Emery
Amissville, Virginia

An ongoing dialog on real estate news, opinion and trends in Northern Virginia and the greater Piedmont area. Julie is an Associate Broker at Frankly Real Estate Inc, 6304 Crossroads Circle, Ste 102, Falls Church, VA 22044


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