As expected, the spring market has come early this year. This is a tough time of year because sellers aren’t quite ready to go on the market but buyers (ever more concerned about the likelihood of interest rates rising) are anxious to get started! As a result, we’re already seeing multiple offers and escalations above list price fairly regularly, just like last year. With the lack of inventory, it’s more important than ever that agents be networking to find out about those ‘coming soon’ listings, and be available on short notice–one of the reasons we at the Wethman Group love working as part of a team. Homes are regularly selling before the open houses when priced right.
To serve our clients even better, we continue to grow our team and welcome licensed Realtor Bridget Hodge as our Client Care & Listings Manager. We’re thrilled to have such an experienced agent join our team dedicated to marketing our listings effectively. Bring on those seller referrals!
In market news, the industry seems to be divided as to whether we are pushing forward to new highs, or if the strongest part of the housing recover is over
. ”The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index ended its best year since 2005,” said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “However, gains are slowing from month-to-month and the strongest part of the recovery in home values may be over.” Gains may be slowing but they’re certainly not over; The unusually severe winter seems to be skewing the numbers for December and January (February and even March may be oddly low for the DC area given this latest storm so don’t be surprised if the final numbers don’t accurately reflect the hot market we’re in–take out 7 days for bad weather and the averages are highly skewed.)
Not surprisingly, neighborhoods in our area are appreciating unevenly, but you may be surprised by some of the DC areas with the greatest gains in 2013: Anacostia, 14th St, Deanwood, Fort Totten, Georgia Ave, and Kennedy St, among others. Curious what your neighborhood did? Check out this list of median sales price, per square foot cost, days on market, and list price to sales price ratio for each zip code. Regardless of area, it’s clear that the 2013 was stronger than 2012 in every way, from sales to days on market, to sales price.
Another sign of the strengthening market is that developers are definitely back. We can see new ground being broken on smaller projects in DC as well as large scale redevelopment elsewhere, including Pentagon City and Crystal City.
Virginia has recognized the challenge in coming up with down payments and is expected to pass the First Time Homebuyer Savings Plan. Virginians will be able to put up to $50,000 in savings accounts, mutual funds, brokerage accounts, and any other investments as “first-time home buyer savings plan accounts,” making the earnings on those accounts free of state taxes. The funds can be used for down payments and closing costs on first homes. In reality, the savings to the taxpayer is likely small, but the fact that the vehicle now exists is likely to get people thinking about saving specifically for down payments.
Speaking of first time buyers, we have first time home buyer classes scheduled for Wednesday, March 26 andWednesday, April 16. As always, the class is free but registration is requested athttp://www.newhomebuyerclass.com Let your friends know! If those dates don’t work, we’re happy to meet over coffee to walk through the materials.
NOW is the time to start getting your house ready if you’re thinking of selling this year. It always takes longer than expected to de-clutter, arrange for repairs, and stage. Today’s savvy buyers expect homes to be well maintained and show beautifully if you want to get top dollar (thanks, HGTV). If you know someone thinking of selling, please have them call us for a no obligation consultation and checklist of how to prepare for the Spring market.