Welcome! This blog tracks the real estate market in the Central Shenandoah Valley, featuring market data and analysis, an exploration of common buying and selling questions, and candid commentary on all things real estate.
If you are interested in discussing any of the topics on this blog, or the details of your specific real estate situation, call or e-mail me!
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Two and a half years ago (June 2010) there were an astonishing 1,015 homes on the market in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County – including single family homes, townhomes, duplexes and condominiums. As of yesterday, there were just 551 homes for sale in our local marketplace. This startling 46% decline in local housing inventory has far reaching implications for many of us in our local community.
Homeowners are losing less sleep. The median price of homes in our area has declined 10% in the past six years – but what is telling is the trend in median prices over the past 18 months as inventory levels have declined. For the past year and half, median prices have hovered between $173,000 and $177,000 with very little variation. After 18 months without further declines in median sales prices, homeowners in our local area can relax a bit, knowing that their home's value is not continuing to decline.
Would-Be Sellers are still waiting. As is evident from the continued declines in the number of homes for sale, we are not seeing a flood of would-be home sellers putting their houses on the market after having seen that home values have stabilized. If anything, it seems fair to say that the high inventory levels of 2006 were would-be sellers hoping to catch the tail end of the housing boom. Today, those would-be sellers that were not successful seem to be waiting to put their homes on the market until there are signs of increasing sales prices. That is certainly a very reasonable approach unless there is some specific impetus for selling – moving out of the area, a growing family, etc.
Would-Be Buyers are simultaneously frustrated and elated. Many of today's home buyers are not finding very many homes that match what they are looking for in a new home. They often feel they are scraping the bottom of the barrel with the current low inventory levels. Yet at the same time, buyers realize that since we seem to be at the bottom of the market that their opportunities to buy a home at a greater price have been never been better. The added bonus for would-be buyers is the historically low interest rates – as low as 3.25% on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage.
Home builders are dusting off their hammers. As home values declined over the past six years it became increasingly difficult for home builders to compete on price with homeowners who were selling their homes. As inventory levels have declined, however, buyers have had fewer options and prices have stopped declining. As a result, some home builders are starting to see renewed interest in their homes or subdivisions.
While we are likely to see inventory levels start to increase again in the Spring, it is quite likely that we will continue to see historically low inventory levels over the next 12-24 months as our local housing market continues to recover. As always, not only do you need to understand the general market trends in our area, you also must dig deep to explore the specifics of the market that pertain to your particular home. For a thorough understanding of the overall local housing market, please refer to HarrisonburgHousingMarket.com.
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