What’s Hot in Northern Virginia Real Estate
Strong job markets near Richmond and Washington D.C. and the continued desirability draw-card on offer continue to give Northern Virginia real estate a boost, despite the widely varied market conditions. Known for its motto: “Virginia is for Lovers”, Northern Virginia, with its varying geography to the west and lovely beaches and Chesapeake Bay to the east, is a pleasurable location for many reasons. So it’s no wonder that this gem of the northeast U.S is a hot option for real estate owners and investors in 2016. With a market in a constant state of change, what are the hottest trends in the northern Virginia real estate market right now? Let’s take a look.
Changes to Mortgage Lending Increasing House Prices
With the Feds raising their rate towards the end of 2015, mortgage interest rates in the U.S are now just above 4%: marginally higher than they have been for most of the 2015 calendar year. This, combined with new mortgage programs coming into the market, makes for an evolving real estate market, and one which can benefit an educated investor or buyer.
Lender Fannie Mae now offers a low down-payment loan which competes with FHA loans currently on the market. The advantage of these loans is that the down-payment can be a gift, so buyers don’t need to have their own money saved for the down-payment. In addition, no-down-payment loans may be making a comeback in 2016, so keep your eyes out for that. Buyers previously held back by high rents, student loan debt, and lower paying jobs could find themselves eligible for lending, generating more sales and driving up prices in the northern Virginia market. It’s entirely possible for the market to increase 3-5% in the near future, based on the easier availability of finance.
Northern Virginia Real Estate Statistics
The Northern Virginia Association of Realtors® issued a report in December 2015 for home sales activity for Fairfax and Arlington counties; the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, and Falls Church; and the towns of Vienna, Herndon, and Clifton. Here’s what they found:
- 1,623 homes sold in December 2015, a 1.69% increase over December the previous year.
- Active property listings increased in December compared with 2014. Total listings are up by 7.36%.
- The average days on market for homes increased by 1.54% compared to 2014.
- The average home sale price fell to $551,451, a 3.71% decrease.
- The median sold price of homes was virtually unchanged at $479,900.
- The 1,226 new pending home sales in Northern Virginia is an increase of 10.05% compared to 2014.
Hot Areas in Northern Virginia Real Estate
If you were wondering where to look for “hot property” in Northern Virginia, then Nela Richardson, chief economist for Redfin in Washington, says demand for homes is much higher in areas close to the city, such as Arlington, McLean, and Alexandria.
Areas such as Del Ray in Alexandria, and Falls Church City, are up and coming performers, as buyers are beginning to realize its affordability compared to surrounding suburbs like Arlington, and they offer similar amenities to Arlington as well. Many buyers are being drawn to these areas as continued efforts are made to make them more walkable and to provide better access to public transportation. It seems the trend is for sales to favour the buyer along the Beltway and near Metro stations, close to these developing amenities.
The Northern Virginia real estate market is on the move, and for those savvy investors making well-informed purchase decisions, there are gains to be made. Lending conditions from financial institutions and the changing economy of the area are driving local development and pushing prices close to construction activity. It’s certainly a hot time for real estate in the area, and a great time to consider property investing for your financial future.