What’s dominating the Northern Virginia Market?

Real Estate Agent with Integrity Real Estate Group

More and more we hear buyer's (and agents) complaining that all they can find for sale in Northern Virginia are short sales and foreclosures.  But is that really true?  For most of the first half of 2009 anyone searching through the Northern Virginia MLS quickly found short sales dominated the listing categories.  In Prince William County which many in our area used to refer to as foreclosure ground zero the number of foreclosure properties listed in the MLS has dropped dramatically.  

Prince William County Active ListingsYet when you search the MLS you find that the majority of properties listed for sale are regular sales.  So what is the issue?   Is it a matter of price point that makes the difference for buyers to find a regular sale?  Turns out the answer is NO.  Our market seems to be dominated by first time homebuyers hoping to take advantage of the current $8000 tax credit and the competition for lower priced properties is fierce.  Yet 32% of the properties below $250,000 are NOT short sales or foreclosures and overall in Prince William County 64% of the active listings are NOT short sales or foreclosures.

So what gives?  Have buyers been seduced by the media that says the best deals available are foreclosures and short sales?   Has anyone noticed the new construction properties with deliveries available in the next few months available below $250,000?  My buyers in the last two weeks have snapped up two regular sales and one new construction property with absolutely no hassles or any other offers!

If you are a buyer in the Prince William County market you may be missing out on a great opportunity.  While you sit and wait on what seems to be a bargained priced short sale or figuring out how to pay for the repairs on a foreclosure, a regular sale a block away is just waiting for an offer.  With strong negotiations you may find you have saved yourself time and money by dealing directly with a seller.  Don't be seduced by the media that wants you to believe that the only good deal is a distressed property.  There are more regular sales on the market than short sales and foreclosures combined.  Take a look you might be surprised at what you find.


One thing to always caution about listings and numbers in the MLS is that not all agents accurately flag their listings per new data fields added to the system.  If a property has been in the MLS for over 60 days without any changes it could be a short sale and not appropriately identified.

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                                   Real People*Real Lives*Real Estate

If you are interested in learning more about the Northern Virginia Real Estate market including Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax and Prince William Counties give Cindy Jones and Integrity Real Estate Group a call at 703-346-2213.

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Integrity Real Estate Group
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Comments (14)

Alexander- Slocum
Premiere Property Group, LLC - Vancouver Washington - Vancouver, WA
Realty Team- Vancouver WA Real Estate

Hi Cindy, we are finding a similar situation in the Vancouver WA market.  Pre-forclosures and foreclosed homes are about 35% or so of the active listings yet only about 40% of the pending or closed sales.  Yes, prices on all homes are lower but it does not mean that the best deal for a particular home buyer will be a short sale or foreclosed home.  Thanks!  John

Jul 09, 2009 09:58 AM
Brian Block
RE/MAX Allegiance, Managing Broker/Branch Vice President - McLean, VA
Northern Virginia & D.C. Real Estate

Cindy, there are certainly plenty of regular sales out there.  It's just that the short sales and foreclosures get all the media attention.  Thanks for the analysis and breakdown of the numbers in Prince William.

Jul 09, 2009 10:05 AM
Jim Crawford
Maximum One Executive REALTORS® - Atlanta, GA
Jim Crawford Atlanta Best Listing Agents & REALTOR

Great post.   There are many opportunities in the market including new homes.  The media has persons focusing on the wrong things.

Jul 09, 2009 11:59 AM
Kathryn Gorham
Green Key Realty - Emerald Isle, NC
Emerald Isle NC Crystal Coast

Ok - I typed a great response & then went to submit it and my blue tooth mouse batteries died - I went on the search for batteries and came back and lost my response.  So here it goes again.

In reading your post I am reminded that perception is reality. The press creates a perception not necessarily based on facts. (Thank you for posting the facts.) However if left unchallenged that perception becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.

So the advice to buyers, sellers and everyone is - question everything!

Jul 09, 2009 01:49 PM
Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

Alexander-the percentage of short sales that make it to closing before the bank takes them back is far lower than the regular sales!

Jul 09, 2009 10:52 PM
Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

Brian-I know you are out looking at the regular sales too!

Jul 09, 2009 10:53 PM
Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

Jim-I've been visiting a number of the new home developments recently with my clients.  We found a delivery ready new TH for less than 250K and negotiated closing costs.  This home was in the same development as a foreclosure that we toured in the same price range that needed work!

Jul 09, 2009 10:54 PM
Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

Kathryn-great addition to the post.  It is always interesting meeting with new buyers and finding out what they think they can find in our market at certain price points.  The media has certainly set expectations at a different level than reality.

Jul 09, 2009 10:58 PM
Sheila Moran
RE/MAX Access (Garden Ridge, San Antonio, New Braunfels) - New Braunfels, TX
SanAntonioSheila.com, RE/MAX Access, 210-32


Interesting...this makes me think that I need to investigate my area too...

thanks for the thoughts!

and good for your area!

Jul 10, 2009 02:19 PM
Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

Sheila-more agents need to look through the MLS and spread the word in their markets.  Maybe buyers would take a different look at the inventory if they knew they didn't have to sit and wait for a short sale.

Jul 11, 2009 12:49 AM
Renée Donohue~Home Photography
Savvy Home Pix - Allegan, MI
Western Michigan Real Estate Photographer

I LOVE THE GRAPH!  You know my graph looks very very different.  I am glad you are using this tool for your buyers, sellers and general public.  You win every time when you "spread the word" and present it in a very appealing manner!

Jul 12, 2009 07:47 AM
Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

 Renee-I think sometimes a simple quick graph can catch a buyer or sellers attention faster than trying to read through a long list of numbers. 

Jul 14, 2009 11:22 PM
Michael Bergin
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - ABR - SRES - Alexandria, VA
Northern Virginia Real Estate

Cindy -

I always appreciate your crystal clear look at the market place.  And you are absolutely right, too many folks think the only way they can get "a deal" is to focus on short sales and foreclosures - just not so.


Aug 14, 2009 02:09 AM
Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

Michael-thank you for your comment.  I have had a slew of regular sales on the market this year and more coming.  Deals are all around in this market.

Aug 14, 2009 12:25 PM