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.
Yet 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.