Never the fan of looking at broad statistics I am veering off a bit today in a brief look at real estate in Fairfax County through 2010.
Let's look at the story of Fairfax County real estate in charts.
Prices in both the single family and condo markets remained stable throughout 2010. Even the subtle undulations can be easily explained: The first time home buyer tax credit expired in May, which drove prices higher. After the tax credit there was a regional spike in inventory that forced prices back down for the fall.
As mentioned above, inventory spiked regionally after the expiration of the tax credit. The chart for the DC metro region as a whole, as well as the ones for specific locations, ie. Falls Church, Vienna, McLean, etc look nearly identical to this one. Given the severity of the spike it is a bit surprising that prices did not see a greater impact than they did during that period.
Days on Market
Days on market in Fairfax County dropped substantially as the tax credit came to an end, and as we pushed beyond the first time home buyer tax credit expiring. Immediately post tax credit many buyers who had been frustrated by multiple offers on their homes of choice stayed in the market and took advantage of the reduced competition. In some cases this paid off through the ability to purchase a home for less than they would have during the tax credit frenzy. Admittedly, it is surprising that a spike in time on market did not occur as the inventory spiked in the late summer/early fall. Time on market is currently on the rise, however that is not seasonally atypical.
What Will 2011 Bring
I don't like to speculate... okay, that's a lie, I LOVE to speculate.
Mortgage rates are on the rise, the DC area has seen the largest price growth of any metropolitan area included in the Case-Schiller index (not a fan, but that is a separate story), and overall prices and inventory seem stable. So what can we expect? Well, all I know is that since Christmas a lot of agents have been getting phone calls from people looking to list homes, and people looking to buy. Who knows whether folks are seeing the creeping interest rates, wanting to avoid the rumored "double dip" or just tired of being ruled by this economy. Regardless of why, activity seems to be picking up. We'll have to look back at the Q1 2011 statistics to find out what that all means/meant.
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