~ January 2012 ~
The Shirlington real estate may have limped in with just 9 condos going to settlement in January, which was below the 13 units that sold in January 2011, though it is historically a slow month following the holidays. What does stand out is the number of units with ratified offers, at 28, in normally slow January. Apparently, many potential buyers had holiday visions of home ownership and made an offer once the holidays were over.
Inventory… or more correctly the lack of inventory is an issue currently, with the Shirlington real estate market having less than 2 months of inventory at the January sales pace. Further, many of the units currently on the market have been gathering Days On Market, either due to over pricing or poor condition for the price, so the number of truly move in ready units is probably below 1 month of inventory. Those sellers that can bring there unit onto the market before the traditional Spring market should find that competition is light and works to their advantage.
The Shirlington area is surrounded mainly by condominium developments, with some fee simple town home/row homes & apartment buildings, and has a main street section with restaurants, movie theatre, award winning live theatre at the Signature, County library, and boutiques. Shirlington Village, which is the proper name, also hosts community activities from the Christmas Tree lighting to Octoberfest to a pet adoption festival, so that on any given weekend the streets and outdoor restaurant seating in filled with local residents. Since it is not on a Metrorail line (but next to I-395 to get to the Pentagon & Washington DC), housing prices are lower per square foot than condos near the Orange line in North Arlington or the Yellow/Blue line to the East in Alexandria City. For all these reasons, it is a preferred destination and location to buy a condo by first time home buyers, military/relocation, and a few empty nesters looking to downsize into a vibrant area.
An interesting point is that more than half of the settlements occurred on units priced in the $300K-$400K range, versus December when 60% of units were below the $300K mark. Due to Shirlington’s close-in location, the $250K-$300K price range represents the entry point for most of the sought after developments in the area. There are lower priced units available, but they tend to be in high rise buildings or developments with poor financials, so that resale down the road can be an issue. To this I would add properties that have all the utilities included in the condo fee, which is an idea that I advise buyers to avoid. This almost always leads to increases to the monthly condo assessment that are above the average for the area, which slows down appreciation of the unit and how attractive it is in the marketplace.
With that in mind, you have to be properly priced for condition in today’s market and avoid “testing” the market for a higher price. The market has very little sympathy or patience for a "good try"; so you need an agent that has proven experience in Shirlington and can help you interpret the market to get you settled.
Please contact me today so that we can start the process of getting you to SOLD!