A recent Washington Post article began with the words "In the midst of the worst real estate market in years..." and continued on to indicate that the largest privately owned real estate firm in the country had just named a new president and chief operating officer to lead that company through "these difficult economic times." While I acknowledge that the economy poses some real challenges for a lot of us, I would argue that the real estate market is actually showing signs of improvement in Northern Virginia.
August sales statistics indicate that while the average sales price has dropped since last year, the number of homes sold has increased by 6 percent over 2007 (1,812 homes sold in 2008 versus 1,713 in 2007), and the inventory of homes for sale has been declining steadily since late Spring.
Lower prices are good news for buyers. First time buyers are discovering that they can buy a home for less then they are currently paying in rent; move-up buyers find that they are saving more on their new home than they had to forgo on the sale of their old home; and investors are finding properties that provide them a positive cash flow in addition to potential for substantial equity. For these individuals, we may be in the midst of the best real estate market in years!
Whether the current real estate market is the worst or the best is wholly dependent on how it affects your long range plans and goals. Is this your golden opportunity to buy your first home, invest in real estate, or should you wait? Only you know that answer to that question.