Today we gathered as a family celebrating Thanksgiving and our blessings. Lately it seems no matter where I go the conversation turns to real estate values and market conditions so today was no different. We had folks from Richmond to Lake Anna to Spring Creek to Gordonsville to Charlottesville to Crozet so we cut a wide swath through the Central Virginia market.
All the neighborhoods and markets were seeing short sales & foreclosures driving prices down. The inventory of homes for sales across Central Virginia remains high continuing the buyer’s market (more homes for sale than buyers). On the positive side home mortgage interest rates remain low. For many renters the lower housing prices and low interest rates make for a mortgage payment less than current rent. Renters need to look at the house purchase as a long term (4+ years in most cases) housing option and not a quick buy and flip option. I have had several renters take advantage of the markets this year moving into home ownership. For each 1st time homebuyer, the process and decisions remain individual choices based on unique options. 1st time homebuyers should evaluate the options to make sure buying is right for them. Several of today’s lunch discussion participants had children moving out to attend college or were recently married. These family changes lead to evaluating housing changes. Some were in the process of selling the current to home and purchasing a replacement home that would better meet their needs. All those selling did not receive the 2005 high price for the home, but they made up for the market correction by purchasing a home with high value options and upgrades at a lower replacement price. One participant even found the current market did not provide the correct mix of buy and sell options to meet their needs so they are staying in the current home. During the lunch I received an e-mail from an investor work on a purchase of rental property outside my market area. We evaluated some numbers and worked with the local RE/MAX agent to present a counter offer. Contrary to what we sometimes hear in the media, homes continue to sell in Central Virginia. Some national economists predict residential real estate values and corresponding sales prices to rise by the 4th quarter of 2011. Are we at the bottom of the real estate market correction? We will not know till we are passed the bottom and prices have increased!
The current market provides some great buys on real estate. Buyers need to evaluate the options and decide the correct buy, sell or hold option for their individual needs. If you’re interested in evaluating your options in the current market, I am here to help, so let’s talk!