Up and Down in Loudoun County

According to this article on LoudounExtra.com, Loudoun’s real estate market seemed to awaken from hibernation a bit in February. Citing numbers from the Dulles Area Association of Realtors (DAR), the article states that realtors sold 48 more houses in February than in January, and the median sales price was about $5000 higher.  

Good news? Well, kind of. Since the number of homes sold in January 2008 was the lowest total this decade*, it didn’t set a very high bar. Although we’ll definitely take whatever crumbs of improvement we can get (it’s surely better than the alternative), the numbers are still looking a little sad when compared to last year’s. In February 2007, realtors sold almost 100 more houses than in 2008, and the median price was about $45,000 higher. Below is a rundown of the numbers. 

  FEB. 2007 FEB. 2008 +/-
# OF HOMES SOLD 370 264 -106
MEDIAN PRICE $419,900 $374,950 -$44,950

*Total number homes sold in Jan. 2008 = 216; median price = $370,000. 

A few other interesting February tidbits, per LoudounExtra.com and DAR:

  • Average number of days on the market for sold properties: 120
  • Properties sold for an average of 90.1% of list price
  • Number of active listings: 3321
  • Supply of properties on the market: 12.5 months (yikes!)
  • Loudoun’s price peak: December 2005 (median price = $509,950)

From my vantage point, it seemed like the uptick from January to February was due to foreclosure/short sale movement. In my development (Lansdowne), I counted at least 5 foreclosures/short sales that got scooped up by buyers last month. All of them were detached homes in the low $500,000 to low $600,000 range, and were similar or identical models, so it seems as if we might have a bit of price discovery on our hands. And although I’m still seeing a fair number of overpriced homes coming on the market, I’ve also noticed that more and more sellers are making friends with reality and pricing their houses based on “what is”, rather than on “what should be”. What will be interesting to see is if the Fed’s recent rate cut and corresponding market recovery help bring interest rates back down a bit as we go into the spring, to make it easier for buyers to take advantage of some of the amazing deals to be had.