By Joan Shannon
If you’ve been paying any attention to the real estate market during the COVID-19 pandemic, you know one thing: Real estate is sizzling. Median home sale prices continue to rise in Northern Virginia.
It’s been a crazy ride for the past six months in the real estate market, nationally and locally. Headlines touting historic sales numbers are typical. Industry experts are coaching agents on “how to win contracts” in a low inventory market. Many of the claims sound so fantastic, like 24 offers on a property, that you may wonder if they are really true. If so, does it mean you should put your home on the market now? How long will this run last? What’s driving it?
There are many factors driving this current boom market, but one thing we can count on is that not all the stars will align again quite as well as they are lining up right now. And since we can’t expect things to be as predictable as we once thought, I look to September to be the best time to put your home on the market in the past 20 years. I have never seen so many stars in a seller’s favor since becoming a licensed realtor in 2001.
First, there are historically low interest rates. We can expect interest rates to stay in this sweet spot through the November election. These low interest rates allow more buyers to offer higher prices for homes than they will offer if rates hike up, and that puts more dollars directly into the seller’s pocket.
The spring market was heavily impacted by the pandemic from March through May, resulting in more robust sales through the typically slower summer months. Low inventory is driving prices up in Alexandria and appraisals are keeping pace. This summer is acting like the spring markets of the past. The current booming “spring” sales season means you may be able to spike the asking price just a bit without as much worry about an appraisal issue.
Behaviors have changed, for all of us, and our needs have changed. We are all spending more time in our homes, and we naturally want to adapt our homes to our new reality. We want more home offices, more outdoor space and the ability to socially distance at home. For some, it’s a move up from a condo. For others, it’s a move from a townhouse to a detached home in Alexandria or a condo in Florida. The point is, this is a time of transition for everyone.
My crystal ball remains clear through Thanksgiving, when local buyers usually take a break as they focus on the holiday season. But right now, the sellers have the clear advantage.
If you have been thinking of selling your home, this is the time to take action. When it’s ripe, you get the sweetest fruit.
The writer is the founder of the Shannon Group of McEnearney Associates, Inc. and a licensed Virginia/ D.C. Realtor. Contact Joan at 703-507-8655 or [email protected]