The start of a new year brings about a time of reflection, but also marks a time of planning and preparation for the upcoming year. For the Patterson Group, that means analyzing current conditions to make our predictions for what is to come in the 2019 real estate market. Here are some factors we are following, and the impact we expect on the Alexandria market:
AN EARLY SPRING MARKET
We are expecting an early start to the spring market. Assuming no major snow storms hit and this mild winter continues, we think the market will pick up significantly in mid-February. The two interest rate increases forecast for 2019 will also help kick-start the early spring market as buyers may look to purchase before rates go up.
It is no secret that the stock market has taken a hit over the last few weeks. The stock market’s behavior does influence home-buying activity. People tend to make less risky financial moves and ride out the wave of uncertainty. We expect the national real estate market to take more of a hit than Northern Virginia. We may see buyers with a shortage of cash who put less money down, but who have good incomes and can make large monthly payments.
We will begin to see small effects of Amazon, but do not expect significant impacts quite yet as only 400 HQ2 employees will be making their way to National Landing in 2019. Homes less than $800,000 in walking distance to amenities like restaurants, shops, dog parks, and Metro stations will likely see multiple offer situations.
We expect the market to remain a sellers’ market; the shortage of homes on the market will result in a slow but steady increase in prices in highly sought-after zip codes like 22301 and 22314. Multiple offer situations have become the norm. Buyers need be more than just pre-approved when seriously looking for a home. If they find a home they like, they will need to be ready to act quickly.
Buyers are getting smarter. They are willing to pay premiums for move-in ready homes but have little desire to negotiate with unrealistic sellers. Sellers who put in the prep work to paint, de-clutter, and “neutralize” their homes will see the most impact as the current buyer pool has little cash for renovation and tends to pay more for move-in ready.