July 2014: The Wethman Group’s Real Estate News

July 25, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

The Wethman Group is having a banner spring, with 9 settlements in May, 7 more in June, and 8 on the books for July. But, overall in the DC area, the market slowed down versus expectations in May and June. Closed sales and new contracts decreased from May 2013 by 10.6% and 4.5%, respectively. Active listings increased 30.6%, which is the highest level in 2 years. But that increase, while welcome, is not translating into lower prices. Prices in May were the 28th month in a row of year-over-year increases. (Click here for the full market report)

Despite slightly higher inventory this spring, buyers continue to be frustrated with the selection available to them, leading to consumer pressure to create ‘coming soon’ forums. Zillow recently jumped into the arena by launching a Coming Soon category, creating a lot of concern and confusion in the industry about advertising ‘coming soon’ properties versus ‘pocket listings’ (defined as listings where agents don’t publicly advertise the listing, or advertise only to a select group of buyers, often to the detriment of their sellers.) Expect some articles in the press over the next few months as this plays out. Coming soon actually isn’t anything new…we here at the Wethman Group are part of several networking groups formed for the purpose of giving our buyers early access to upcoming listings. We’ve found that advanced marketing of properties, helps increase buyer awareness and exposure, especially in high demand neighborhoods.

Speaking of Zillow, they continue to make news with the accuracy/inaccuracy of their Zestimates. The Washington Post recently had an editorial here: discrediting the accuracy, and a counterpoint from Zillow, here: supporting its accuracy, about the usefulness of the automated valuation tool. Read our take on it at our recent blog post here: Accuracy of Zestimates

In technology news, our local multiple listing service just signed an agreement with HomeSnap, a free consumer app that allows buyers to look up homes (even homes that are not for sale!) simply by snapping a photo. It offers a lot of cool features including the ability to see lot lines, sales history, previous photos if the property was listed, and more. While some apps out there have some of these features, none are powered so extensively by MRIS, the company that owns our local multiple listing service, and therefore is more accurate than other apps. Special features are also available to consumers who get the app via their agent, so contact us if you want to be invited to use this free service!

We’re taking a break from our first time home buyer classes in July and August but will resume in September. In the meantime, if you know anyone considering buying or selling, we welcome your referrals.

Check out our new website: The Wethman Group and let us know what you think!

Warm regards,
The Wethman Group

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P.S. We have a nationwide network of quality agents–let us know if you or someone you know needs a referral to another city.

Northern Virginia Real Estate Market Update

July 25, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Watch the video below to find out what’s happening in the Northern Virginia real estate market. This video is about the housing market trends in Northern Virginia in June 2014, or if you have any questions, just contact us!

Northern Virginia Real Estate Market Update

June 24, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Watch the video below to find out what’s happening in the Northern Virginia real estate market. This video is about the housing market trends in Northern Virginia in May 2014, or if you have any questions, just contact us!

Northern Virginia Real Estate Market Update

May 26, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Watch the video below to find out what’s happening in the Northern Virginia real estate market. This video is about the housing market trends in Northern Virginia in April 2014, or if you have any questions, just contact us!

Northern Virginia Real Estate Market Update

April 24, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Watch the video below to find out what’s happening in the Northern Virginia real estate market. This video is about the housing market trends in Northern Virginia in March 2014, or if you have any questions, just contact us!

Northern Virginia Real Estate Market Update

March 24, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Watch the video below to find out what’s happening in the Northern Virginia real estate market. This video is about the housing market trends in Northern Virginia in February 2014, or if you have any questions, just contact us!

The Wethman Group’s Real Estate News

March 6, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

As expected, the spring market has come early this year.  This is a tough time of year because sellers aren’t quite ready to go on the market but buyers (ever more concerned about the likelihood of interest rates rising) are anxious to get started! As a result, we’re already seeing multiple offers and escalations above list price fairly regularly, just like last year. With the lack of inventory, it’s more important than ever that agents be networking to find out about those ‘coming soon’ listings, and be available on short notice–one of the reasons we at the Wethman Group love working as part of a team. Homes are regularly selling before the open houses when priced right.

To serve our clients even better, we continue to grow our team and welcome licensed Realtor Bridget Hodge as our Client Care & Listings Manager. We’re thrilled to have such an experienced agent join our team dedicated to marketing our listings effectively. Bring on those seller referrals!

In market news, the industry seems to be divided as to whether we are pushing forward to new highs, or if the strongest part of the housing recover is over. “The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index ended its best year since 2005,” said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “However, gains are slowing from month-to-month and the strongest part of the recovery in home values may be over.”  Gains may be slowing but they’re certainly not over; The unusually severe winter seems to be skewing the numbers for December and January (February and even March may be oddly low for the DC area given this latest storm so don’t be surprised if the final numbers don’t accurately reflect the hot market we’re in–take out 7 days for bad weather and the averages are highly skewed.)

Not surprisingly, neighborhoods in our area are appreciating unevenly, but you may be surprised by some of the DC areas with the greatest gains in 2013: Anacostia, 14th St, Deanwood, Fort Totten, Georgia Ave, and Kennedy St, among others.  Curious what your neighborhood did? Check out this list of median sales price, per square foot cost, days on market, and list price to sales price ratio for each zip code. Regardless of area, it’s clear that the 2013 was stronger than 2012 in every way, from sales to days on market, to sales price.

Another sign of the strengthening market is that developers are definitely back.  We can see new ground being broken on smaller projects in DC as well as large scale redevelopment elsewhere, including Pentagon City and Crystal City.

Virginia has recognized the challenge in coming up with down payments and is expected to pass the First Time Homebuyer Savings Plan.  Virginians will be able to put up to $50,000 in savings accounts, mutual funds, brokerage accounts, and any other investments as “first-time home buyer savings plan accounts,” making the earnings on those accounts free of state taxes. The funds can be used for down payments and closing costs on first homes.  In reality, the savings to the taxpayer is likely small, but the fact that the vehicle now exists is likely to get people thinking about saving specifically for down payments.

Speaking of first time buyers, we have first time home buyer classes scheduled for Wednesday, March 26 andWednesday, April 16.  As always, the class is free but registration is requested athttp://www.newhomebuyerclass.com  Let your friends know!  If those dates don’t work, we’re happy to meet over coffee to walk through the materials.

NOW is the time to start getting your house ready if you’re thinking of selling this year.  It always takes longer than expected to de-clutter, arrange for repairs, and stage. Today’s savvy buyers expect homes to be well maintained and show beautifully if you want to get top dollar (thanks, HGTV).  If you know someone thinking of selling, please have them call us for a no obligation consultation and checklist of how to prepare for the Spring market.

Warm regards,

The Wethman Group

P.S. We have a nationwide network of quality agents–let us know if you or someone you know needs a referral to another city.

Northern Virginia Real Estate Market Update

February 25, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Watch the video below to find out what’s happening in the Northern Virginia real estate market. This video is about the housing market trends in Northern Virginia in January 2014, or if you have any questions, just contact us!

Northern Virginia Real Estate Market Update

January 24, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Watch the video below to find out what’s happening in the Northern Virginia real estate market. This video is about the housing market trends in Northern Virginia in December 2013, or if you have any questions, just contact us!

January 2014: The Wethman Group’s Real Estate News

January 24, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

The Wethman Group is the busiest we have ever been in January, and all signs point to an extremely active Spring market. We continue to grow our team and welcome Nikolai Goranov, an experienced agent with an MBA from Manchester (UK) Business School, to our team.

Our local market continues to outpace national trends, with higher prices due in part to continued low supply. Sellers the past few years have been reluctant to sell until they are able to make a small profit, but as prices creep upward this year we hope to see more sellers jumping in to alleviate the ongoing inventory shortage.

Most economists see interest rates, already a full percent above where they were this time last year, rising to above 5% this year, which is bad news for buyers. Still, this is low by historical standards and a good opportunity to jump into the market or trade-up before things get crazy. New mortgage rules this year make it harder to qualify, too, which may put a dent in some buyers’ purchasing power.

We’re helping first time buyers get a jump on the market by kicking off our free first time home buyer classes early this year; we have dates scheduled at Arlington Central Library for January 21st and February 24th. As always, the class is free but registration is required at http://register.wethmangroup.com Let your friends know!

NOW is the time to start getting your house ready if you’re thinking of selling this year. It always takes longer than expected to de-clutter, arrange for repairs, and stage. Today’s savvy buyers expect homes to be well maintained and show beautifully if you want to get top dollar (thanks, HGTV). If you know someone thinking of selling, please have them call us for a no obligation consultation and checklist of how to prepare for the Spring market.

Warm regards,

The Wethman Group

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