Northern Virginia housing prices down 10%
From The Chronicle:
You don't have to work in real estate to know there's been a change in the market. One of the agents in my office commented that property values in Northern Virginia have dropped about 10%. She based her opinion on list prices, not sold properties, as many of the properties listed in the past few months are still for sale.
A homeowner recently asked me why the market has changed. In the spring we had a shortage of inventory, creating a seller's market. Now we have a glut. Price reductions are rampant as homeowners who must sell lower their asking prices in hopes of attracting an offer.
That brings me back to the question of why buyers aren't buying. There are plenty of buyers out there and lots of houses from which to choose. But if, as Gladwell believes, the more choices you are given, the more overwhelmed you become, then it follows that buyers are not making offers because there are too many houses from which to choose, hampering their decision-making ability.
Gladwell's blink theory could help explain our current market condition. It mirrors the feedback I am getting from other real estate agents. Buyers may look at ten or 15 houses, find one that has all the features they want, then hesitate to make an offer. They know there are more houses to look at, and perhaps one that might appeal to them more. The sense of urgency to buy now or miss out is gone.
Further hindering the decision-making process are the steadily decreasing asking prices. Some buyers are waiting to see if prices will come down further. Active listings in Northern Virginia in September 2005 (the latest month for which figures have been posted by the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors(r)) were up 89% from the same time last year, and the number of units sold this past September was 14% lower than in September 2004.