“2010 Sales Start Slow” 2010 02 17

 Loudoun Market Watch

  2010 Home Sales Start Slow


   Housing analyst

     Two factors drove the noteworthy decline in total sales volume in January 2010. The first was an unusually low number of pending sales in December. Presumably, buyers scrambled to settle before the year’s end to take advantage of tax deductions, causing the pending sales to dip significantly by the end of December. The second factor was the inclement   weather in late December, which dampened all business in Loudoun County. Preliminary sales data in January totaled 244 units, down 44.8 percent from December’s revised sales figures and 21.0 percent below sales last January.  


   Preliminary pending sales in January advanced 9.2 percent compared to both December 2009 and January 2009 and suggest February sales may regain losses from January 2010. However, February was also plagued by severe snowstorms that will surely have a negative effect on sales activity during the month.


   The preliminary median sales price in Loudoun County fell to $322,500 in January from the revised figure from

  December of $350,000 (-7.9 percent). However, it was $22,500 higher than the median last January (+7.5 percent). The median in Middleburg was $800,000 based on two properties that sold for more than $2,000,000; one sold for $2.4 million and the other closed at $4.25 million. Compare those to the lowest median in the county of $232,000 in Sterling (20164 zip code). Four communities posted median sales prices in excess of $400,000 (Middleburg, $800,000; Ashburn (20148 zip code), $467,116; Lovettsville, $420,000; and Waterford, $635,000).


   Seller subsidies — money provided by the seller to help buyers finance their homes — can be significant and serve as an indicator of prevailing market conditions. The higher the average subsidy, the more likely market conditions favor the buyer.The average reached a high of $6,192 in April 2009 but declined to $3,689 in January 2010, suggesting that conditions are increasingly favoring sellers.The affluent communities of Middleburg and Waterford had 13 sales between them in January with no seller subsidies. The highest average subsidy was in Hamilton ($6,337) followed closely by Lovettsville ($6,067).



   Revised month’s supply of inventory in Loudoun County has hovered around four months since last June. This trend represents a market in equilibrium where there is enough supply to satisfy demand. However, Sterling (20164 zip code) is severely undersupplied with an available inventory of only 1.3 months. Other areas facing a significant lack of supply include Ashburn (20147), Sterling (20165), and Dulles (20166). This can be a highly volatile indicator, but Middleburg, Round Hill and Lovettsville each had a month’s supply of inventory between 11 and 15 months in January. Based on January’s preliminary sales figures, there is a 32-month supply in Waterford.


   The preliminary average days on market in Loudoun County was 53 days in January, up about 30 percent from December but roughly 33 percent below the January 2009 average. The average in Middleburg was 431 days. However, seven of the 15 communities in Loudoun had average days on market below 60 days.



   The percentage of distressed sales throughout the county has been trending up since last summer. The percentage of total sales with short sale and foreclosure designations exceeded 40 percent six of the last nine months. More than 60 percent of the sales in Sterling (20164 zip code) and Dulles (20166) in January were distressed sales. However, none of the five sales in Middleburg or the four sales in Hamilton was a short sale or foreclosure.


   For a copy of the latest report, visit  www.dullesarea.com   or contact Christine Windle, DAAR government affairs director, at 703-777-2468 or  cwindle@dulle sarea.com  . For questions on DAAR’s housing market statistics, contact Rosemary DeButts at 540-338-2212 or  rdebutts@1757realestate.com  .


   The Dulles Area Association of Realtors, or DAAR, is The Association of Choice for Real Estate Professionals in the Northern Virginia area. Founded in 1962, DAAR works to safeguard and advance the mutual interests of the public, property owners and real estate professionals for real estate-related matters.


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