The Dirt on the Market (April 2012)


The Dirt on the Market (March 2012)

Dirt on the Market (February 2012)

To read the entire newsletter, click here:  DOTM 2012 02 09

Dirt on the Market (January 2012)


For the January 2012 edition of “Dirt on the Market”, click:  DOTM 2012 01 10

Here’s an excerpt:

Western Loudoun County Analysis: 2011 08

What Housing Downturn?  Not Here!

According to the Metropolitan Regional Information Service (MRIS), 379 homes were sold in the Western Loudoun area (consisting of Middleburg, Purcellville, Round Hill, Hamilton, Lovettsville and Waterford) from January 1 to August 31, 2011.  That represents an 11.5 percent increase over the total sales volume in the first eight months of 2010 and a 24 percent increase over the sales volume over the same period in 2009.  This is especially encouraging since the 2010 market was artificially stimulated by the First Time Buyers Credit.  2011 did not enjoy that boost and is still outperforming 2010.

By contrast, January through August home sales in the entire county totaled 3,234 units, 5 percent behind the 2010 total at the same time and 9 percent behind the 2009 total.

The table below lists August sales and median sales prices by area. In the second half of the year, sales volume typically declines so it is not unexpected to see a 19 percent monthly decline in Western Loudoun in August.  The good news though is that sales in August beat the August 2010 total by 12.5 percent.  Purcellville continues to dominate Western Loudoun with 37 percent of total sales volume.

After a rare and dramatic decrease in July, the median sales price in Western Loudoun rebounded 26 percent from $335,000 to $422,500.  The year-to-date median sales price is $410,000 (equal to the 2010 median).  Compare that to $365,000 in Eastern Loudoun and $395,000 in Leesburg.  So far this year, 40 percent of home sales in Western Loudoun were priced between $200,000 and $399,999, 32 percent were priced $400,000 to $599,999 and 3 percent were priced above $1,000,000.

Other pertinent statistics include:

  • The average days on market spiked again in August, this time it reached 138 days, primarily due to the fact that five of the 54 total sales were on the market an especially long time – four took over a year to sell and one finally sold after more than three years.  However, five units also sold in less than 30 days, three in 30 to 59 days and 4 in 60 to 89 days;
  • Compare the 138 day average in August in Western Loudoun to 45 days in Eastern Loudoun and 47 days in Leesburg;
  • So far this year, the average days on market in Western Loudoun is 134 days, 9 percent higher than the 2010 average;
  • The average close price to average original list price ratio measures sellers’ willingness to negotiate price.  In August, the ratio fell to 90.5 percent from 91.9 percent in July.  The comparable ratio in Eastern Loudoun was 96.9 percent and in Leesburg it was 95.7 percent;
  • In August, 50 of the 54 Western Loudoun sales were single family detached homes with an average close price of $459,420.  Interestingly, four townhomes sold last month – two in Middleburg – with an unusually high average sold price of $404,999;
  • Perhaps a plentiful supply is the secret to Western Loudoun’s success this year.  One would normally think that the market is oversupplied when inventory levels are at 7.3 months but sales here are outperforming Eastern Loudoun and Leesburg which have much lower inventory levels (2.4 and 3.5 months respectively); and
  • The year-to-date share of short sales and foreclosures (24.8 percent share of total sales) in 2011 rose slightly in August.  Middleburg and Waterford have had only one distressed sale each so far this year explaining their low shares while the percentage exceeds 23 percent in the other local areas.

Spotlight on Hamilton

Through the end of August 2011,

  • 43 homes have sold in Hamilton this year, 16 percent higher than over the same period in 2010 and a remarkable 48 percent higher than the 2009 total;
  • The August median sales price was $465,000, 58 percent higher than the July median;
  • On average, the days on market for the homes sold in August was 87;
  • The close price to list price ratio was 91.4 percent in August, slightly better than the Western Loudoun average;
  • So far this year, 24 percent of Hamilton sales have been distressed;
  • The average close price for the four detached homes sold in August was $491,725; and
  • The supply of available inventory amounted to 5.4 months.

Fortunately, Western Loudoun’s very low median sales price in July remedied itself in August and sales volume continues to amaze. Even though houses take much longer to sell than elsewhere in the county, who would’ve thought Western Loudoun would be boasting such a good 2011 record?

Rosemary deButts, Realtor, is associated with Atoka Properties located in historic Purcellville. She has the Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource certification and is a Member, Institute of Residential Marketing. Rosemary earned her degree in Economics from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College and her MBA from Old Dominion University.  For more information on the Western Loudoun housing market and guidance in buying or selling a home, contact Rosemary today (; 540-454-6792;                        

Loudoun County Housing Update: 2011 07

Share of Distressed Sales Plummets

MRIS, the multiple listing service handling Loudoun County existing home sales and records, began requiring agents to designate distressed sales (short sales and bank-owned properties) in the first quarter of 2009 at the height of the foreclosure crisis in this area.  At the time, 47 percent of Loudoun’s total home sales were distressed. Since then, the share of distressed sales has trended down and as of July 31, 2011, the share was only 20 percent here in Loudoun County.  The graph below summarizes the monthly share of distressed sales since May 2009 and the red line indicates the overall trend.

Compare the July result in Loudoun to other areas in the metropolitan DC region:

Metro DC Share of Distressed Sales (July 2011)

  • Loudoun = 20 percent
  • Fairfax County and city, Arlington, Alexandria, Falls Church = 13 percent
  • Prince William, Manassas, Manassas Park = 35 percent
  • Prince George’s County, MD = 57 percent
  • Montgomery County, MD = 18 percent
  • District of Columbia = 9 percent

Existing home sales activity typically begins to decline in Loudoun County in July. 2011 was no exception but it did not post as sharp a decline from June to July this year as it did last year.  Recall that the First Time Buyers Credit expired on June 30, 2010.  Sales in the third quarter of 2010 suffered mightily last year.  From June to July 2010, sales declined 30 percent from 577 units to 404.  This year the decline amounted to 21 percent, from 574 units to 452.  While that is good news, sales volume in July 2011 was the second lowest since 2006.  The county is on pace to end the year with 5 percent fewer sales than last year and has the lowest year-to-date volume in six years (at least).  There was a rare phenomenon in July…sales volume increased significantly in Western Loudoun (+12 percent) to reach a six year high.  Both Eastern Loudoun and Leesburg had the more typical declines (-23 and -3 percent respectively).

Prices though are a bright spot.  Over the last four consecutive months, the monthly median sales price in Loudoun has outpaced the median from the corresponding month in 2010.  It suffered a slight decline in July, from $400,000 in June to $389,000, but was 2 percent higher than the July 2010 median ($382,000).  It was wonderful that Western Loudoun volume increased but the problem was that the median sales price there dropped a full $100,000.  Since sales in Western Loudoun only accounted for 15 percent of the county’s total, its 23 percent median sales price decline resulted in an overall county median sales price decrease of only 3 percent.

Other July results include:

  • The average seller contribution was $3,656, about equal to the 2011 average of 3,681;
  • Average days on market was 52 days falling below the corresponding month in 2010 for the first time this year and the 2011 average is 24 percent higher than the 2010 average;
  • In 2011, 55 percent of sales were detached homes, 40 percent were attached homes and 5 percent were condominiums;
  • The average close price for detached homes was $523,882 in July;
  • The average close price for attached homes was $308,613;
  • The average close price for condominiums was $175,760;
  • The 2011 average attached home and condominium monthly sales were down 10 percent and 33 percent respectively from the 2010 monthly average;
  • Even though detached and attached prices were slightly higher in July than the 2010 average, the average condominium price was 5 percent lower than the 2010 average;
  • The number of active listings has stabilized in the 1,500 range over the last four months;
  • Pending sales declined 20 percent from June (377 vs. 473 in June and 488 last July);
  • For the fourth consecutive month, the average close price to original list price ratio exceeded 95 percent; and
  • The month’s supply of inventory amounted to 3.4 months for the entire county and was only 2.7 months in Eastern Loudoun (posting the fourth consecutive month less than 3 months).

For more detail on the Loudoun County housing market, please see:  Loudoun County Housing Analysis 2011 07

Month’s Supply of Inventory by Price Range 2011 06

Not Enough Inventory for Homes Priced below $800,000

The cluster of columns on the far right of the graph below illustrates the month’s supply of inventory in Loudoun County for all price ranges.  A market is generally considered to be in equilibrium (there is enough supply to satisfy demand) when the MSI equals four to five months.  As you can see, Loudoun County is undersupplied in the eastern portion of the county and in Leesburg.  However, there is enough supply in western Loudoun by virtue of its 6.4 month’s of supply.

If we break this down by price range, we can see that all three areas are undersupplied at list prices below $200,000.  Further, eastern Loudoun and Leesburg are undersupplied at all prices below $800,000.  Western Loudoun has a healthy supply of inventory for homes priced $200,000 to $599,999 but becomes oversupplied with homes priced over $600,000 and it is severely oversupplied with homes priced in excess of $1,000,000 (only four homes priced $1,000,000 or more have sold in all of Loudoun County this year, all in Waterford).

As of July 7th, there were 20 active listings in eastern Loudoun, 69 in Leesburg and 77 in western Loudoun priced over $1,000,000.  Compare that to the 50 listings for homes priced below $200,000 (21 in eastern Loudoun, 23 in Leesburg and 6 in western Loudoun) at the same time.

This analysis confirms that Loudoun County continues to suffer from a shortage of supply that is severely constraining existing home sales.

The month’s supply of inventory is calculated by dividing the active listings in a particular area (snapshot of activity) by the sales in that area over the previous month.  The definition of active listings excludes rentals and pending sales (those with contingencies or contracts) in this analysis.  Close prices are used for the sales and current list prices are used for the active listings to group them by price range.