The Dirt on the Market (March 2012)


Subdivision Analysis: Villages of Purcellville 2011 09 15

Prices on the Rise

Last month there were no active listings in the Villages of Purcellville and there were three homes with pending contracts.  None of those three have settled yet (two are short sales) and their average list price is $318,267.  Whew, that’s low.  The good news though is that three new listings have entered the market with an average list price of $404,000 (none are distressed sales).  It seems that the community had to work through its short sales and now the market is back to a normal level.

There has been no change in the number of closings in Village of Purcellville since August (seven year-to-date closings).  The year-to-date median sold price is $349,000, down 11 percent from the 2010 median.  Sellers in 2011 had more modest expectations than in 2010; original list prices more accurately matched market conditions as seen in a much lower average price decrease.  But, seller contributions increased 43 percent to an average of about $5,000.  The time it takes to sell a home did improve though from an average of 99 days in 2010 to just 50 days through August 31, 2011.

Please call me if now is the time for you to sell your home.  Prices are back!  Let’s take advantage of low supply and high demand.


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 (rosemary@atokaproperties.com; 540-454-6792; http://www.housinganalyst.net).                        


Subdivision Analysis: Villages of Purcellville 2011 08 16

No Active Listings = No Competition!

There are no active listings in the Villages of Purcellville.  Three homes have pending contracts with an average list price of $318,267.  Two of the three are short sales and the average days on market was 187 days.

Three homes sold in the Villages in July to bring the year-to-date total up to seven closings.  One sold for $412,000 while the other two sold for $330,000 and $349,000.  The year-to-date median sold price is $349,000, down 11 percent from the 2010 median.  Sellers have clearly moderated their expectations; the average price decrease has escalated dramatically this year compared to last.  Compounding the issue, seller contributions have increased 43 percent to an average of about $5,000.  The time it takes to sell a home did improve though from an average of 99 days in 2010 to just 50 days through July 31, 2011.

Please call me if now is the time for you to sell your home.  Be the only option for folks looking for the small town charm of Purcellville and the convenience of your highly desirable neighborhood.


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


Western Loudoun County Analysis: 2011 07

Record Breaking Home Sales in July

According to the Metropolitan Regional Information Service (MRIS), the 67 home sales during July  in the Western Loudoun area (consisting of Middleburg, Purcellville, Round Hill, Hamilton, Lovettsville and Waterford) increased 12 percent from June and reached its highest monthly level in at least four years.  In fact, 2011 sales through July have outpaced total sales from January to July 2010 by 11 percent and beat the 2009 total through July by 23 percent.  In a typical year, the highest monthly sales in Western Loudoun are posted in June or July so we can expect monthly sales to decline through the rest of the year.

By contrast, home sales declined from 574 units in June to 452 in July for the entire county (-23 percent).

The table below lists July sales by area. Purcellville regained its dominance by posting 39 percent of the total sales last month in Western Loudoun in addition to a 53 percent increase over June and an 86 percent increase over last July.  Middleburg’s five sales in July represented a 400 percent increase over the one sale it had last July.

Although Western Loudoun posted stellar home sales in July, the median sales price took a huge hit.   The  median in both May and June was $435,000 in Western Loudoun.  In July, it dropped 23 percent and $100,000 to $335,000.  A whopping 51 percent of the increased number of sales in July were priced between $200,000 and $399,999 and only one home sold at a price higher than $1,000,000.  Compare that to June when only 33 percent of sales were priced in the $200,000 to $399,999 range and 3 homes sold for more than $1,000,000.   The good news though is that the year-to-date median sales price only decreased $5,000 from June to $410,000 which is equal to the 2010 median.  The median sales price more than doubled last month in Middleburg, the only Western Loudoun area to see a month-over-month increase.  Although not shown above and interestingly, the year-to-date median sales price in Waterford is $749,000 while it is only $550,000 in Middleburg.

Typically,  homes in Western Loudoun are on the market longer than those in other areas of the  county.  For example, the average days on market in Western Loudoun during July 2011 amounted to 87 days, down from a revised  114 days in June and 60 days last July. By contrast, homes sold in only 41 days on average in Eastern Loudoun during July  while the average was just 61 days in Leesburg.  Since January 2010, the lowest  average in Western Loudoun occurred last July (60 days) and the highest was in January 2010 (235 days).

Thirty homes (45 percent) sold in 30 days or less last month with an average close price of $350,480.  Compare that to 52 percent across the entire county with an average close price of $401,527.  There were three closings in Western Loudoun during July that took longer than a year to sell; the average close price of these units was $786,000.  They combined with three others in Eastern Loudoun and Leesburg to bring the county total to six units during July that were on the market over a year; the average close price of all six was $713,750.

Like sales totals, the days on market indicator varies significantly by individual market.  Lovettsville had the lowest July average with 43 days while the average in Middleburg was 208 days (one of the five was on the market 508 days).

The average close price to original list price ratio may reflect two things: sellers’ ability to accurately price their homes to match market conditions and/or their  willingness to negotiate price.  The ratio decreased in July to 91.9 percent from a revised 94.9 percent in June.  Western Loudoun normally has the lowest close price to original list price ratio; it was 96.5 percent in Eastern Loudoun and 94.8 percent in Leesburg last month.  Here in the west, the lowest ratio occurred in Hamilton (86.0 percent) and the highest was found in Waterford (94.2 percent).

In June, eight townhouses sold in Western Loudoun at an average price of $209,113.  The average price for the 59 detached homes sold last month was $426,211. Condominiums are not a factor in Western Loudoun.

The year-to-date share of short sales and foreclosures (24.6 percent distressed sales) in 2011 is the result of five consecutive months of declines from February to June.  Compare that 24.6 percent to this time last year when the year-to-date share of distressed sales was 34.9 percent.   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.

Even though the month’s supply of inventory reached its lowest point this year in July at 5.8 months, it is considerably higher in Western Loudoun than elsewhere in the county.  Note that the months of supply in Eastern Loudoun was 2.7 months during July and it was 4.0 months in Leesburg.  West of Leesburg, Waterford had the highest available inventory at 18.5 months and Round Hill had the lowest at 4.1 months of supply in July.

Spotlight on Round Hill

Through the end of July, 69 homes sold in Round Hill this year representing 21 percent of the Western Loudoun total.  That’s an average of about 10 homes per month which matches the 2010 pace.  The year-to-date median sales price was $370,000 at the end of July, -1 percent from the 2010 median of $373,000.   About 51 percent of Round Hill’s 2011 sales were priced between $200,000 and $399,999, another 25 percent were in the $400,000 to $599,999 range.  The average days on market in Round Hill was 115 days in June; it declined to 86 days in July.   The close price to original list price ratio was 93.9 percent in July, a far cry from 64.3 percent in February.  So far this year, 30 percent of Round Hill sales were distressed (one of the highest ratios in Western Loudoun) but the month’s supply of inventory, at only 4.1 months, is the lowest in the west and suggests it may be on the verge of being undersupplied.

Western Loudoun had a shocking number of sales in July, posting the highest monthly sales figure in years, something the county as a whole cannot claim.  However, the dramatic decline in the median sales price is troubling and hopefully a one-month anomoly.

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 (rosemary@atokaproperties.com; 540-454-6792; http://www.housinganalyst.net).                        


Subdivision Analysis: Villages of Purcellville 2011 07 25

Prices Vary Widely

Six homes have now sold this year in the Villages of Purcellville at close prices ranging from $330,000 to $412,000.  One of the two sales so far in July had a close price that was $5,000 higher than its asking price and the other was the second home to sell this year at a price in excess of $400,000.  The median was unchanged from my June analysis ($339,000) and it is 13.5 percent lower than the 2010 median.  However, the average days on market indicator continued its stark improvement; it declined to 55 days from 68 in June and is 44 percent lower than the 2010 average.  The close price to original list price ratio also improved; it increased from 94.6 percent in June and from 95.2 percent in 2010 to 96 percent in July.  The average seller subsidy declined 8 percent from June but is 19 percent higher than the average in 2010. One third of the 2011 sales in the Villages have been short sales while none of the nine sales in 2010 were distressed.

There is only one active listing in the neighborhood at this point. A standard sale, it has been on the market for 145 days at an asking price of $399,900.  Two of the three homes with pending contracts are short sales; that explains the unusually low list prices of $259,900 and $295,000.  All three were on the market an average of 142 days before receiving a contract.

With the extremely low list prices for the two pending short sale listings, the 2011 median and average close prices in the Villages will decline.  The good news though is that there are no active short sale listings in the neighborhood at this point suggesting prices will rebound in the Fall.

If now is the time for you to move, I would be honored to help you sell your home and/or answer any questions you may have about the real estate market here in Loudoun County.

Look for my new column in The Purcellville Gazette:  “The Dirt on the Market”