Special to The Washington Post
With the mild winter weather, the spring real estate market is already showing signs of life in Loudoun County. Buyers are out and about, beginning to check out what homes are available. Sellers are deciding on pricing and when to list their homes as active on the market. And everyone thinking about a move, whether as a buyer or a seller, is trying to gauge the market to see where it’s trending.
If you are basing your thinking on the national news regarding the real estate market, you are going to have a problem this spring: Loudoun County is NOT a buyer’s market. In fact, it’s edging very close to a seller’s market right now.
(I’m going to give you a moment to digest that.)
Sure, we’ve seen some articles recently that talk about how strong and insulated the Washington area real estate market is, but I want to give it to you on a usable level: What’s happening in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties (or even Fauquier) doesn’t necessarily apply here. The absorption rate (the rate at which homes are selling) shows us that we have 3.9 months of inventory, and three months or less is a seller's market.
Absorption rate is calculated by taking the number of active listings and dividing it by the number of homes that have gone under contract within the past 30 days. Six months or more is a buyer’s market, three to six months is a balanced market, and under three months is a seller's market.
As of today, there are 1,290 active listings and 326 homes under contract in 30 days or less. That’s 3.95 months of inventory. (That matches with the most recent sales data from December, homes sold last month averaged just 69 days on market.) Now, that figure includes the new construction market. Some of those “active” listings are just placeholder listings for models within communities: Builders put in one active listing to represent all available lots with that model. So their listings tend to skew the data on active homes.
Looking strictly at the resale market, removing the new construction listings and contracts, there are only 893 homes for sale in all of Loudoun County right now. Resale contracts in the past 30 days total 254, which puts the resale absorption rate at 3.51 months of inventory. That’s even closer to a seller’s market.
Heather Elias is a real estate agent with Century 21 Redwood Realty. You can read more on this topic at Heather’s blog, LoCo Musings.