Again, I have said it before, and I will repeat it, inventory levels on homes for sale in Northern Virginia are critically low! We currently have just 1,701 homes for sale in all of the counties we serve in Northern Virginia. The amazing fact is the number of condos that are currently for sale – 792 – which represents just under 50% of the total inventory. Condos typically do not reflect nearly 50% of the inventory levels … more on this later.
Continuing with the numbers; there are only 646 single family homes currently on the market. Are you kidding me? There are only 235 townhouses total, again, WOW! Do you know what this means? The chances of multiple contract situations are possible on virtually every home on the market. We have had as many as 30 contracts submitted on one house in Gainesville priced at $635,000. It escalated above $700,000. We had another home in Aldie that had 78 showings and 62 visitors at the open house. This one was priced at $772,000 that had 21 offers and escalated to $831,700. It is insane – I cannot think of another word to describe it.
A question I am frequently asked is when will it end? I think we are looking for similar straights for at least the next couple of quarters. Two of the primary movers of the market, namely the supply and demand balance and historically low interest rates will remain near their current levels for the foreseeable future. As the new administrations economic policies come into focus and start taking effect and countervailing forces related to the virus play out some changes are possible.
If rates rise to the 4 or 5% range, we will see a slowdown in contracts/purchasers, but not necessarily an inventory increase. Another question is, when will buyer burnout take them out of the market? My answer: it depends as this is and has always been an individual question. I have heard about prospective buyers writing as many as 15 contracts (on different homes) and still in the fight, while others are not even entering the market because of these “bidding” wars. But at some point the economics and the numbers of things start taking over. When you have back to back years of double digit price increases that are not matched with corresponding income growth and/or rate drops all markets eventually lose steam. But that is not where we are right now.
One more question I hear is how do I buy if I must sell my house first? This one is more complicated, but I can give you details if you are interested. We have nine ways to make this work! If you or someone you know would like to discuss their situation with me in more detail, whether it is purchasing or selling a home, please feel free to call me.
It’s a good life.
Give the Gift of DIY: 7 Home Improvement Ideas for Valentine’s Day
By Ana Durrani – Realtor.com
Greeting cards, romantic dates, flowers, and chocolates are the gold standard for Valentine’s Day. But this year, why not go bigger? The best Valentine’s Day gifts are those that can be enjoyed for years.
“DIY or home improvement projects create lasting memories reflective of a special bond between people,” says Cristina DePina, founder and principal designer of Cristina DePina Interior Design, in Worcester, MA. “It’s less about the actual item, and more about the intention and memory behind it.” This Valentine’s Day, express your love to your favorite person by taking on a home improvement project. The time you dedicate to this DIY gift is sure to impress your loved one and beautify the space you share together. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
1. Plant a rose garden
Sure, a bouquet of a dozen roses is beautiful, but it’s not going to last for the long haul. Give your significant other a rose garden that can be enjoyed for years to come. Experts say roses can be planted anytime during the year, except in extreme weather conditions. If you’re currently experiencing chilly February temperatures, give your significant other a card that details your plans for planting a rose garden when the weather warms up.
2. Splurge on a pair of rocking chairs
Spend quality time together every day with a set of rocking chairs. You can place them on your porch or patio, or in the backyard. “Adding two rocking chairs to a front porch is a great gift to enjoy for years to come. They’re not just for Grandma anymore,” says DePina. Many new, more modern, and outdoor-friendly rocking chairs can work with different home architecture styles, she adds.
3. Get crafty with a woodworking project
Nothing says “I love you” like spending time on a DIY project made specifically for your partner. “Not all of us have the tools or skills necessary to build a chest or bench, but luckily there are some super cute, unfinished options available that can be painted or stained,” says DePina.
4. Add a wine cellar
If you can’t travel to Napa this Valentine’s Day, you can still bring the winery experience home to you. Indulge in a little vino together with your own private wine cellar.
Plan an at-home picnic with French bread, assorted cheeses, and a special bottle from your own wine cellar. There are many options out there from a 32-bottle wine cooler to a smaller eight-bottle wine cellar.
5. Install a free-standing bathtub
Bathtubs, bubbles, and candles have always been romantic, but this portrait of self-care takes on a whole new meaning after the horrendous year that was 2020.
Caroline Harmon, Lowe’s trend strategy manager, says bathroom upgrades accounted for a high percentage of home improvement projects in 2020. “As the focus shifted to health and well-being, we saw bathrooms as sanctuary spaces become very important,” she says.
To create an oasis you can look forward to returning to every day, why not add a trendy free-standing tub to your bathroom? You can also make less drastic updates like switching out lighting or painting the walls a different color.
6. Put in a fireplace
When you think cozy and romantic, snuggling by a crackling fireplace comes to mind. But you don’t have to do major construction on your home to install one.
“If a wood-burning fireplace is just not an option, look into an electric fireplace,” says DePina. “They are available in many different sizes, and the technology has come a long way, with models offering very realistic-looking flames. And they can be installed almost anywhere,” she adds.
7. Hang an outdoor swing
Show your significant other some old-school romance with an outdoor swing or hammock that you can enjoy together, especially in the warmer months.
Rosé Champagne Mug Cakes
Picture courtesy of Kirbie’s Cravings
By Robin Broadfoot | Tasty.com
Yields 2 servings I Total time 11 mins
FOR THE ROSE CHAMPAGNE SYRUP
- 4 tbsp rosé champagne – can substitute with brut rosé
- 1 tbsp granulated white sugar
FOR THE CAKE
- 4 tbsp all purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1 tbsp granulated white sugar
- 2 tbsp fat free milk or low fat milk
- 2 tbsp rosé champagne syrup
- 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1-2 drops pink food coloring
FOR THE FROSTING (SERVES 2)
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 tbsp rosé champagne you can also substitute with a few drops of champagne extract
- 2 tsp granulated sugar
- 1-2 drop pink food coloring
- In small saucepan, add syrup ingredients & mix
- Boil over medium heat until 1/2 reduced, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes
- Combine cake ingredients in a microwave safe champagne or wine glass
- Mix with whisk until smooth
- Only fill half of the glass with batter, as it will rise
- Cook for 1 minute in micro, top should look cooked, Let cool
- Combine frosting ingredients into a bowl
- Use mixer to whip on high until stiff peaks form.
- Let frosting cool for 3 mins then top the cakes and drizzle the syrup on top
Note: if you’re worried about heating your champagne glass, you can also cook the cake in another mug or bowl and then plate it in the champagne glass.
How Will Covid-19 Vaccine Rollout Affect the Housing Markets?
The long-awaited COVID-19 vaccine is finally here! German company BioNTech and New York-based Pfizer got an emergency green light from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) after their vaccine was found to be 95% effective in preventing infections. Another US company, Moderna, has also recently received approval for its vaccine.
This week, president-elect Joe Biden received his first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on live TV to show Americans that it is safe. Other political leaders have also received the jab including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Mike Pence. The Biden administration has set a goal of vaccinating 100 million Americans within their first 100 days in office. According to the CDC, 500,000 Americans have already been vaccinated.
How the COVID-19 Vaccine Will Impact the US Housing Market 2021
At the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, a significant number of people started moving away from densely-populated cities to the suburban real estate market. People were looking for homes for sale that are not only affordable but also spacious. And crowded cities where COVID-19 was spreading rapidly were no longer appealing to the general population.
However, when economies open up and the COVID-19 vaccine becomes readily available, many that left cities temporarily are expected to return. Lower rents in certain cities will also help attract returning and new city residents.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the US housing market has been incredibly resilient. Home sales have grown by about 6% from 2019. Zillow predicts a 21.9% growth in 2021, which will be the highest annual sales growth since 1983. This exponential growth will be driven by the COVID-19 vaccine rollout and the subsequent economic recovery. Home sellers that have been holding back due to uncertainty will list their homes, thus adding more supply to satisfy the heavy demand in the housing market.
Skyrocketing home prices
In the last year, mortgage payments have become increasingly affordable for property owners, thanks to the historically low mortgage rates. More and more homeowners are taking advantage and refinancing their existing home loans. With the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine, the economy is expected to rebound in 2021. This is likely to result in slightly higher mortgage rates, which will make homes more expensive. Home prices will be driven further by intense competition for the few properties available for sale. Realtor.com predicts that home values will increase by 5.7% in the US housing market 2021.
Due to high pandemic-related job losses in 2020, many Americans were unable to keep up with their rent payments. As a result, the CDC issued a moratorium to protect tenants from eviction and prevent further spread of the coronavirus.
While the eviction moratorium was good news for renters, many property owners are still feeling the pain of missed rents. Forbearance was also issued under the CARES act to protect some property owners from foreclosure, but many still struggled due to the loss of rental income. Once the eviction moratorium expires on the 31st of January 2021, it is expected that many landlords will hike their rents in an attempt to make up for lost earnings.
An increased shift to virtual transactions
New technology is already being adopted in 2020 to make home buying, selling, financing, and renting safer. Even with the COVID-19 vaccine, real estate agents will continue using virtual tools to give potential home buyers a unique home shopping experience. Redfin.com reports that views of 3D walkthroughs, where a potential buyer can click through a 3D scan of a property, have increased 560% since February. Video tours have now become an accepted way of viewing a home, with many buyers making an offer on a property sight unseen.
Increased demand for Airbnb rentals
Since COVID-19 hit, the travel industry and its star, Airbnb, were negatively affected. Travel bans led to mass cancellations of Airbnb bookings. Many major sports events, concerts, and festivals were canceled during 2020, leaving some Airbnbs empty.
With the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, more people will feel safer to travel and restrictions will eventually disappear. As a result, the Airbnb market is likely to be hot, with high Airbnb occupancy rates. Those who put off traveling or are sick of being cooped up at home will look towards short term rental properties to fill the desire. Buying an Airbnb investment property in the right location could therefore be a wise decision for any real estate investor in 2021.
COVID-19 vaccine distribution is currently ongoing in the US. With the pandemic anxiety being eased, housing market predictions point to a hot spring season in 2021. There is likely to be a buyer frenzy as people try to avoid higher mortgage rates later in the year. Since buyers can use technology to shop from home, it is expected that demand will remain high even in the dead of winter.