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Blog Post: What Does Low Housing Inventory Mean for Buyers and Sellers in Vienna/Oakton?

Housing inventory has dropped for six straight weeks and is at a low point for the past seven to eight months. What does that mean for Buyers & Sellers?

First - let’s set the scene. What has happened in the last week in Vienna & Oakton?

  • Inventory in Vienna and Oakton dropped for the sixth straight week in a row. Vienna now has 202 homes on the market and Oakton has 67. This is the lowest level Vienna has seen in 7 months and in 8 months in Oakton.
  • Three homes went under contract in Oakton over the past week and 14 homes went under contract in Vienna. This is the identical pace as two weeks ago and still bodes well for the market.
  • Twelve percent of the homes that went under contract in Vienna & Oakton last week sold in 10 days or less. And 41 percent sold in less than 30 days. The overall average for homes that went under contract last week was 68 days on market. Not bad, huh?
  • Both Vienna and Oakton are continuing to teeter between a “Seller’s Market” and a “Balanced Market”. Vienna has a 3.6 month supply of homes and Oakton’s supply is  at 2.6 months.

SELLERS: Make sure you read our recent blog post about whether or not it’s a good idea to sell during the holidays. In general, low inventory and low housing supply mean good things for you. But there are lots of things to consider. (Like this list of 40 questions you should ask your realtor when you’re thinking of selling your home.)

BUYERS: We have been publishing statistics for Vienna and Oakton on a weekly basis for over two years now. In all of that time, Vienna has NEVER been in a Buyer’s Market and Oakton has only trended that way for three weeks in 2010. This is just another reason why you need to make sure you are working with a Realtor as your advocate. And not just any realtor, but a realtor whose skill set benefits YOU.

So what should a buyer look for in a realtor?

1. A real estate team who has a demonstrated track record of finding properties for their buyers that are not listed in the MLS. With inventory so low, this broadens the possibilities fo you and means it’s more likely you’ll find your dream home. Look for someone who is proactive and not reactive.

2. Lights out negotiators. With inventory so low, the “good properties” sometimes still get multiple contracts. This means you may be competing with other buyers to get the home of your dreams. Can your realtor share examples with you of strategies they have actually used to compete and win out for their buyer clients in the past?

3. A Realtor with partnerships that benefit YOU. Ask your realtor who their partners are. They should have partners who have proven track records as well. This includes lenders, appraisers, settlement companies, home inspectors, remodeling folks and more. When you’re looking at potentially buying a home, you may need to consult some or all of these experts for advice. And if problems arise, you need to make sure you have folks who will respond. Realtors who do more business have stronger relationships. Their clients get better, faster service. Your realtor should have relationships that benefit you.

4. A real estate team that knows the area inside and out. Here’s an example of why that’s important. Until you live in or work in a particular area, you really don’t know what your actual commute might look like. It might look good on paper, but in real life - yikes! Your realtor should know the area like the back of her hand, and should give you the “good, the bad & the ugly” so you can make good decisions about where to live. In a recent study, Swiss economists discovered a human fault they refer to as “the commuter’s paradox”. They found that when people are choosing where to live, they consistently underestimate the pain of a long commute. According to their calculations, a person with a one-hour commute has to earn 40 percent more money to be as satisfied with life as someone who walks to the office. This is just one example of an area your realtor should be advising you on.

5. Experience that benefits YOU. YOU should not be the experience that benefits the realtor. Did you know that 80 percent of realtors nationwide sell fewer than three homes per year? Unfortunately, realtors who sell fewer than three homes per year have to almost completely relearn the business. There are more than 10,000 realtors in Northern Virginia and you don’t want to be the guinea pig!

For our detail-oriented readers, here are last week’s stats:

Last week in Vienna Real Estate (22180,22181, 22182):

  • Number of Contracts: 14
  • Average Days on Market for Active Listings: 123 days
  • Average Days on Market for Listings That Went Under Contract: 60 days
  • Inventory: 202 homes on the market
  • Number of Months Supply of Homes (Based on past 90 day contract rate): 4.1 months
  • Number of Months Supply of Homes (Based on past 30 day contract rate): 3.6 months

Here are last week’s stats for Oakton Real Estate (22124):

  • Number of Contracts: 3
  • Average Days on Market for Active Listings: 97 days
  • Average Days on Market for Listings That Went Under Contract: 105
  • Inventory: 67 homes on the market
  • Number of Months Supply of Homes (Based on past 90 day contract rate): 3.5 months
  • Number of Months Supply of Homes (Based on past 30 day contract rate): 2.8 months


For more, visit The Belt Team blog.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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