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Is Real Estate Market Already Feeling Effects of the Election?

In just five weeks, the presidential election will (finally!) take place. How does that affect the real estate market today?

And so it goes. Last week we reported the real estate markets in Oakton and Vienna were approaching balance. But if you've been following our blog, you know there has been constant fluctuation back and forth. And so this week, we go back to reporting that both areas are in Seller's Markets. Inventory in both Vienna and Oakton dropped. And the number of homes that went under contract increased from the previous week.

Last night many of us watched the presidential debate. And in just five weeks, the presidential election will (finally!) take place. What we can tell you anecdotally from our experience is that elections have a psychological impact, and activity often slows down before an election as the market seems to be on the fence and holding its breath. ... And that after an election, this deep breath is usually slowly released as people get on with their lives and pursue their dreams and goals. This is part of why we saw inventory drop last week as we notice that a number of homes have been withdrawn from the market. (Buyers: If you're worried about low inventory, ask your Realtor if he/she is searching and reaching out to owners whose listings have expired, been withdrawn and taken temporarily off the market. Make sure you have a proactive Realtor!)

Will this happen in Election 2012? That remains to be seen. In the meantime, we asked several of our Realtor Partners how they are advising their clients. Here’s what they had to say:

Mary Jane Perry said, "Right now, people are still buying homes at historically low interest rates.  And it is the 'supply and demand' of our area that is dictating the price of homes, not the anticipation of who will lead in November. Why would a buyer want to wait until November or even January when there is a real possibility they can be comfortably living in their Northern VA dream home financed by a 30-year mortgage at an awesome interest rate today?”

Many people think a change in administration would bring an immediate bump to the Northern Virginia real estate market. The fact is that our region is so large that the influx of politicos with a new administration does not have a meaningful statistical impact on the overall market. However, remember that real estate is local. This means certain local micro-markets would see a positive benefit. For example, Northern Virginia neighborhoods with good access to Capitol Hill in areas like Arlington, close-in Alexandria and close-in McLean would likely see the most increased activity.

However, it's not just about whether a new administration comes in. It's about the overall economy, interest rates, regulatory changes and more.

"There is no time like the present. The Northern Virginia real estate market is healthy. And that’s good for both buyers and sellers,” commented Candice Fathi, “No one can predict what will happen the day after Election Day.”

Krissy Cruse echoed that sentiment, "Regardless of which party wins the presidency, we’ll be seeing changes to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and possibly Frank-Dodd. While there are numerous scenarios of how that would affect the real estate market, we can bet for sure that things will be different. The buyers and sellers I work with tell me they feel the time is now."

Regardless of what happens, its remains vital for buyers and sellers to work with Realtors who have their finger on the pulse of the local market they are buying or selling in. When the market psychology is unsure, as it is at election time, we often see rapid changes in market conditions. Don't wait until you read about them in the newspaper as the traditional media often reports either a "macro-picture" versus a “micro-picture”, or what they are reporting is based on published statistics that often lag the market.

(For example, listen to this broadcast of Real Estate Radio Washington. Belt Team Partners Catharine Via, Jennifer Riddle and Pauline Knipe discuss the state of today's Northern Virginia real estate market and what strategies buyers and sellers can employ to maximize their success.)

That being said, let's see where the Vienna and Oakton real estate markets are this week!

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

Search Homes For Sale in Vienna

  • Number of Contracts: 17
  • Average Days on Market for Active Listings: 116 days
  • Average Days on Market for Listings That Went Under Contract: 72 days
  • Inventory: 184 homes on the market
  • Number of Months Supply of Homes (Based on past 90 day contract rate): 2.7 months
  • Number of Months Supply of Homes (Based on past 30 day contract rate): 2.9 months

Last week in Oakton Real Estate (22124):

Search Homes For Sale in Oakton

  • Number of Contracts: 5
  • Average Days on Market for Active Listings: 93 days
  • Average Days on Market for Listings That Went Under Contract: 83
  • Inventory: 75 homes on the market
  • Number of Months Supply of Homes (Based on past 90 day contract rate): 2.9 months
  • Number of Months Supply of Homes (Based on past 30 day contract rate): 3.3 months

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If you're thinking of buying or selling a home, Contact The Belt Team at 703-242-3975.

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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