10 signs of a healthy real estate market

Many factors impact the housing market, which can make purchasing a home difficult for anyone. Consider the effect the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the housing market throughout the past couple of years, for example. Nearly every market in the country has experienced a housing shortage, and home sales and prices are through the roof.

Competition among home buyers is stiff, and in many markets, buyers have to offer well over asking price to have their offers considered by sellers. But while the pandemic has had a vast impact on housing in the United States, the good news is that it’s an anomaly—one that isn’t likely to occur again in the near future.

While the housing market can be somewhat unpredictable, real estate doesn’t have to feel like a gamble for any home buyer. If you’re looking for ways to determine whether the housing market is healthy, Fund That Flip compiled a list of 10 signs of positive growth from multiple real estate websites you can use to measure the market. From a low rate of distressed properties to decreasing mortgage rates and increasing home prices, these signs can help you wade through the murky waters to determine whether the housing market is healthy. Here’s what you should know.

Year-over-year home prices across Fairfax County are likely to rise, if relatively modestly, in the coming 12 months, according to projections released by the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors (NVAR) on Dec. 16.

The trade organization projects that, by next December, the typical single-family home in the county will sell for a median of $829,627, an increase of 3.3 percent, while townhomes will fetch a median $540,436, up 3.4 percent, and condominiums will go for a median $313,671, up 3.2 percent.

Those projected appreciation rates, generally in line with those of other Northern Virginia localities, are lower than those of the past two years. “A lot of it is just a matter of affordability,” said Terry Clower, director of the George Mason University Center for Regional Analysis, who participated in the event. “Our prices are already high.”

Across the region, NVAR anticipates the median price of all homes that sell in 2022 to be up 3.2 percent compared to 2021, with home sales down slightly from the strong 2021 market.

“Moderation will be the theme,” said NVAR CEO Ryan McLaughlin, who nonetheless wasn’t expecting a signficant downturn.

“Northern Virginia has built-in economic competitive advantages,” he said. Clower suggested a lack of inventory would keep the scales tilted toward sellers for the foreseeable future.

“If you want to sell a home, you’re going to get what you ask for, probably,” he said. “There’s going to be healthy competition.”

But there remain a host of unknowns: COVID, the future of interest rates, COVID, work-from-home decision-making, COVID, the region’s economic health, COVID, and the ever-present specter of inflation running out of control.

“We haven’t seen that in a while,” Derrick Swaak, who is wrapping up a year as NVAR’s chair, said of that latter unwelcome arrival on the 2021 scene.

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