Arlington home sales March 2019

Thims home in the 5300 block of 22nd Street North in Arlington currently is on the market, listed at $1,375,000 by Betsy Twigg of McEnearney Associates.

It’s back: The days of homes selling for more than listing price have returned, at least for now.

“Homes in great condition, staged in a transitional style, priced correctly and showcased properly . . . will create a bidding war and drive prices over list price,” said Casey Samson of Samson Properties.

The data back up that assessment: In April, the average sales price compared to listing price of homes that went to closing was at 100 percent on the nose in Falls Church and higher than 100 percent in Alexandria, Arlington and the city of Fairfax, all up from a year before. Fairfax County was not far behind at 99.7 percent, according to figures reported by MarketStats by ShowingTime.

“That tells me there is acutely low inventory for well-positioned properties in desirable locations, AND there is a greater amount of buyers vs. sellers,” said Dean Yeonas of Yeonas & Shafran Real Estate.

“It’s a very submarket-driven occurrence,” said Yeonas, pointing to inside-the-Beltway markets as most hot right now.

“Supply and demand are very strong forces – like gravity!” added Karen Briscoe of the HBC Group of Keller Williams Realty. “Location and price are key factors to this.  In most cases, it is inside the Beltway and priced under $1 million. Everybody wants what everybody wants in those markets.”

Even outside those general parameters, there can be bidding wars. Samson reported one property on Branch Road in Vienna that started at $1.3 million and moved up to $1.4 million.

According to ShowingTime Data, the 99.3-percent ratio of sales price to original listing price across the Washington metro area is the highest since the real-estate bubble of more than a decade ago. That figure counts sales in the District of Columbia, the inner part of Northern Virginia and suburban Maryland.

(In April 2011, as the market was still wriggling out of the real-estate recessions, sellers received only 93.7 percent of original asking price. The 10-year average for April is 97.5 percent.)

In the April 2019 data, townhomes across the region saw the highest sales-price-to-listing-price ratio, 100.1 percent, with condominiums selling for an average of 99.3 percent of listing price and single-family homes clocking in at 98.8 percent.

But buyers expecting to cash in on a property that needs work or is listed above the going rate are likely to come away disappointed.

“The days of putting homes on the market overpriced are over – buyers are too smart,” Samson said.

For those who have been market-watchers over time, the ebb and flow of sales prices compared to listing prices  is a regular occurrence.

“We have seen this trend before in various cycles,” Yeonas said. “No one can predict how long [it will last], but at some point, prices level off.”

Samson said the local market usually slows down in the second half of a year with a presidential election, as all sides wait and see.

“The real-estate markets are driven by consumer confidence and do not like uncertainty,”  he said.

The result could be a roller-coaster ride for the market.

“Next year,” Samson predicted, “should be a doozy.”

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