I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about my 2018 Real Estate Predictions for Arlington County. I have several ideas on what will happen this year – some good and some bad, depending on if you’re buyer or a seller:
- Low Inventory will lead to a sellers market. Sellers market means prices go up. There’s nothing for people to buy. At the moment, there are only 38 singe family homes under $1M for sale in Arlington. 38. If you’re looking for something over $1.3M you have a ton to choose from, but the component the market is missing is those middle homes. All of the people who bought condos and now need a “move up” home but can’t afford the new Mansions in Arlington need something to buy, but unless those move up sellers actually sell – the market is stuck. Buyers get frustrated and overbid on anything decent that comes on the market just to finally be able to “buy” something.
- Refinances will increase. Higher property value will allow people to refinance their mortgage and make it cheaper to stay where they are. Rates are still in the low 4% range, but they can get rid of PMI, or take cash out and renovate something in the home to stay longer. Hence the problem – they’re staying instead of selling.
- The coming soon market will become cut-throat. You’re sensing a theme here? Agents are quick to throw up a coming soon sign on a house, or list it on Zillow, and start word of mouth marketing. For agents dialed in on all of that, you’ll see agents start pushing pre-market sales. As of Jan 25th, 16 properties have either sold or are pending already this year without ever going on the market.
- More Scams. Wire fraud has been such a problem for home buyers this past year. They’re hacking email and sending fraudulent wiring instructions to buyers for their down-payments – and stealing all of it. Make sure you CALL your agent, CALL the title company to verify the instructions were in fact sent and they are correct. Do NOT rely on email!
- More New Construction. I feel like they’re running out of places to keep building, and yet, every year we see more new construction sales. In 2015 it was 145. In 2016 it was 139. In 2017 it was 166. So far in 2018 we have 39 pending/sold. I wouldn’t be surprised if new construction sales exceed last years 166. With Columbia Pike developments of condos and townhomes, new constructions single family homes, and random townhome developments popping up all over town – there’s no shortage of supply.