Is it Real Estate Recovery

I have read several articles over the past weeks that are all saying good things about the improvement in the real estate market in general, but also locally here in Harrisonburg, Staunton and the Greater Shenandoah Valley.  In fact, the National Association of Home Builders just came out with their top 100 list of housing markets throughout the country that are “showing signs of improving economic health”.  Guess what….Harrisonburg was the first Virginia city to make the list.  I personally think that’s a pretty good sign that we live in a great part of the country and are doing better than most.  Here’s a link if you’d like to read more:  NAHB REPORT.

Several sources are actually predicting that Real Estate prices will soon begin to climb.  A chief economist for PNC Financial Services is expecting prices to start climbing in 2013….that’s not too far away.  With mortgage rates at record lows and home prices considered by many to be at the bottom, there hasn’t been a better time in quite a while to buy a home.  However, if you’re not quite ready, don’t worry.  Most analysts (myself included) aren’t predicting huge price increases.  The gains should be modest, but it still will be great to see values on the rise again!

One headline in the USA Today recently stated that “Home Prices will rise 4% per year for the next 5 years.”  This was based on research done by Fiserv.  They predict that prices will stabilize by the end of the summer and then begin climbing for the next several years.  CoreLogic, another market researcher, said that prices were up 0.6% overall in the US in March as compared to February.  While that may not seem like much, it was the first such increase since last summer.

Locally, here in Harrisonburg, VA,  there is also some good news.  So far this year, the volume of home sales is up about 2% as compared to this time last year.  Average sales prices during the same period have also increased a little over 1% as compared to 2011.  Another key piece of data to consider is that inventory levels are down about 15% over the last 12 months which is great.  Normally this time of year we expect to see an increase in inventory levels due to the “Spring/Summer Market”.  Probably due in large part to the exceptionally warm winter, we have seen a steady increase in activity over several months.  This increase is not just in new listings, but also in contracts and sales.

So, what does all this mean?  Well, in my opinion, it appears to be a good time to get off the fence if you’re thinking about buying a home.  I personally have just put a new home under contract here in Harrisonburg, so I try to practice what I preach.  I can’t see mortgage rates getting any lower, and honestly don’t believe they can stay this low for much longer.  No one really knows if we’re at the “bottom” yet in terms of pricing, but there are certainly plenty of analysts and experts saying that we are.  If you add this to the fact that everywhere you turn there are predictions and evidence of rising rent prices, it may just be a good time to buy that home.

I’d certainly be happy to help with that purchase or sale, so don’t hesitate to call or email anytime to discuss your Real Estate needs here in Harrisonburg, Staunton, and the Greater Shenandoah Valley.