Home buyers face low inventory in Northern Virginia housing market

LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. (DC News Now) — Prospective home buyers in Northern Virginia are braving high interest rates and clamoring for low inventory as the spring housing market takes shape.

The Northern Virginia Association of Realtors reported that February 2024 saw a 2.2% spike in sales from last year. As more buyers braved the market, prices also continued to increase. The region saw an average home sale price of $830,000, which is a 14.5% increase.

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Arianna Gillette, an agent in Loudoun County, said that high demand and low inventory is driving the increases.

“Literally every house that’s available on the market today could be absorbed in two weeks by the amount of buyers that are out there. There’s so much pent-up demand,” Gillette said.

She said typically, there is about six months’ worth of inventory available.

Gillette said many buyers had anticipated mortgage rates would fall below 6% by now, but they’ve hovered around 6.5%. Opportunities to work out a lower rate are rare, but they exist, such as through an assumable mortgage. There also may be opportunities through lenders.

“There might be opportunities for buy downs with particular lenders like some lenders use their private equity to buy down their rates in house. So that can be effective. But my biggest hack is have an advocate in your corner, a licensed real estate agent who specializes in the area that you are interested in,” she said.

This month, the National Association of Realtors agreed to a legal settlement, committing to dropping the compulsory 6% agent fees. Now, sellers’ agents will likely make 3% of a home’s value from a sale, but what lies ahead for buyers’ agents remains to be seen.

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There is speculation that buyers may shoulder the burden, paying a fee in addition to the purchase price of the home.

“There’s a lot that’s going to unfold between now and when that is going to take change in our market,” Gillette said. “If you’ve ever had a real estate transaction and you’ve ever had something go wrong and you’ve had a real estate agent that fought for you and helped you through a real estate transaction, then you know the value of being represented in a real estate transaction.”

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