Q1 2020: Housing Round Up

Trigger warning: coronavirus.

With the new year, brought new stories and news stories that had a direct impact on market values and inventory. We ended 2019 with low inventory and as we close out the first quarter of the year, it hasn’t improved much.

So is it a seller’s market?

Yes, most of the time.

But what about buyer’s?

Buyers are still taking advantage of the swinging interest rates. Considering the circumstances we are in, rates are historically low. So, buyers shopping right now can save cash monthly OR buy a more expensive home than they could have 6 months ago. So in this regard, it is also a buyers market.

Here is an actual example of a buyer I have under contract right now. It demonstrates the perk of being a seller and the perk of being a buyer right now.

We were ‘substantially outbid’ on a property that day after it was listed. Our offer was full price, 30 day close (normally considered competitive offer). The purchase price was $350,000 putting my buyers at a roughly a $2200/mo mortgage payment. The next week, a comparable property popped up at $335,000. We saw it hours after it listed and had our $350,000 offer in that night. Thankfully, we won the property and guess what? It appraised at value. It was the same purchase price as the first home, the same $350,000 loan amount just one week later put this family in a $1800/mo price range.

This price difference is a prime example of taking a risk during the pandemic for long-term wealth. They have a locked rate UNDER 3%. They managed their price point, searching lower than their budget, so that they could bid high to win in a multiple offer scenario. This was a true collaboration between the buyers, myself and their lender to win!

The burning question: are Realtors permitted to show houses right now?

Yes, we are considered ‘essential’. There are people, regardless of COVID-19, who need to buy & sell right now for many factors (family needs, schools, medical, job transfers, lease ending). For a short while we were instructed to only offer virtual tours, no clients allowed in homes. This order abruptly slammed the number of pending listings. As of 04/03 we have been explicitly told by the office of the Governor to move forward with client showings. This is not ‘business as usual’, we must remain 6 ft apart and follow all CDC guidelines and meet only when absolutely necessary. I wrote an offer on a home for a client who toured it ‘virtually’ with me and was completely fine.

Ok, but what is going on around Maryland?

2019 QUARTER 1 MEDIAN SALES PRICE $339,500 with 59 days on market. A lot of cities made serious jumps in median sale price from Q1 2019, the two that stand out the most to me are Jessup & Crofton. Jessup moved from $280k to $425k and Crofton followed behind closely from $280k to $345k.

The City seems to be immune to one thing: the inventory shortage. I did not experience a lack of selection at all this quarter. If anything, my experience was filled with bidding wars in Hampden and fast turning properties into Charles Village and Homeland.

While I didn’t welcome anyone home into Baltimore County this quarter, I did see many homes for sale. I felt the inventory shortage here, clients didn’t have enough to choose from when they needed to buy and were forced to look elsewhere. Towson values are up 17.7%, much higher than the Baltimore County average growth of 5.5%.

YTD Howard County sales are up over 15%! Ellicott City, West Friendship and the HoCo portion of Jessup are up the most in the region. Glenelg typically has the highest sales, but sadly they have seen the lowest growth; likely due to fewer home sales than last year.

This quarter, Garrett Park saw the highest average sale of $985,000 and Montgomery Village had the lowest average sale of $279,000. Sadly Montgomery Village Q1 this year is down 3.8% from 2019. Gaithersburg remains a leader in residential communities with a 21% increase in sale value this Q1 from Q1 2019. Average values there are now at a healthy $425,000.

Suitland saw a massive 36.4% growth this year from the first quarter of 2019. The average home value there is now $300,000! Glen Dale leads the top average sale price of $449,000 at 11% growth from Q1 2019. PG County as a whole moved up roughly 12% in value this quarter compared to the previous year’s Q1.

So you scrolled to the bottom for a synopsis …

  • The market is still moving and oddly thriving!
  • # of showings have drastically decreased, but the buyers that are out there are incredibly serious- that is a great thing for sellers
  • People still need to move for essential reasons, that is why the governor has asked us to continue showing houses while taking precaution.
  • Interest rates hit under 3% that slammed the mortgage industry. Most lenders operating at 300%. Rates are fluctuating daily. You can get a great rate if you watch like a hawk (or ask me)
  • Some loan programs are reacting with shifting regulations (credit thresholds may be higher for some, appraisals are desktop on case-by-case and even some loan types have recently changed) Therefore, settlements take a little longer.

It is a good time to call me if you…

  • are interested in your home value given the inventory shortage
  • are hoping to move by the Fall (time to start looking in May)
  • need someone to talk to! it’s is a difficult time for many and I am here for you always!


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