A fever chart accurately illustrates Loudoun’s real estate market in 2010.
The county’s home sales sputtered at the beginning of the year – 263 homes sold in January before falling to its lowest point in February with 254 homes sold, according to a report released this week by housing analyst Rosemary deButts. This is compared to the number of homes sold in those same months in 2009; 309 homes sold in January and 323 homes in February, respectively.
Home sales hit its peak in June 2010 with 551 sales, compared to 568 home sold in June 2009. It crashed in July, however, “primarily due to the expiration of the first-time home buyer’s credit ‘hangover’ that began in July,” deButts said.
“It is normal for sales to trend down in the second half of the year but the degree of drop-off was not only unexpectedly sharp but continued through most of the fourth quarter,” deButts said.
After hitting a second low in October of 356 sales, home sales again rebounded in the last half of the year, totaling 388 sales in December. Sales in eastern Loudoun and Leesburg decreased in 2010, by 10 percent and 6 percent, respectively, according to deButts. On the flip side, western Loudoun home sales increased by 8 percent.
The county’s median sales prices wrote a different story in 2010.
The median sales price declined during five of the last six months of 2010, deButts said, which is another indication of the detritus from the home buyer credit expiration. Still, they median sales prices never fell below 2009 levels.
The 2010 median sales prices increased over the 2009 levels because the number of foreclosures and short sales decreased, deButts said. Additionally, prices advanced $67,250 from January to June due to the increased demand generated by the first-time home buyer credit, she said.
The year-to-date median sales price in Loudoun was $359,000, which was up 7 percent from 2009, according to deButts. In January, the median sales prices came in at $323,000 before skyrocketing to $390,000 in June. The median sales price ended the year at $355,000 in December.
While median sales prices remained above 2009 levels, the number of distressed sales, which are defined as foreclosures and short sales, declined 21 percent in 2010.
In 2009, 1,996 sales were distressed, that number fell to 1,572 in 2010. In January 2010, 44 percent of all sales were distressed sales, double the January 2009 rate of 22 percent. By December, however, the number of foreclosures and short sales represented just 33 percent of all sales that month.
The Loudoun County housing market bottomed in the first quarter of 2009 and has been on the rebound ever since. The home buyer tax credit helped to stabilize the market, but no one foresaw how effective it would be and how long it would take to get back to normal, deButts said.
It’s still too early to examine any 2011 numbers. Generally, however, the winter months of January and February tend to freeze the real estate market.
“But, I’m hoping that good news in the stock market, increasing consumer confidence, mortgage rates at 50-year lows, easing mortgage qualification requirements and a growing employment base will create a strong spring market and a return to a normal market,” she said.
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This article was first published by Hannah Hager on LoudounTimes.com.