Real Estate Market Update

Having witnessed the real estate market continue to climb in our two local counties, Jefferson and Berkeley WV, we wanted to see how our market was comparing with the wider local region. So we decided to take a look at the results for the following counties neighboring us: Hampshire and Morgan Counties WV, Loudoun, Clarke and Frederick Counties Va and Frederick Co. Maryland.

We know these counties have wildly varying population spreads. The smallest county in our study area was Clarke Co. Virginia with approximately 14,500 people. The largest being Loudoun County with approximately 400,000. So things like the amount in dollars of real estate sold are not directly comparable in a useful way, though their percentages increase or decrease are.

To remove some of the suspense for everyone right from the start. Every single county we looked at has sold more dollars of volume of real estate than last year. Here’s how much more:

Frederick County VA  +3.5%
Loudoun County VA  +3.8%
Hampshire County WV  +4.25%
Berkeley County WV  +10.75%
Frederick County MD  +12.35%
Jefferson County WV  +24.3%
Clarke County VA  +26%
Morgan County WV  +28.6%

As you can see, some of the counties in our region are having phenomenal growth years and two of the top three growth areas are in WV.

Are these increases in dollars sold resulting in increases in the average price of a home? The answer is – mostly, but not across the board. Clarke County VA and Morgan County WV saw dips.

Clarke County VA  -15.68% ($360,187)
Morgan County WV  -7.58% ($139,097)
Loudoun County VA  +0.32% ($481,435)
Jefferson County WV  +1.19% ($243,103)
Frederick County MD  +1.55% ($301,414)
Berkeley County WV  +3.18% ($171,941)
Hampshire County WV  +4.23% ($163,810)
Frederick County VA  +7.13% ($257,382)

People interested in selling their homes in most of our region can be confident that it is possible to do so in a fairly respectable length of time. The data below shows the average number of days on the market for a house in each county. This is a measure from day one on the market to key exchange at the closing table:

Loudoun County VA – 52 days
Frederick County MD – 75 days
Frederick County VA – 79 days
Jefferson County WV – 86 days
Berkeley County WV – 91 days
Clarke County VA – 129 days
Morgan County WV – 160 days
Hampshire County WV – 188 days.

You will notice that the length of time to sell a house increases the further you fan out from what would be considered our epicenter – Washington DC.

Ok, that is all great right…. but what if you want to buy a home in this region?
Actually the news is pretty good for buyers too. Very few people if any, are paying 100% of asking price for a house anywhere in this region. And if they are, the majority of them will be asking for some seller assistance with closing costs on the back end. So, feel confident that you can negotiate a lower price out of a seller. Depending on how far from DC you are, the room to negotiate will shift significantly. And at no point will you be able to “steal” a deal in this market.

If you’re looking far West – Morgan and Hampshire Counties WV, expect to be able to negotiate up to about 11% of the asking price. If you’re looking in the Jefferson and Berkeley Counties of WV or Clarke and Frederick Counties of VA area, expect to be able to play with about 5-7% of the sales price. If you’re thinking about Frederick County Md you should have up to 4% to play with. And if you’re looking at Loudoun County VA you might be able to squeeze 3% but 2% is more realistic. It is tightest there.

Overall, we would have to say that the real estate market is in an extremely healthy position for our entire region. The growth feels controlled. There is no evidence of the market increasing too rapidly to where it might be unsustainable.