Any home buyer’s search for simplicity in the current Vienna real estate market will feel the immense pressure to make a super competitive offer on literally anything that pops up which checks most of the boxes. It’s all around, even for sellers moving to a new market, the national inventory is slim and under crushing pressure.
Take a look at this live chart which shows five years of monthly listings that hit the Vienna, VA market. To simplify it, I just included homes that are “detached” and not condos or townhomes.
This interactive chart will also show the monthly decline year over year when you slide over a month. The trend has been downward which will likely continue as rates remain low and people decide to move for specific personal reasons.
According to the National Association of Realtors, nationally, September 2020 showed the lowest inventory of previously owned homes for sale since 1982.
Now that’s scarcety!
The clients who are moving and navigating this environment with the least stress are doing things differently than they did a year or two ago. And having them gain perspective early on and shift the sequence of events is the going to be the process for a while..
The common goal?
It’s a search for simplicity.
Obstacles to a healthy real estate market
As people desperately search for the ideal home, let’s look at some of the current issues that I see creating this current housing logjam.
Think about having an open house at your home this weekend?
Just the thought of strangers roaming through your home may have given you a shiver. It should!
Wearing a mask, using hand sanitizer, and even signing a COVID-19 Access Acknowledgment have become standard ops.
Finding a place to move
The biggest problem is, obviously, finding a new place to move to. With people working virtually, being near the office isn’t a high priority right now. That alone literally opens up the whole country!
For those retiring, there are new priorities that weren’t included a few years ago like living near grandchildren or adult family members. Appreciation for simplicity has become an important focus.
Pricing pressure is intense in the current market. For example, this chart looks at detached homes in Fairfax County, VA. Notice the dramatically steep trend upwards over the last year.
The search for a community with values
Although economists never seem to mention this, I feel there is a huge transfer of wealth moving around the country these days as people leave expensive real estate markets and start to house hunt in less expensive markets.
Sellers from these expensive markets are seeing homes that look like bargains. The x-factor today, compared to 2005, is that buyers are searching for a sense of community where there is simplicity in day to day life. That’s worth paying for.
What is essential for my clients considering selling their home is to give them the perspective from someone who is moving to Vienna. Having a big, flat back yard with plenty of sunlight, vegetable gardens, and space for a Whiffle Ball game looks like a dream! And for someone moving from New York, DC, or Los Angeles, it may also look like a bargain.
Using Vienna for example, someone will search Zillow for homes to buy, but today they will also turn to social media sites like NextDoor, Facebook or Instagram. Find out about the glass recycling program. Or, they pick up on events, and grass roots Facebook Groups like Vienna Foodies or @RusticLoveVienna which have engaged the local community with a sense of common purpose and civic pride.
There is something very appealing to the simplicity of these community groups. They may also stumble upon a Zoom class with The Vienna Arts Society.
In a recent conversation with a colleague in our Annapolis office, he mentioned that the waterfront inventory around St. Michaels this Spring went from 46 available homes to 6 in four months. People wanted the simplicity of the natural beauty on the Eastern Shore while maintaining easy access to Washington, D.C.
About three years ago, a friend decided to set up his real estate business in Bend, Oregon. Bend was reasonably priced, had great Internet speeds, and has an ideal outdoor lifestyle. Then, much to my surprise, last year one of my clients moved to Bend to work at Bend Studio. Lifestyle… wow!
I have had a few clients go through similar life shifts where they researched towns for a lifestyle that was a good fit, and not just a retirement or golf course community. A vibrant arts scene, music scene, or farm to table market have all been factors when deciding where to move.
Each time they were getting a handle on the real estate market, areas to live and shop, and understand the unique architecture in the community so they could confidently act when they had made a decision to move.
Take the time and live it!
Becoming confident really does require careful planning.
If you are searching for simplicity, then a good start to know where you want to be is by investing some of your time.
- Narrow your focus
- Airbnb in that area for two weeks or two months
- Rent a home there for a year
Finally, you may have read the book What Color is Your Parachute? when you were searching for a job or career change. This book was intended to help readers self explore through writing and being thoughtful. The writing exercises may help you prepare for your next move.
With so much pressure on the market, now is a smart time to concentrate and research where you want your life to take you next.