Reston Real Estate: Looking Back on 2013

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This is a sponsored column by Eve Thompson of Reston Real Estate. She writes twice weekly on Reston Now.

The real estate market in Reston was strong throughout 2013, with the volume of transactions out pacing last year by almost 10 percent.

Nationwide, property values were up 14 percent. As predicted, last year Reston did not see large across the board price increases this year (our values were up 12 percent last year), but demand was strong and inventory was low which meant that properties were moved quickly with little price negotiation. The average days on market in Reston were just 21 compared to an average of 35 in Fairfax County.

Prices were up in some market segments in Reston, mainly in properties selling at $400,000 and under. Property in the $401,oo0- and-over market segment held steady after the very strong gains make in 2012. The average home price was $456,000, compared to $455,000 in 2012. Low interest rates and improved consumer confidence spurred very strong sales that were inhibited by a lack of inventory.

Many owners who held onto their underwater mortgages are finally right-side-up since the 2007 housing bubble burst. Investors continue to be active in the Reston real estate market, with 16 percent of all transactions closing in cash.

What to expect for 2014? The opening of the Metro will usher in a new day for Reston. I think the property values within that magic mile will see steady price increases as the value of being able to walk from the Metro to one’s front door begins to sink in with the buying public. Groundbreaking in some of the areas slated for Reston’s first redevelopment efforts, Lake Anne for example, should also have a positive impact on home values in those areas as well.

I would expect to see a fairly balanced market — inventory may be somewhat constrained but changes in the lending guidelines will mean that it will be more difficult to qualify for a mortgage, so a buyer with a pre-qualification from a good lender is going to be in demand.

The table below shows the volume of real estate transactions sold over the past 11 years along with the average price and percent of change over that time period. From a seller’s perspective, things are definitely moving in the right direction.

Year Volume Units Ave Price Dif +/-
2002 502M 1795 280K
2003 588M 1877 314K +11%
2004 725M 1955 371K +18%
2005 863M 1853 466K +25%
2006 589M 1307 451K -3.2%
2007 556M 1212 458K +1.5%
2008 368M 965 381K -20%
2009 439M 1148 383K
2010 440M 1104 399K +4%
2011 378M 937 403K +1%
2012 483M 1061 455K +12%
2013 515M 1138 456K

Here’s wishing all of Reston a happy and prosperous New Year!

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