MARCH 2016: Augusta County, Staunton, & Waynesboro

SPRINGTIME FINALLY SPRANG!…(is that a word?) The month of March kept us on our toes regarding real estate transactions, as well as what to wear in  the Shenandoah’s wishy-washy weather! Per usual, last month was a mixed bag, click here for the recap.  In the real estate world, it was getting much, much warmer…(commentary after the awesome charts.)



W H A T ‘ S   H O T . . .
○ DEJA- VU –  Inventory is waaaay-doooowwwwnnn. “How low is it?”, you may ask? Inventory is at a 7 year low and 55% lower than a year ago. I think it is so low, that buyers are being forced to take second and third looks at properties they may have easily walked by before. I believe motivated buyers are then doing more than just taking more looks, they are PURCHASING. Remember the huge jump in average Days on Market in the chart above. Some of these homes have been on the market for literally years, (1312 days to be more precise.) *A normal market is considered to be 90-120 days, which we have been in since April 2015.  In this case, we are slowly-but-surely appropriately price-adjusting properties, as well as digesting and ridding our market of the 2014 influx of recession side-effects, (aka foreclosures, short-sales, etc.)

As mentioned in last month’s snapshot, here.  Having low inventory is not a bad thing. Overall, Less inventory means a healthier market; higher Average Sales Prices and lower Days on the Market. Classic example of Supply & Demand, ya’ll!

○  Monthly Closed Transactions Increase –

  • Year over Year: March 2016 Sales (101) is a 20.3% INCREASE from March 2015 sales (84)
  • Year -to- Date: March 2016 YTD (259) has INCREASED 5.7% over March 2015 YTD (245)
  • Compared to last month: March 2016 Sales (101) is a 26% INCREASE from February 2016 Sales (80)

○ Last month, I mentioned larger Ranch style homes as the HOT ITEM. I have opened-up this criteria to include any clean home that’s appropriately priced, with a price range of $100k – $300k. Ha!

○ By the way, did I mention its a GREAT time to list your house?


W H A T ‘ S   N O T . . .
○  DEJA – VU -Inventory is waaaay-doooowwwwnnn. I know, I just said it wasn’t a bad thing above…BUT if you have money in your pocket and ready to spend some major dough on the house of your dreams, not having a selection to choose from can be very frustrating! (Listen, it happens to me all of the time. When I finally get some alone time AND some chump change, it seems my favorite stores never have anything of interest.) Here’s to the continuation of Spring’s activity!

○  Average Sales Price DECREASE –

  • We noticed a 10.7% increase in Ave. Sales Price in February from January. Unfortunately, March sales showed a 2.1% DECREASE when compared to February. (This decrease could be another reflection of stale inventory price-adjustment.)
  • On a positive note, March 2016 ASP is still 3.5% higher than March 2015 ASP.
  • *Take note, the average sales price has seller concessions included. 53% of March closed transactions included seller paid concessions. (These concessions averaged to $4625 per transaction.)

○  2014’s Lender underwriting “tighten-up” improvements are still affecting loan approval and closing deadlines. This past fall’s new adjustments to closing procedures has also provided some delays and “hiccups” in the process. COMMUNICATION between all parties is key, as well as lots of PATIENCE, young padawans.

  • According to Realtor Magazine, the average days to close is at 45 days. If you are desiring a shorter closing time, the best thing to do is be PREPARED. If financing is needed, go speak to lenders PRIOR to making an offer to purchase. In fact…go speak to lenders PRIOR to even looking. That way, all needed paperwork can be provided, reviewed, and one can get “pre-Approved”. Always a good idea to be educated on your own finances. The “pre-approval” doc can also be submitted with any future offers. I great way to display your seriousness in purchasing, as well as increasing the sellers’ confidence in accepting your offer.


*This report was prepared by and for the use of Westhills Ltd. REALTORS. It is not to be copied in whole or in part without explicit permission of Katherine McNicholas.

**All data based on information from the Greater Augusta Association of REALTORS®, Inc. or Multiple Listing Service for the period 3.1.16 through 3.31.16. All information is believed to be accurate, but cannot be guaranteed.