If you are in the real estate market looking for a good deal on a home or property in an area that was previously out of your price range, you may be in for a pleasant surprise. Prices have dropped in many desirable areas. In some hard hit markets, such as California and Florida, homes for sale have been reduced by 25-35% or more in the past year.
The national median existing home price in October 2009 was $173,100 which is a decline of 7.1% from one year ago.1 This is the lowest decline in over a year, and may be an indicator the market has reached bottom.
This could truly be the time to re-evaluate your current home and move to a more desirable area that seemed out of reach before. Or — upgrade your home for a larger square footage. Whatever your reasons for wanting to purchase real estate, this particular buyer’s market could be the best time to be on the lookout for a new home.
Homes are selling across the U.S. A regional breakdown indicates home sales are up in the Northeast by 11.6%, Midwest by 14.4%, South by 12.7% and the West by 1.6% (ibid). These figures show promise in the housing market across the country.
Housing sales increases may also be experiencing a boon as a result of the $8,000 first time homebuyer tax credit. Since the deadline has been extended past November to April 30th home sales will most likely surge in early spring 2010.
This article gives an overview of the area of Virginia where my real estate business is based. Many homes and properties for sale are located in areas that may have been out of reach for the average home buyer in Virginia just two to three years ago.
Desirable Areas to Live: Williamsburg, James City County or York County
Williamsburg, James City County, and York County, are all premium areas for real estate investment right now, either as a primary residence or an investment property. The school districts are excellent, and the amenities in or near the counties include Busch Gardens & Water Country USA, Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown/Yorktown and the Colonial Parkway. This area is rich in American history, and many activities are available at least 10 months of each year. Other popular activities in the Williamsburg, James City County and York County area are: golfing, boating, fishing, and swimming.
Purchase Homes and Property in Upper James City County and New Kent County
Upper James City County is unique compared to the rest of the county because there are not many rentals. Neighboring New Kent County is also an excellent place to purchase investment property. Both counties are within a close proximity to Richmond (as little as one half hour to 45 minutes away) and are nearby Richmond International Airport.
Retire or Relocate to Richmond Virginia
Like many urban centers, the Richmond real estate market has multiple foreclosures and short sales due to the economy. I recently completed a short sale in King William County, just outside of Richmond, VA. The property appraised for $651,000 and sold as a short sale for $500,000. The lucky owner of this property now has 40 acres of land and a 4,000 square foot brick transitional rancher, complete with an in-ground pool and gazebo — at a bargain price.
Richmond also has sellers who are motivated. There will always be divorces, job relocation, death, and life changes.
With the real estate market beginning to percolate again, buyers need to seriously consider closing deals before the tax credit expires and prior to the rise of prices again. Though nobody can actually say for certain when this buyer’s market will crest, now is the time to buy low — especially in desirable areas.
* Molony, Walter. Realtor.Org.