The Anatomy of Virginia’s Hottest Housing Market

by UrbanTurf Staff

700 Skyline Court in Vienna was under contract in 48 hours.

The theme that homes for sale in the DC area are flying off the market is one that is now as old as it is frustrating. Over the next three weeks, UrbanTurf will pinpoint the areas in DC, Maryland and Virginia where the markets are the hottest and dig down into the reasons for why that might be.

The Virginia zip code of 22180 is largely made up of the Town of Vienna, a middle to upper class town of 15,000 people about 16 miles from the nation’s capital where the median family income exceeds six figures. In recent months, it has exhibited housing statistics that would make even the most tenacious of buyers aggravated.

In April, the median number of days that homes for sale were spending on the market in 22180 stood at just 4, the lowest in the entire region, according to data provided by RealEstate Business Intelligence. That number edged up only slightly to five days in May. Not surprisingly, the average sale to list price ratio for the zip code correlated with the low days on market. In April, it sat at 101%, which means that more often than not, homes were selling for above their asking price.

Real estate agent Doug Francis attributes the heat of the market in Vienna to the collision of three types of consumers: buyers looking for a home of their own, builders backed by investors, and buyers looking to purchase an older home, tear it down and build their own custom house.

“You have the regular buyers rushing to see new listings, while the builders are checking out lot size and set-backs,” Francis said. “And then there are the build their own buyers trying to buy anything and then figure out a plan.”

To compete in this type of market, buyers are not only forced to opt out of home inspection and appraisal contingencies (a more and more common tactic across the region), but also bring more cash to the table. The number of builders operating in the area has increased from 10 to 35 in just the past few years, and virtually all of them purchase properties below $500,000 in all cash transactions.

While the $400,000 to $500,000 properties in this zip code are seeing a lot of competition among buyers and builders alike, the upper six-figure price bracket is just as frenzied among owner occupants. This home received multiple offers and was under contract two days after it was listed for above the asking price. Not an unusual scenario if you have been a buyer in the region recently, but what makes Vienna a little different is that it is happening with most of the listings for sale there.

“I would say 88 percent of my listings get multiple offers these days,” RE/MAX’s Michelle Morris told UrbanTurf. “If you put a home on the market on Thursday and it’s not sold by the following Tuesday, something is wrong.”

Next week, UrbanTurf will take a look at the hottest neighborhood market in DC.

See other articles related to: virginia, vienna's housing market, 22180

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1 Comment

  1. Doug Francis said at 2:18 pm on Thursday June 20, 2013:

    Most of the builders who are building “spec homes” are finding buyers early on in the construction process (around $1.3 million). That’s a good local example of the “builder confidence” stat which seem to get discussed by everyone from Bernanke to CNBC.

    Luckily the Town of Vienna has lot coverage maximums at 25% which keeps the new homes smaller and, in my opinion, closer to what today ‘s home buyer wants. Although the homes are bigger than the ramblers that they are replacing, they don’t cover as much area as new homes can in other parts of Fairfax or Arlington counties.

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Courtney Abrams

TTR Sotheby's Int'l Realty



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