“Should I take the risk of buying a home in the next six months?” wonders Ms. New Employee. “Will we be able to sell our home before July, without losing our shirts, and downsize?” asks Mr. and Mrs. Empty-Nester.
Having a job in a strong economy gives potential buyers the confidence needed to buy a home. With the national election over, many are still wondering if employment will increase or decrease; will Congress and the President begin working together or will we see another recession; will we continue the uncertainty that has caused many people to defer home purchases?
Tom Flynn, Director of Loudoun Economic Development, is positive on Loudoun. “Our economy continues to pick up,” he said, “and we expect 3500-4000 net, new jobs in 2013 with an unemployment rate of about 4%, better than the State’s. Info technology is the driver but we have a new goal of increasing small businesses by 5%”. Flynn said that office and flex space vacancy rates were lower in 2012 by a couple percent, a good indicator of high employment. Supporting Loudoun’s appeal to businesses is the fact that Fairfax County has more vacant space for lease than Loudoun has in total, he said.
Relative to those holding Loudoun jobs and their housing values, “2012 was much better ,” said Jeanette Newton, CEO of the Dulles Area Assoc. of Realtors, “and I expect a very good 2013 if the economy holds. The inventory of homes for sale is 18% lower than Dec. 2011 so list prices will increase”. “However, if the economy falls of the cliff”, she said, “and if defense jobs are cut, home values will fall and
buyers will not buy.”
Although 2012 was a really good year for both new and existing home sales, with prices still low and mortgage rates at historic lows, sales could have been higher had many new employees from out-of-the-area purchased and not rented because their homes in Arizona, Texas, and Indiana, for example, have not sold. An improved national economy is needed for these people and their employers.
Within five miles of Leesburg, there were 137 detached homes for sale on Jan. 3, with the average on the market for 137 days, with list prices slower than 2007, but better than 2011. Larry Trawick, a realtor with Leesburg’s Long and Foster Real Estate and its former managing broker, commented, “Sales are up considerably over last year and prices are again on the rise. Consumer confidence is up and, with interest rates still historically low, it is again a great time to buy a home.”
So there you have it: Area employment is growing, prices and rates are low, and experts suggest optimism on your part. Next month: Reviewing George Mason University’s economic and housing forecast and assessing the impacts on you.