Strengths and Weaknesses of the Winchester, Virginia Housing Market

Market analysis to help you and your clients make the most of the current Winchester housing market conditions.

housing market in Virginia

Winchester is currently one of the hottest housing markets in Virginia!

If you have your Virginia real estate license, Winchester is where you want to land listings. Homes are selling quickly, sometimes with multiple offers that drive up the price (and your commission!).

Don’t have your Virginia real estate license yet? There’s no better time to get in the game! This could be the year you start your new Virginia real estate career

But don’t go into this market blind. Make sure you understand the strengths and weaknesses of the Winchester market so you can make the most of it.

Strength: Increasing Real Estate Values

The median list price may be down 1.5% compared to last year, but don’t let that fool you. Property values, on the whole, are actually rising by a healthy rate.

According to the Zillow Home Value Index (which estimates the median value of all local homes, not just the sales prices of recently sold properties), home values in Winchester rose 5.4% during 2019 and are expected to grow by another 3% over the coming year. 

This means your sellers stand to make more money on the sale of their home. And you stand to make more money in commissions.

Strength: Affordability (Especially Compared to the Cost to Rent)

Despite increasing real estate values, prices are still generally affordable, particularly when you consider the expense to rent in Winchester.

Rents are indexing at $1,463 per month. At that rate, renters can breakeven on a home purchase after just 2.4 years. 

And with 56% of the Winchester population still renting, there’s lots of opportunity for you to turn renters into your new buyer clients!  

Strength: Low-Interest Rates

Low mortgage interest rates are making Winchester real estate even more affordable. Rates have fallen under 4% again after reaching 4.94% in November 2019. And experts expect that the rate for a 30-year-fixed mortgage will remain under 4% for 2020.

This 1% drop means big savings for your buyers. It can add $30,000 to your client’s budget! As a Virginia real estate agent, you get to spread the word and earn yourself more buyer clients. 

Weakness: Low Inventory

Of course it can’t all be good news. The biggest weakness of the Winchester market is low inventory. There are just too many buyers and not enough houses available.

Inventory in November 2019 was down 22% from the prior year. This is frustrating for buyers who are ready, willing, and able to buy, but just can’t find a suitable property.  

If you’re a Virginia real estate agent, it’s your responsibility to educate your buyers. Getting pre-approved is no longer optional; sellers will expect to know upfront that your buyers can secure financing. And with the potential for multiple offers, there’s no sense in making a low initial offer to “leave room for negotiation”. Make sure your buyers come with their highest and best offer if they are serious about buying a new home.

Weakness: Excessive Competition in the $160,000 - $230,000 Price Range 

Low inventory is a market-wide issue, but its impact is most heavily felt in the $160,000 to $230,000 price range. This is the range in which first-time buyers and average-wage workers are looking, so homes in this range are in exceptionally high demand.

If you’re a Virginia real estate agent representing buyers, be prepared to compete with other buyer agents when making an offer in this range, as multiple offers and bidding wars are common. And keep your ear to the ground so you and your clients will be among the first to know about new listings.

Virginia real estate agents who are prepared to tackle the inventory weakness are going to reap all the rewards of the red hot Winchester real estate market!

Kayla Zamora

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