According to realtor Bill Denny of Long and Foster in Gainesville, the local housing market is on the rise, especially in Bristow and Gainesville, due a decrease in short sales and foreclosures.
“In Bristow, the market is doing very well,” said Denny. “It was slow for 2-3 weeks before the election. Now that the election is behind us, all of sudden, it is exploding again.”
This explosion means that housing prices are up 50 percent since 2009. However, it also creates the conditions for a seller’s market, since inventory is so low.
“We have 52 homes on the market today. Four years ago, there were 250,” Denny said.
Low inventory gives sellers the advantage in negotiations.
“Sellers can dictate more on the contract in terms of price, concessions and contingencies like closing costs,” Denny said.
Denny attributes the transition to a sellers market to the fact that Northern Virginia was able to sell off most of its short sales and foreclosures, even as they remained on the books in other areas of the country. Now that there are much fewer nontraditional sales, sellers can get higher prices for their homes in the region.
“Western Prince William is one of the hottest markets in the country,” Denny said. He does not dispute the fact that the region was hit particularly hard when the housing bubble burst; however, he now sees evidence of a strong and speedy recovery.
“We were down more than 50 percent in price since 2005. We’re springing back so quickly. Usually it’s 15-20 percent corrections in the market per year. However, being out here with the FBI and the Federal Government, it’s typically always a strong market,” Denny said.
He also sees how the growth of retail and restaurants in the area have made the area a more desirable place for residents to live. Clients tell him they are excited to see what new stores, restaurants and entertainment outlets will come to the Gateway Center. Denny said that is a big change from 5-7 years ago, when the new suburban neighborhoods had no retail outlets of their own, and residents had to travel to Manassas, Warrenton, or Fairfax County for their retail shopping.
Denny is proud of the fact that his team has helped the people of Bristow and Gainesville to build a stable community and to help their homes retain their value. He does not think this would be the case had there been more short sales and foreclosures. However, even during the housing bust, Denny made a conscious decision to specialize in traditional sales. Even when short sales were 50 percent of the market, Denny encouraged people to stick it out, rather than sell their home at a reduced value. Even if it meant less business for him.
“Living in Bristow and living in this area, I’m just trying to keep the valuations up as best as I can for my neighbors and my clients,” Denny said.
Now the market is back where Denny had hoped it would be. Where once short sales were 40-50 percent of the Bristow market, they are now down to 10 percent.
Being an expert on real estate in the Bristow, Gainesville and Nokesville markets for over 11 years has allowed Denny to expand his operations. He now has four real estate associates on his team: Karyl Allen, team manager; Shirley Martinez, Buyer’s Agent; Jody Trusner, Buyer’s Agent; and Settlement Coordinator Jill Bissell.
While he advises everyone to hire the realtor with whom they feel most comfortable, he suggests they also consider that person’s experience, knowledge, availability and ability to be forthright with their clients.
Ultimately, Denny advises that people should contact him if they want to, “Get the highest amount for their house, and price it right,” while people looking to buy or rent can benefit from his vast knowledge of the local market.
Bill Denny at Long and Foster can be reached at billdenny.com or at 703-629-3360.
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