Jennifer Mack column: Is the Wakefield market cooling off?

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If there’s anything we can learn from recent Northern Virginia real estate activity, it’s that trends must be viewed on a micro level more than ever before. 

Covid-19 and the resulting quarantine have impacted the industry in interesting ways. For instance, we have evidence that many buyers are now prioritizing work-from-home spaces when making long-term housing decisions. There’s a desire to spend more time with family and have more space, both inside and outside the home. Huge lifestyle shifts are occurring that signal many people are embracing a new way of life in a very permanent way. Local real estate activity suggests that most people are feeling confident enough in the stability of their jobs to purchase new homes. We’re also seeing unprecedented interest in vacation homes near nature—whether it be mountains, beaches, or lakes. As commuting becomes less of a factor, we’re seeing people move farther out from DC in search of more house for their money.

My team is advising our sellers to invest in their outdoor spaces if needed. It’s a great time to consider adding a screened porch, deck, or fence. I predict these investments will yield a good return on future sales as people spend more time at home. 

In the Wakefield area, we’re starting to see some evidence that the market is cooling, as evidenced by price reductions on five of the ten listings currently available. Some sellers may be overpricing their homes based on the record prices that we’ve seen the last couple months. Price and presentation will be more important than ever for listings as we enter the late fall and winter market. The data are literally changing on a weekly basis and timing is everything. In some cases, I advise my clients to prepare for market completely and then hold off on going active until the inventory levels are favorable to them. This strategy can pay off big if a house hits the market on a weekend with little to no new competition. 

Jennifer Mack has more than 15 years of experience in the real estate industry. Her team services Virginia, Maryland, and D.C., with the bulk of her business in the Woodson High School area. You can contact her with real estate questions at jennifer@jennifermackproperties.com or by calling 703-672-0038. She’s happy to answer specific questions privately or more general questions publicly in this column.