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May 2012

MarketWatch, authored by David Howell, is published on a bi-monthly basis by McEnearney Associates, Inc. It provides useful and insightful summaries of current housing market trends. MarketWatch statistics include housing sales from all companies serving our Virginia - Washington DC - Maryland Metropolitan area.


05/31/12 by David Howell

“No Chipped Paint; All Horses Jump” - Disneyland and Your Home.

A carousel ride for his young kids spurred Walt Disney’s goal for creating the perfect customer experience when he opened Disneyland – and that goal is a great one for homeowners as well.

From a distance, that Los Angeles amusement parkRide Mac's Mercury at Clemijontri Park in McLean! ride looked great to Disney and his two young daughters, but as they drew closer they found that only the horses on the outer ring moved and the paint was shabby and peeling. He was both disappointed and inspired, determined that his guests would have an entirely different experience, and his mantra for the creation of Disneyland quickly became “No Chipped Paint; All Horses Jump.

It was a direct and passionate expression that simply meant that everything had to work, everything had to look good, and nothing should be left to chance. And Disney and his cast acted on that directive to perfection.

Creating the right customer experience when selling a home matters just as much. Making sure everything works properly and everything sparkles gives prospective purchasers the confidence that the home they are considering buying has been well cared for. Most buyers aren’t looking to take on a “project,” and those that are will drive a harder bargain. The seller will pay for maintenance and condition one way or another. If they DO the right things, and PRICE it right, they’ll be rewarded. If they don’t – well, purchasers won’t pay as much for a poorly kept house, and those homes take longer to sell.

Remodeling Magazine, in cooperation with the National Association of REALTORS®, publishes an annual “Cost vs. Value” report that directly addresses this issue. This is among the conclusions of their most recent survey: “The…research…shows that maintenance, repair, and replacement projects take precedence with homeowners. Cost vs. Value data confirm this once again this year, as replacement projects continue to perform better in resale value than other types of remodeling projects. Seven of the 10 top-ranked projects are siding-, window-, or door-replacement projects.”

Proper maintenance is the single, best way to improve the value of your home, regardless of when or if you plan to sell. Before you think about adding a room, or “granitizing” your kitchen, call your favorite McEnearney Associates REALTOR®.  We can give you advice and recommend professional contractors for projects that will ensure the best price when the time is right to sell your home. Relationships with our clients, both buyers and sellers, are for the long term. They don’t begin and end with the transaction!


  • The number of homes on the market at the end of April 2012 decreased 21.5% compared to April 2011. And the inventory of homes priced less than $500,000 is down 43.7% compared to last year.
  • Five of the six price categories have lower inventory than this time last year.
  • 35.7% of all homes on the market have had at least one price reduction since coming on the market. This time last year, 38.4% of all homes on the market had at least one price reduction.

Absorption Rates Attached HomesNEW CONTRACT ACTIVITY

  • The number of new contracts ratified in April 2012 was up 7.4% from the number of contracts ratified in April 2011, and year-to-date activity is up 5.2%. However, there was a decrease for homes priced less than $300,000.
  • 31.9% of all homes going under contract in April 2012 had a price reduction before going under contract.
  • And 57.0% of all homes going under contract in April were on the market 30 days or less – and that’s considerably higher than the 35% - 40% that has typical over the last year.


Absorbtion Rates Detached HomesMONTH'S SUPPLY

  • The combination of the drop in the number of homes on the market and the increase in contract activity makes for a pretty tight market in many price categories.
  • The overall supply of homes on the market at the end of April was 2.2 months, down from 3.0 months at the end of April 2011.
  • The supply of homes priced less than $300,000 is just 45 days.