The Buzz

Predictions for the 2017 Housing Market from

According to’s Active Home Shopper Report, the 2017 home buying season may see a large increase in first-time homebuyers.

The report also indicates that there will be an increased demand for suburban homes. The bad news – buyers will also face greater affordability challenges. The study, based on September survey data of active shoppers on, analyzes responses from consumers who intend to purchase homes in the spring or summer of 2017. The biggest market inhibitor currently is limited inventory, but next year’s biggest challenge could be affordability and buyer hurdles with down payments and credit scores. Nevertheless, the report predicts that first-time buyers could be the majority of all homebuyers next year, with millennials leading the pack. Key property attributes that prospective buyers are prioritizing are no surprise. Buyers want safe neighborhoods, more living space, and sound financial investments. The prediction for the coming year is that they’ll be looking for those features in the suburbs.

Read more on the report here.

This article originally appeared in the December 2016 issue of the REAL Trends Newsletter is reprinted with permission of REAL Trends, Inc. Copyright 2016. 

For First-time and Repeat Buyers: VHDA’s Newest Fannie Mae Product


VHDA has a new mortgage loan product that may be a great option for first-time and repeat homebuyers. It’s called the VHDA Fannie Mae (FNMA) HFA Preferred with Reduced Mortgage Insurance (MI) and it comes with the following benefits:

- Lowest conventional mortgage insurance payments.
- Eligible for VHDA Down Payment Assistance grant (DPA) and Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC).
- Flexible down payment sources – gifts, FNMA Community Seconds, VHDA DPA grant funds.
- No mortgage insurance required with down payments of 20% or more.

For additional information, click here or call VHDA at 800-227-8432.

Giving Tuesday

The Tuesday after Thanksgiving has become an annual giving tradition – a day to elevate charitable giving during the holiday spending season.

REALTOR® generosity happens year-round. Throughout Virginia, REALTORS® impact communities and uplift neighbors. Whether you giving-tuesdayoffer assistance to the victims of natural disaster, mentor homeless and vulnerable Virginians, or support the Virginia REALTOR® partnership with Homes for Our Troops, your gift matters.

To give to Homes for Our Troops this Giving Tuesday, click here. Your gift makes mortgage-free homes happen for Virginia heroes.

To learn more about Virginia REALTOR® community outreach, or to share your own impact story, contact

Simple thanks

During this season of thanks, we wish you a safe and joyful time to celebrate your families, communities, and achievements. Your work makes a difference in the Virginia economy and in every one of our cities, counties, and neighborhoods.

Thank you, Virginia REALTORS®.

NEWS ALERT: Federal Overtime Rule Blocked

A federal rule slated to take effect December 1 that had the potential to increase labor costs for employers in industries throughout the United States, including real estate, hit an unexpected roadblock on Tuesday when a Texas federal court blocked the rule from taking effect. The mandatory overtime rule wasn’t expected to have an effect on the compensation of real estate sales associates and brokers who are independent contractors and earn their income through commission sales, but it could have impacted the compensation of salaried employees of brokerages and state and local associations, among other employers in the industry. Read more here.

Legal Video: Short Term Rentals

VAR’s Laura Farley provides an overview of short term rentals in Virginia. Click the video to watch. Discussion points include: 


  • The exclusion from the Virginia Residential Landlord Tenant Act for tenants renting property that is not their primary residence.
  • Using web based platforms to advertise short term rentals, including licensure requirements and required disclosures.
  • Discuss with your client any money that may be held by a third party (besides yourself).
  • Unlicensed individuals, except current tenants residing in the property, cannot be paid referral fees.


October sales reflect seasonal balance, continued high demand

October 2016 residential real estate sales performed steadily relative to prior year benchmarks, rebalancing from a third quarter balloon and still reflecting high buyer demand. The value of transactions for October 2016 was $2.815 billion, up 1 percent from the same month in 2015 ($2.787 billion). Volume through the end of October 2016 exceeded $31.970 billion, a gain of 6.4 percent from last year’s accumulation of $30.050 billion.

As high demand overcame typical seasonal trends, October median price was unchanged month-over-month and was 5.0 percent higher than in the same month last year ($262,500 over $250,000 in October 2015). Typically, price drops month-to-month from June through the end of the year. Average length of time on the market decreased markedly year-over-year, by 16.7 percent (from 78 days last October to 65 this year). The number of October transactions in 2016 was slightly fewer than in 2015, declining 0.9 percent from 8,870 to 8,789. October sales reflect buyer eagerness to absorb inventory and take advantage of continued low financing rates.

Click here to view the full October 2016 Home Sales Report.

The historical trend line for October sales indicates sustained long term improvement.

The historical trend line for October sales indicates sustained long term improvement.

Get your home ready for winter

winter-weather-tipsWhether you’re ready or not, winter is coming. And while we don’t know if this season will be milder or more severe than normal, it will undoubtedly be colder and gloomier than the rest of the year. However, there are steps that homeowners can take to protect their families and homes during the frigid fourth season.

In their “Spotlight: Get Ready to Hibernate” series, HouseLogic offers a rich resource of ideas to help insulate your financial and personal well-being against the onslaught of the winter months.

Topics include:

- Tips for a Spring-Clean Home All Winter Long

- 9 Ways to Fool Yourself Into Thinking It’s Spring Inside

- 9 Mood-Lifting Ideas For a Cozier Home This Winter

- 7 Mistakes That Cost Homeowners BIG Money During Cold Weather

So take a little time today to research and prepare, and you’ll be able to weather the cold and emerge next spring in a better state.

Legal Video: Designated Agency

VAR Attorney Blake Hegeman discusses aspects of designated agency, including:

  • What is designated agency?
  • How is a designated agency relationship formed?
  • Who represents the seller and buyer in designated agency relationships?
  • Can designated agency occur with less than three licensees?

Click the video to watch.


Legal Video: Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act

VAR’s Laura Farley provides an overview of the Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act, how the law can impact leases in Virginia and how it interplays with the Virginia Residential Landlord Tenant Act. As we recognize Veterans Day this week (November 11), our resources highlight the Virginia REALTOR® commitment to veterans and military families. Click the video to watch. Discussion topics include:

  • Protections provided to servicemembers and their families under the SCRA,
  • Waiver of rights and protections under the SCRA,
  • Evicting individuals protected by the SCRA,
  • Servicemembers terminating leases under the SCRA, and
  • VRLTA’s Early Termination by Military (Virginia Code Section 55-248.21:1)