The Overwhelming Numbers & Trivia Question

We have all been overwhelmed by numbers in 2020.  The stock market went up, then way down, and now back up again.  COVID cases were going up, then down, and now are on the rise again.  The local real estate market also has had its share of fluctuations, but thankfully they are little less confusing. The news for sellers is good – houses are selling fast and prices are increasing! Here is a chart of the real estate stats for Hampton Roads based on numbers from June:

As you can see, there were 37.20% fewer homes listed for sale in June 2020 than in June 2019. Additionally, 31.25% more homes went under contract (pending) in June 2020 than in June 2019.  In May 2020 there was only 2.54 months of inventory, and that reduced to 2.33 months in June.  An average market typically has between 5 and 7 months of inventory.  The median sale price was up almost three percent in June, and we expect that number to keep going higher based on our July transactions.

We are interested to see what the month of August will bring.  Traditionally August is one of the slowest months of the year for new listings and properties going under contract.  However, it wouldn’t be surprising if the normal slow down doesn’t happen this year. Low inventory combined with cancelled vacations because of COVID could lead to a busier than usual August. 

Finally, for a little fun; we have a summer real estate trivia question!  Based on data from REIN (our local MLS), there is a single feature of some homes that is showing an extra 16% rise in sales for homes that have this feature.  What is it?  You can reply back to this email and the first three people with the correct answer will get a prize. 

If you would like to discuss your real estate needs; please email us @ or call us at (757)726-7653 (for Lee) or (757) 434-9084 (for Harry).  We love real estate and are always happy to talk!

Lee and Harry

At the end of March and early April we saw a number of loan programs disappear overnight due to the economic fallout over Covid-19. Thankfully, we have started to see some of these loan programs return. There are Jumbo lenders that have slowly started to return to the market. However, their guidelines have tightened up on credit scores and debt ratios. We also received some good news this week from the Virginia Housing Development Authority, now known as Virginia Housing. They have brought back their reduced down payment Conventional loan. The benefits of this program are a low 3% down payment, a reduced mortgage insurance premium and the possibility of obtaining a 2% grant to be used towards the down payment. 

Interest rates have remained at historic lows making a housing payment more affordable than ever. If you’re interested in finding out how much you would qualify for, or what loan program would be a good fit for you – give us a call. We would be happy to walk you through the process and help identify the best program for you.

Give us a call, or shoot us an email if you’re in the market to purchase a home, or a refinance.Bill Duggan, Sr. Mortgage Banker at  757-615-5172 or email .


Keeping cool when the heat is on can be hard.  So here are a few tips to help you keep your cool inside:

Be reasonable in your expectations: In this region, the summer design temperature for cooling equipment is about 95°. That means when it hits that temperature outside, your AC unit will run full tilt to keep your house cool. Higher outside temps may cause your house to be a little bit warmer than what you’d really prefer. Most AC units can only offer a 20-degree difference from outside to inside.

Do NOT crank the thermostat down: Leave it set where you normally have it. Moving the dial from 76° to 72° will not change the temperature of the air coming out of the registers; it just makes the unit run longer to reach the desired temperature. If your unit is already running full time to keep the house at 76°, moving the dial down will not make the house any cooler.

Make sure the filter is clean: Take a look and change it or clean it if you even THINK it’s dirty. A dirty filter will make your AC unit work harder than it needs to. That costs you extra money and you won’t be as cool.

Close your curtains, shades, or blinds and don’t block vents or returns: Keeping the sunshine out will help keep the rooms as cool as possible. If you don’t like feeling like you are in a cave, then just close them on the east side in the morning and the west side in the afternoon. If you have south-facing windows, you may want to keep them closed all day to keep the heat down in those rooms. The key to comfort is to keep the air flowing. Move furniture around so that you are not blocking any supply or return registers.

Check the outdoor unit: Make sure that air can move freely around your unit.  Be sure it’s free of grass clippings, leaves, pet hair, and other things. Having the unit cover clear allows the air to flow better and the unit to dissipate the heat it is pulling from your house. 

Avoid using your dryer and oven in the hottest hours of the day:  We all can use a break from laundry and cooking chores from time to time.  A dinner of cold salads, sandwiches or take-out might be just the thing.

Now, did someone say ice tea?

The Real Estate Market Isn’t Shut Down

Last month we wrote about the effects of COVID-19 and lower number of homes for sale across Hampton Roads.  You can read it by clicking this link:

The decline in active listings has continued and the median sales price is going up.  Here are the percentages in chart format:

In our view, this is all driven by a lack of supply (homes listed for sale).  After steadily increasing, including double digit percentage gains, the pending sales have reached a breaking point and dropped a little over five percent last month.  This isn’t due to lack of demand; it is due to lack of available homes for sale.  This is especially true for any homes that are listed under $300,000. 

Despite some changes to the local market, Cross Realty is seeing a lot of activity! Lee currently has 11 properties that he is involved with under contract and Harry and the rest of our great agents have many more as well. 

In short, the local real estate market isn’t shut down. If anything, prices may have been driven higher by COVID-19 and we know how to help both buyers and sellers. Of course, each situation is different, and we have found the combination of a lack of supply and COVID has resulted in our advice sometimes looking very different for individual circumstances.  If you would like to discuss your real estate needs, please call us at (757) 726-7653 for Lee or (757) 434-9084 for Harry).  We love real estate and are always happy to talk. 

Lee and Harry

Mortgage Rates Hover Near All-Time Lows – 

Based on Freddie Mac reports, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage inched up recently to an average of 3.26%, but remains near its record low. “Mortgage rates stayed at or near record lows for the fifth straight week and homeowners are taking advantage with refinance activity remaining high,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist.

It’s a great time to purchase with interest rates being near all time lows. Give us a call if you would like to know how much you could qualify for, or how much you could save with a refinance. Give me a call anytime-Bill Duggan, Sr. Mortgage Banker at 757-615-5172 or email 

Let’s Go Camping… At Home!

If you are an outdoor lover and your free time is usually characterized by activities such as hiking and camping, one thing is sure; you’re finding it hard to cope with the current situation.  So, how about turning your backyard into the ultimate campsite for a little family fun!

  • Prepare Your Food and Camping Gear 

You want this to feel like the real camping experience, right? If yes, then you have to prepare for it just like you would for the real camping trip. Pack all your camping essentials such as kitchen camping gear and utensils, insect repellent, sunscreen, toiletries, flashlight, non-perishable food and snacks, pillows, and a sleeping bag and on top of it all, your tent. Or, make one with blankets and sheets. If you have your real gear, it will feel as if you are camping and you’ll not have to keep on running back to the house and ruining the experience.

  •  Prepare Some Dinner 

After setting up the campsite and everything is ready, prepare some dinner for everyone.  Bring out the snacks and sandwiches or fire up the grill.  Once the meal is ready, set up the camp chairs in a circle, pass out the plates, serve, and enjoy.

  • Let The Games Begin

It’s time to play!  Charades is an excellent example of a game that both adults and kids can play. Consider a scavenger hunt, horseshoes, ring toss, corn-hole or even twenty-one questions.  

  • Don’t Forget the Campfire

Camping is never complete without a bonfire or time around the fire-pit. Consider dessert under the stars by lighting a bonfire. You can sit around the fire making s’mores or roasting some marshmallows while discussing your future camping plans. 

While its true our weekend get-away and vacation plans have been disrupted, we can still find a little camping joy… right in our own backyards

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Specializing in properties in South Hampton Roads, Virginia.