Connect with us

Real Estate

State of the Market: 2023 Forecasts higher prices, steady sales in Northern Shenandoah Valley



There is a lot of speculation around the real estate market in today’s society. Everyone with access to television or an internet connection is exposed to some kind of information about real estate. It’s all different, some good and some bad, but there is one common theme: regardless of the source or quality of the information, it all gets treated like gospel. Opinions aside, the simplest (and most reliable) way to settle the debate is to look at the numbers.

The Northern Shenandoah Valley comprises five counties and one city: Clarke, Frederick, Page, Shenandoah, Warren, and Winchester. All the data in this article is from public records from the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). The MLS is a database that real estate brokerages use to “host” their listings so that everyone can view them from one centralized location. When you look at real estate listings online, for example, you’re most likely viewing data that has been uploaded to the MLS. In order to understand what the future holds, it’s important to look at what’s already happened in the past. For that reason, I went back and looked at all the numbers from our region since 2019. There has undeniably been a rise and fall of total home sales in that time:


Number of Sales 2019 2020 2021 2022
Clarke 207 269 283 205
Frederick 1698 1922 1888 1450
Page 195 236 271 262
Shenandoah 716 845 801 750
Warren 764 890 919 688
Winchester 332 400 403 299

This can be attributed to a number of factors, including the push for homeownership in the “stay at home” phase of the COVID-19 pandemic and the slowdown from the recent increase in mortgage rates. Throughout this time, however, there has been another constant. Average prices have gone up – year over year – in every locality:

Avg. Sale Price 2019 2020 2021 2022
Clarke $391,000 $454,000 $494,000 $629,000
Frederick $291,000 $318,000 $370,000 $416,000
Page $203,000 $236,000 $268,000 $295,000
Shenandoah $215,000 $235,000 $278,000 $299,000
Warren $253,000 $294,000 $352,000 $368,000
Winchester $252,000 $300,000 $324,000 $364,000

It’s important to remember that another factor that could explain the lower number of total sales is less inventory on the market. Basically, the demand for housing is eating through all the houses available for sale. Increasing prices have clearly not scared buyers away, as the average Days on the Market has reduced drastically over the last four years:

Days on Market 2019 2020 2021 2022
Clarke 51 54 25 22
Frederick 46 39 16 23
Page 99 79 34 30
Shenandoah 78 54 25 23
Warren 56 39 24 27
Winchester 49 41 18 20


Simply put, while there may be fewer transactions taking place right now, they’re happening for more money in less time. So, what’s the cause of this stability in our real estate market? The answer is complex as there are several factors at play. The most significant factor is the continued growth of Washington, D.C., and Northern Virginia pushing out to the west. Along with that growth comes an increase in many different industries, with government; technology; manufacturing; and logistics being key contributors. As we continue to see the development of industries throughout the region, along with that will come more population growth and, inevitably, more activity in the housing market. According to Old Dominion University’s State of the Commonwealth Report for 2021, the Winchester region was the fastest-growing region in all of Virginia. In 2022, the Winchester region remained insulated from much of the economic woes experienced in other parts of the Commonwealth.

Some financial experts expect mortgage interest rates could continue to drop from the rate hikes we saw in the Fall of 2022. When rates drop, historically speaking, housing prices continue to rise. Spring Market (often the busiest time of year in real estate) is just around the corner, which means buyers will be positioned in the perfect place to achieve their goals in the real estate market – whether that might be to buy their first home, sell their current home to upgrade or downsize, or even take a chance on an investment property. No matter the desired outcome, the time to start preparing to buy is now, because the stars are aligned for another steady year in the real estate market for the Northern Shenandoah Valley.


Paul Bernd is a local REALTOR® from ERA Valley Realty in Woodstock, Virginia. If you have any questions about the real estate market, you can find him on social media @paulberndrealtor, call him at (540) 481-4825, or visit his website at

Share the News:

Real Estate

Ask the expert: What is a mortgage rate lock?



A mortgage rate lock freezes your interest rate after your loan is approved until the loan is closed.

Rate locks can be useful in times of rising interest rates. If interest rates rise, you are protected at a lower rate.

Of course, every single month, interest rates ping-pong up and down somewhat, but if you are afraid mortgage rates will jump in the period between your loan approval and closing, a rate lock could at least give you peace of mind. Some lenders offer them, and others don’t.

Rate locks are not free — even if you aren’t directly charged for them. Some lenders might offer a free rate lock, but the cost is mixed into your rate.

Direct fees for rate locks vary quite a bit. Some lenders will calculate the charge based on basis points, and the lock is only good for a certain amount of time. For example, a rate lock fee of $500 would not be unusual for a $200,000 loan.

Rate locks can span periods of 30 to 60 days for conventional mortgages. If you pay for one, promptly answer requests for information. You don’t want any delays in processing or underwriting.

One warning: Ensure the information on your application is correct and your financial position doesn’t change. If your credit score drops or you lose your job or income, your rate lock could be voided. Also, if you change your mind about the terms of the loan (length of time or type of mortgage), the lock could be voided.

Share the News:

Continue Reading

Real Estate

Virginia home prices climb despite slowing sales



According to the February 2023 Virginia Home Sales Report released by Virginia REALTORS®, there were 6,505 home sales across Virginia in February. This is a 20.3% reduction compared to February 2022, or 1,655 fewer sales. This marks the fifteenth consecutive month ending with a decrease in sales activity in the state’s housing market, as interest rates have more than doubled during this period.

Even with the slowdown in sales activity, home prices continue to trend up in many parts of the state, a reflection of the tight inventory conditions that persist in most areas. At $370,000, the statewide median sales price rose 5.7% from this time last year, a $20,000 price jump.

The statewide average days on market in February was 38 days, eight days longer than a year ago. In addition to homes staying on the market longer, Virginia’s sellers, on average, are getting slightly less than their asking price. “This is some good news for buyers that are active in the market,” says Virginia REALTORS® 2023 President Katrina M. Smith. “Nearly all of Virginia’s markets have more active listings available than they did one year ago.”

At the end of February, there were 14,558 active listings on the market statewide, 2,416 more listings than last year. “Active listings are building up, but keep in mind that it’s not from new listings, which remain down,” says Virginia REALTORS® Chief Economist Ryan Price. “February saw a 22% reduction in new listings since the same time last year, reflecting hesitation from sellers.”

Following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank and the subsequent drop in mortgage rates, it’s possible there could be an influx of buyers who might have pushed pause when rates were trending up. “The recent events in the banking sector continue to resonate across the nation’s economy,” says Virginia REALTORS® CEO Terrie Suit. “If mortgage rates continue to drop, it could induce activity in what has been a slowing housing market.”

While this could provide a boost heading into the spring market, overall sentiment for buyers remains low.

The Virginia Home Sales Report is published by Virginia REALTORS®Click here to view the full February 2023 Virginia Home Sales Report.

Share the News:

Continue Reading

Real Estate

Should you remodel the house or tear it down?



Sometimes it pays to raze a house and build a new one.

Is your house 80 or 100 years old and seriously damaged, but in a location you love? You might be better off knocking it down instead of trying to remodel or buying a house somewhere else.

Tearing down a house is a good idea when:

  • The house has rotted beams and antiquated wiring or plumbing.
  • The foundation is faulty.
  • A renovation that solves all of its problems would be too expensive.
  • The house is on a large or attractive lot, and you like the location. Sometimes the land alone would be more valuable than the house on the land.
  • The house has structural problems and is less valuable than others in the neighborhood.

Tearing down is a bad idea when:

  • The house has historical value or features that would be difficult to re-create.
  • You can get the updates you want with a modest renovation.
  • If you aren’t sure, you will stay long enough to justify the effort and expense of a teardown.

If you decide on the renovation:

  • Never start a renovation yourself if you don’t already possess the skills and time to finish it.
  • Never count on an interested party to help you with renovations.
  • Plan for at least three to four months in renovation mode for a room.
  • For whole house projects, plan to live somewhere else.
  • Reserve at least 20 percent over your budget for unexpected problems.
  • Leave serious structural issues to a professional.
Share the News:

Continue Reading

Real Estate

Price it right to sell your home in a brisk spring market



A new job, a new baby, retirement, or maybe just a taste for change. You want more space, less space, new space — whatever the reason, you just want to sell.

There are plenty of buyers even in this market since mortgage rates have dipped and slightly more houses are available nationwide.

So one of the key questions is how to price your house.

Your real estate agent will look at comparable properties and show you the sale prices, but there is always some strategy in pricing a property, depending on the market and even the reasons for selling.

If you need to sell your home quickly, pricing the property at market value or below can attract buyers and lead to a fast sale. A modest price could also attract multiple bids if there are not a lot of comparable houses in the area and potentially net a higher price than you ask. On the other hand, if there are lots of similar homes on the market, you will probably not get more than your asking price since buyers won’t get into a bidding war.

Pricing at or below the market can also be a good strategy if you don’t want to do any renovation. You may attract buyers who want a deal to put some sweat equity into their new home.

You don’t want to price the home so low that buyers think there is something wrong with it.

Now there is a time to list a house above market value. That time is when there aren’t many comparable houses selling in the area. Another reason to go higher in price is when the house you are selling is in particular demand, maybe because of its location in a great school district or waterfront property. But in general, you don’t want your price to be higher than comparable homes.

No matter how you price your home, you can get the best price by following traditional rules for sellers. Cleanup, declutter, and paint. Give your home its best look and increase your chances of getting the best price.

Share the News:

Continue Reading

Real Estate

Slow start to the year for Virginia’s housing market 



According to the January 2023 Virginia Home Sales Report released by Virginia REALTORS®, 5,609 homes were sold across the state in January, more than a 30% decline from January 2022. This marks the slowest January market the state has seen in eight years.

As sales activity has cooled, so has the sold dollar volume. There was approximately $2.4 billion of sold volume in Virginia in January, which is about $1 billion less volume than a year ago, a 28.5% decline.

In Virginia, the average days on market has been slowing since last summer. “This cooling has been a result of rising interest rates coupled with rising home prices and a lack of homes available on the market. This has led to more potential buyers choosing to sit on the sidelines,” says Virginia REALTORS® Chief Economist Ryan Price. In January, the average days on market statewide was 39 days, a full week longer than January 2022.

With homes remaining on the market longer, Virginia’s supply of homes continues to increase for the fourth month in a row; however, the overall inventory remains low compared to historical averages. At the end of January 2023, about three out of every four cities and counties Virginia had more active listings than the same time last year. The sharpest increases in listings occurred in parts of Northern Virginia, the Charlottesville region, and the Northern Neck market.

Though still considered a “seller’s market” due to the low inventory, the state’s overall market dynamics continue to shift in favor of buyers. “On average, we’re seeing fewer offers coming in, and there is less of a scramble to outbid other buyers,” says Virginia REALTORS® 2023 President Katrina M. Smith. “We are also seeing fewer sellers receiving their full asking price.” These trends are expected to continue in the coming months as the market responds to economic uncertainty and the volatile interest rate environment.

The Virginia Home Sales Report is published by Virginia REALTORS®Click here to view the full January 2023 Virginia Home Sales Report.

Share the News:

Continue Reading

Real Estate

Instead of going up, mansions go down



Down is the new up when it comes to luxury homes. Or at least that’s what architect Randy Correll said in a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal. Instead of expanding their homes’ footprints or building new floors — sometimes prohibited by local zoning codes or historical designations — wealthy homeowners are building huge basements with amenities that most homeowners can’t even fathom (pun intended).

These aren’t your youth’s musty unfinished basements or dated rumpus rooms. Luxury basements occupy thousands of square feet, sometimes across multiple levels.

Natural light warms the spaces through skylights and staircases, and high-tech engineering keeps Mother Nature out.

When former Dallas Mavericks owner David McDavid and his wife Stacie purchased a 9,000-square-foot Aspen estate, they dug into the mountainside to add a 4,000-square-foot basement at their daughter’s insistence. The new subterranean space has multiple guest suites, a gym, and a vast hot tub and steam room.

On the island of Nantucket, where house footprints are often strictly regulated, another homeowner is constructing a 16,000 square-foot home with an extra 5,600 square feet underneath for a bowling alley, 3-D golf simulator, and spa. Not to be outdone, another new Nantucket build will be a modest 5,000 square feet on the surface, but with 10,000 square feet below to house a basketball court, garage, additional bedrooms, and a bespoke “wellness space.”

And in Beverly Hills, a $500 million mega-mansion boasts about 105,000 total square feet — about half of it below ground.

But while homeowners might love their underground mansions, not everyone feels the same way. Massive basements require noisy, dirty, and prolonged construction, and the neighbors will certainly complain. After a local outcry, the city of Aspen recently limited basements to a paltry single level. And Beverly Hills may never see a 50,000-square-foot basement again — property owners in the Hillside area now need special permits to remove more than 3,000 cubic yards of earth.

Share the News:

Continue Reading


Thank You to our Local Business Participants:


Aders Insurance Agency, Inc (State Farm)

Aire Serv Heating and Air Conditioning

Apple Dumpling Learning Center

Apple House

Auto Care Clinic

Avery-Hess Realty, Marilyn King

Beaver Tree Services

Blake and Co. Hair Spa

Blue Ridge Arts Council

Blue Ridge Education

BNI Shenandoah Valley

C&C's Ice Cream Shop

Card My Yard

CBM Mortgage, Michelle Napier

Christine Binnix - McEnearney Associates

Code Ninjas Front Royal

Cool Techs Heating and Air

Down Home Comfort Bakery

Downtown Market

Dusty's Country Store

Edward Jones-Bret Hrbek

Explore Art & Clay

Family Preservation Services

First Baptist Church

Front Royal Independent Business Alliance

First Baptist Church

Front Royal Women's Resource Center

Front Royal-Warren County Chamber of Commerce

Fussell Florist

G&M Auto Sales Inc

Garcia & Gavino Family Bakery

Gourmet Delights Gifts & Framing

Green to Ground Electrical

Groups Recover Together

Habitat for Humanity

Groups Recover Together

House of Hope

I Want Candy

I'm Just Me Movement

Jen Avery, REALTOR & Jenspiration, LLC

Key Move Properties, LLC

KW Solutions

Legal Services Plans of Northern Shenendoah

Main Street Travel

Makeover Marketing Systems

Marlow Automotive Group

Mary Carnahan Graphic Design

Merchants on Main Street

Mountain Trails

Mountain View Music

National Media Services

Natural Results Chiropractic Clinic

No Doubt Accounting

Northwestern Community Services Board

Ole Timers Antiques

Penny Lane Hair Co.

Philip Vaught Real Estate Management

Phoenix Project

Reaching Out Now

Rotary Club of Warren County

Royal Blends Nutrition

Royal Cinemas

Royal Examiner

Royal Family Bowling Center

Royal Oak Bookshop

Royal Oak Computers

Royal Oak Bookshop

Royal Spice

Ruby Yoga

Salvation Army

Samuels Public Library

SaVida Health

Skyline Insurance

Shenandoah Shores Management Group

St. Luke Community Clinic

Strites Doughnuts

Studio Verde

The Institute for Association & Nonprofit Research

The Studio-A Place for Learning

The Valley Today - The River 95.3

The Vine and Leaf

Valley Chorale

Warren Charge (Bennett's Chapel, Limeton, Asbury)

Warren Coalition

Warren County Democratic Committee

Warren County Department of Social Services

Warren County DSS Job Development

Warrior Psychotherapy Services, PLLC

WCPS Work-Based Learning

What Matters & Beth Medved Waller, Inc Real Estate

White Picket Fence

Woodward House on Manor Grade

King Cartoons

Front Royal
Showers in the Vicinity
7:05 am7:31 pm EDT
Feels like: 64°F
Wind: 6mph N
Humidity: 65%
Pressure: 29.79"Hg
UV index: 1

Upcoming Events

11:00 am National Vietnam Veterans Day @ National Cemetery
National Vietnam Veterans Day @ National Cemetery
Mar 29 @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm
National Vietnam Veterans Day @ National Cemetery
This event will be held 11:00, National Cemetery, Winchester, Virginia.  It is to honor Vietnam Era Veterans for their service to the country.  It is being conducted by the American Red Cross and the Colonel[...]
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Mar 29 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
5:00 pm No Foolin’ Warren County Rocks @ First Baptist Church Fellowship Hall
No Foolin’ Warren County Rocks @ First Baptist Church Fellowship Hall
Mar 31 @ 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
No Foolin' Warren County Rocks @ First Baptist Church Fellowship Hall
Warren Coalition’s No Foolin’ Warren County Rocks includes a team Scavenger Hunt for prizes! Top teams in each category will receive $25 gift cards for each team member, and the overall championship team will receive[...]
9:00 am Breakfast with the Easter Bunny @ Living Water Christian Church
Breakfast with the Easter Bunny @ Living Water Christian Church
Apr 1 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Breakfast with the Easter Bunny @ Living Water Christian Church
Living Water Christian Church will once again be hosting our Pancake Breakfast with the Easter Bunny on April 1, 2023, from 9am – 12pm. Come on out and enjoy a great breakfast, pictures with the[...]
12:00 pm Settle’s Kettle @ Sky Meadows State Park
Settle’s Kettle @ Sky Meadows State Park
Apr 1 @ 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Settle's Kettle @ Sky Meadows State Park
Log Cabin in the Historic Area. Follow your nose to the Log Cabin to see what is cooking on the hearth. Immerse yourself within the 19th century enslaved culture and its foods. Explore the taste[...]
12:00 pm The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
Apr 1 @ 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm
The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. The forge is fired up and the blacksmiths are hard at work showing off their skills. Members of The Blacksmiths’ Guild of the Potomac have set up shop in the forge, located behind[...]
1:00 pm Front Royal Bluegrass Music Jam @ The Body Shop
Front Royal Bluegrass Music Jam @ The Body Shop
Apr 1 @ 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Front Royal Bluegrass Music Jam @ The Body Shop
New Bluegrass and traditional music jam the first Saturday of each month starting Feb. 4th, from 1pm till 4pm. All levels of playing invited to attend.
2:00 pm Community Easter Egg Hunt @ Fantasyland
Community Easter Egg Hunt @ Fantasyland
Apr 1 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Community Easter Egg Hunt @ Fantasyland
Pre-Registration begins March 15th! Provide Name, Age, Child/Pup, Email and Phone in one of three ways: FACEBOOK MESSAGE Email Sheree Jennings at OR call the office at 540-635-2825
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Apr 5 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
10:00 am Patriot’s Day @ Warren Heritage Society
Patriot’s Day @ Warren Heritage Society
Apr 8 @ 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Patriot's Day @ Warren Heritage Society
Join the fun with reenactors, a blacksmith, the outdoor kitchen, our smokehouse, and tours all day of Balthis House. Sons of the American Revolution will fire muskets at 3 pm. Free event for all ages![...]