Continuing to examine and hold a lively discussion of the Northern Virginia Real Estate market.
Please post your local house search updates, MLS finds, off-topic ideas, and links here.
This off topic enough for you:Check out. www.LunchBomb.com I made the video.Any Ron Paul people out there?Frank- Broker FranklyRealty.com
Yes indeed. Ron Paul, one of the few . . . very few politicians, no I'd actually refer to him as a statesman, who knows economics and knows what this country was/is all about.
Good job, Frank.I do like Ron Paul's outspokenness on limited government.I think the base of both sides are somewhat disappointed with their presidential candidates (and half of the democratic side soon will be), so the fun grassroots action is going be on the congressional side.
Harriet: you might not be able to do anything about this, but the "Amazon.com" advertisement on the right side of your blogs home page is killing the reload time on all of my browsers (Firefox, Safari, Camino).There seems to be a huge latency (several seconds) from whoever is serving that ad., and my browsers hang until the ad. is loaded.
I use FF, and use Adblocker... I didn't even know there was an add on this page.
I didn't even know there was an add on this page. I use FF, with addblocker+, and it does a good job of weeding out adds.
More credit tightening..."PMI Group, another high-volume insurer, banned cash-out refinancings, limited documentation loans and all mortgages secured by investment properties in "distressed" markets. In nondistressed areas, cash-out refinancings on second homes and rental houses no longer are eligible for coverage, nor are interest-only loans on investment real estate and all mortgages on properties containing three to four units.PMI also boosted minimum credit score requirements for "jumbo" loans nationwide to a FICO of 700 and now will require at least 10% down payments. The company also ruled out "stated income/stated asset" mortgages on duplex purchases, in which one unit is occupied by the owners and the other is rented out.MGIC, the largest private mortgage insurer, recently eliminated coverage of all "option ARM" loans that have either scheduled or potential negative amortization features that increase borrowers' principal debt rather than reduce it monthly. MGIC's new ban is nationwide. The company also no longer will insure cash-out refinancings using limited documentation, temporary rate buy-downs on investment real estate and nontraditional credit applications to buy second homes."http://tinyurl.com/3zl83rMinimum FICO of 700 with a minimum down-payment of 10%?It was not that long ago that people claimed computer driven "risk models" had all but eliminated risk...Makes me think of a couple of Lance's better predictions..."Large downpayments were a necessity back when lenders had only very incomplete information on the person borrowing from them. You'll note that they NEVER demanded down payments from governments, sovereigns or others whose creditworthiness was beyond reproach. With today's tools downpayments are far less necessary than they were in the past. People's creditworthiness can be established to a far greater degree of certainty than it could even as recently as 5 years ago. AND, as has been the practice for at least 10 years back, the less credit-worthy are charged higher interest rates (actually, MUCH HIGHER interest rates) which in the agregate insure the lender against bad debt. (I.e., Poor credit people are made to carry their own weight.) Many lenders have centered their operations around what is a very high profit business --- lending to borrowers with poor credit. Capital One is a bank that grew from nothing in no short order targetting people with poor credit. Twenty years ago these people would have simply been screened out and denied credit and the rest of us would have been required to put down large down payments and pay extra interest to cover those few credit risks that did slip through the net. Today, the net is so tight, that they can instead be taken out of the general mix and charged enough to cover the extra risks they bring with them ... Lemonade has been made out of lemons! Thus leaving the rest of us with lower interest rates AND the ability to borrow with little or nothing down." -Lance Jan 18 2007"I think you've forgotten that when a borrower gets approved for an ARM, their income and debt-ratios must be such that even under worst case scenarios (i.e., interest rate rises to cap) they are capable of making the payments." -lance Jan 2 2007
I have great admiration for Ron Paul, but I am concerned that his proposals for Iraq are dangerous for our national security. Even so, it is good to see a statesman, as gte said, instead of a politician...guess our country is not up for that yet.(Harriet, I noticed the same thing about the Amazon ad, just so you know...)
OK, I got a login just so I could post.I am contemplating moving to NoVA (currently live in Los Angles) and found this blog.I was born in Fairfax. Used to live in Manassas as a kid. Moved away >25 years ago.One of the listings that hit the front page of this blog was across the street from where I used to live (Alleghany Rd). The foreclosure price is not too much more than my folks got when they sold their house in 1985.What a trip.Anyway, I am thinking about moving back (if I can convince my wife). Arlington is my first choice.Looks like they have not been "clobbered" yet. Anybody have a feel for what is going on? Are houses selling below asking? Do they linger with price reductions? Any idea where the market will be a year form now?
Sidelined, keep reading this blog, you will get a good idea of the answers to your questions. Case-Shiller estimates that the Washington D.C. area has had a peak value decline of 17.5% as of February. But that varies widely by zipcode, Prince William/Manassas is down around 35% while Arlington is down single digits. Most of us here believe that the price drops in the inner counties and D.C. will eventually approach that of the outer counties like PW and Loudoun, but it hasn't happened yet.
Update:Well we have a ratified contract now on our CountryWide REO home. Our sales price is $470k with seller providing $13,500 in closing cost, net of $456,500. LO6629002DOM = 282Property history:Auction - back to CountryWideDecember 27, 2007Sales Price $574kSaleAugust 16, 2006 Sales Price $690kFrom builderDecember 11, 2003Sales Price $459I think we got a good deal in the house. We are going to put in about $30k in repairs/upgrades by adding a deck, some hardwood floors/steps, replacing the appliances and kitchen floor, paint and sheetrock repair.Any suggestions on getting the tax assesment adjusted down? haNow the fun begins....
"Most of us here believe that the price drops in the inner counties and D.C. will eventually approach that of the outer counties like PW and Loudoun, but it hasn't happened yet."I dont know if "most" is correct, but certainly a sizeable percentage believe the "big drops" will move in. The more time goes by however without this happening, I think more people are moving into the "yes price drops but less severe" camp. No matter what however, I dont think there is anyone here who really honestly believes prices will rise soon. If I were moving into the area, I would absolutely rent for the next year to see how things do shake out.
Mark,Most excellent! You paid less than the 2003 price, and about what you would have paid for a townhouse in 2005. Aren't you glad you waited?It sounds like Countrywide was very flexible on the price.
Rude awakening coming!http://www.redfin.com/VA/ALEXANDRIA/4551-STRUTFIELD-Ln-22311/unit-4301/home/11877792sq ft appears to be wrong, it's really 878http://realestate.alexandriava.gov/detail.php?accountno=50706150I would hope to find gold trim lined through the entire apartment at that asking price.That's $432 sq ft!!! That's gotta be an asking record for this year in that area.
How the Housing Bust Is Boosting NewspapersMay 05, 2008 05:28 PM ET | Luke Mullins |As the newspaper industry—and print media in general—struggle to survive in the age of digital news, the business has found an unlikely ally: the nation's gravest housing crisis in recent memory.While newspaper executives have for years complained that online resources—like Craigslist—are cutting deep into their classified advertisement revenue, the foreclosure crisis has created a much-needed revenue stream for at least one struggling newspaper.From the Washington City Paper:Foreclosure notices are filling in where condo sales and auto deals once held sway. "There are definitely more than we've ever seen," says Ginger Stanley, executive director of the Virginia Press Association. "I've been in the business 30 years." Here's what Stanley's talking about: On March 13, the Washington Post's classifieds section totaled 22 pages, approximately 14 of which were devoted to what are technically known as "trustee's sales."It turns out that local governments require foreclosure sale notices to be placed in "local newspapers with broad distribution." Listings on Craigslist do not satisfy those requirements, the City Paper reports.Unfortunately, perhaps, for newspapers, the housing crisis will eventually come to an end, but the competitive pressures that are killing their profit margins will remain.http://www.usnews.com/blogs/the-home-front/2008/05/05/how-the-housing-bust-is-boosting-newspapers.html
Sidelined, when it comes to Arlington, you'll find that the simple statement "price reductions in Arlington have been in the single digits" quite misleading. Reductions in North Arlington are minimal, if at all. And when it comes to a crucial discriminator of pricing -- whether or not a home is within walking distance of a Metrorail station -- you'll find that the vast majority of homes that are within walking distance have not only suffered no price drops, but many actually increased in price last year. Proximity to Metrorail is an obvious indicator of the continuing traffic jams that make so many people's commute a daily nightmare -- and the premium people will pay to escape that.
mark - i hope that blue basement looks better in person!I'd definiitely be repalcing that blue ..cuz that photo doesn't help it!
We now have a ratified contract on a house in Loudon that is 28% off its new purchase price 2 years ago (1.1m to 800k). Housing market is great if you are moving in, bad if you are already here.
Sidelined, with all due respect, while Tom may have some anecdotes to support his points, I'm not sure that we have the data really needed to show whether he's right. Check out the NVAR reports for as many months back as you want (the most recent was March 2008). There have been relatively few SFH sales in higher price ranges in Arlington this year (near metro SFH prices are relatively high). For example, currently there are 10 months of inventory - or more - of homes >$1 million, for example. In this price range only 4 SFHs sold in Feb. 08 and only 10 sold in March 08, in all of Arlington. I didn't calculate the #s for the lower price ranges - they look a bit better - but you can check whatever interests you. There are many higher end homes that have been on the market for months with no price reductions or in some cases, significant drops from asking prices, which are in many cases set far above Arlington County assessed values. What will be the eventual selling prices of these homes, if they do sell? The fact that they are lingering suggests that the prices will probably drop. Once we know that (and have enough data to break it down by at least zip code, and possibly by neighborhood) and how these sales compare with 2007 or prior periods, then we'll know whether prices have been dropping, and if so, by how much, YOY.
Sidelined,Here are some useful sites:This site shows you an overlay of zipcodes on a google map. http://www.usnaviguide.com/zip.htmType in 22201 as a good starting point. 22201 includes Ballston, VA Square, Clarendon, and Courthouse metros. Towards DC, that runs into 22209 that includes the Rosslyn stop. That's the heart of the walkable orange line corridor. If you go west instead you hit 22205 which is much more residential though still walkable to East Falls Church metro. After EFC I'd say you're in suburbia as far as a person concerned with walkable urban experience is concerned. The next site is MRIS zip code stats:http://www.mris.com/reports/stats/zip_stats.cfmAs you can see if you plug in 22209, 22201, 22205, or 22213, just about all of the sales stats are down YOY. 1-2% on average and 9-11% for the median.Hope this helps in your search.My $0.02
Thanks for the inputs. For Tom, yes I've looked at the asking prices for quite a few houses. Also at sales history (which really points to how overpriced things are) and time on market. No way Arlington dodges the bullet. That's what is killing prices in every other market.Thanks for the map, two cents.
Bas - Ha, the kids call it the basement with the swimming pool! Oh well...that can easily be fixed. Granted it was a good price, as I said, its going to take about $30k to repair/fix/decorate/clean.Harriet - we moved here last year (NOVA) (from southwest Virgina where the same price home would buy a McMansion), and rented, so that we could make sure we landed in the right place and noticed the housing pricing turmoil, yes we are glad we waited. Considering we bought it less than the builder sold it for, seems fine with me! In regards to CountryWide, yes they came down a lot, but, it needs work and was listed for quite a while. They were not easy to work with, but, we held steadfast.
All: I live in 22205 and it's a 10 minute walk to Ballston Metro in flats; 15 in heals. Sidelined; i do recommend renting before buying because the market here in Arlington is interesting. We purchased recently and it was 28% off original list; 7% off list when we purchased with 7K closing cost help in addition. However, we had 5 offers rejected without counter as we were making low offers...the seller lived here 30 years so had wiggle-room and that is not always the case.
Thanks for the input, Amy. The job that I am looking at opens up next June (more than a year from now), there will some more price reductions before then. Renting would have to depend on my wife, I am renting now and she is tired of it. Purchasing would probably be one of her conditions for relocating. Such is life.The other benefit to renting is that you get to know an area. Would probably have to simply do more research.I see that there are a very large amount of parks in Arlington. My family enjoys taking nature walks. Are there any parks that would be particuliarly nice to live next to? What about the Potomac? From satellite pictures it appears that there are trails along it. Is it easy and safe to get over there and walk?You will have to forgive my ignorance. In Los Angeles there are many places you simply cannot access easily due to roads or bad neighborhoods.
sidelined: biking is the easiest way to get around on the bike path!I bike a lot on the trails.Google up W&OD Trail, Custis Trail, Mt. Vernon Trail.
sidelined,As far as neighborhoods near trails in arlington, I'd say the WO&D train is a nice bike/walk/jog trail that has some nice neighborhoods next to or near it.WO&D is a converted railroad roadbed, so it's mostly straight, fairly flat (gradually uphill going west), and goes on forever into the rural areas.I've biked it quite a bit starting in downtown DC--connecting from the Custis Trail which starts at the bridge that connects Rosslyn with Georgetown (Key Bridge).There's lots of such trails around here--Four Mile Run, Mt Vernon, Custis, Crescent Trail, and a couple of others I can't think of right now.Also, when you get here, get a copy of "Country Walks Near Washington DC", which has a blue/green hued photo on the cover. It has details (location, hours, maps, but also history and ecology) for something like 40 quite pretty lakeside, riverside, and mountainside walks (NOT super-strenuous hikes) that are very pretty and refreshing and many are a surprisingly short drive from wherever you'll be living. (Most wouldn't be right in your neighborhood, though.) I've been in DC about 13 years and haven't made it to all the sites yet, but some of my favorites are Scott's Run, Sugarloaf Mountain, Burke Lake, Fort Washington, Paw Paw Tunnel, and Harper's Ferry. (These last two are more of a long drive away.)My first copy of this book, which I plumb wore out, was a treasured gift from a friend early upon my move here. I hope you enjoy it too!
Sidelined: One reason that we purchased in a declining mkt is that I was tired of renting and wanted that nest in case some stork came by so i totally appreciate your comment. Also, my husband bikes to downtown (7th and H or something) in 40 minutes from our house on the WO&D. My walk to metro starts on the WO&D I concur with those comments right above!
Sidelined,I would say Bluemont Park in 22205 is one of the nicer parks around. Also, the W&OD trail hits several parks in the area. Google either and you'll get plenty of information. I like Bluemont because there are several soccer/football fields as well as softball diamonds. There are also tennis courts and, if you're so inclined, there's a putt-putt and batting cage just up the hill from the park.My $0.02
What about the 22207 zipcode area? Any comments about that? Looking at Redfin, the houses look pretty nice (although expensive).
Sidelined,As you note, "No way Arlington dodges the bullet." I agree. When looked at as a single county, Arlington has suffered a general price decline, though it's quite small and is the smallest in Northern Virginia.What I was talking about was the distinct subset of SFHs in the northern part of the county (significantly more desirable than South Arlington) within walking distance of Metrorail. Most of the SFHs in the county don't fit that description.When you look just at that subset, you get a very different picture than the county as a whole. Those SFHs are doing quite well.
I jog through Bluemont Park 2x weekly. Great place. 22205 rocks! :)
Tom, just takes longer. The same thing is happening in Los Angeles. Some people don't want to believe that it can happen.However, the average house in the neighborhood that I live in is selling for ~7% below asking price. And that is well below last years median.Realtor's are still denying that prices are dropping, but it is pretty clear that they are.It is true that the most desirable areas seem to drop last, but drop they will.I am seeing houses sell for up to 20% below asking price....just because sellers are holding out, doesn't mean that they will last. Particuliarly with volume dropping.
I should add that I live in Manhattan Beach, which is pretty desirable.Prices here only go up....except for when they stop and start going down.
sidelined,I agree with the view that it just takes more time. If Manhattan, NY or Manhattan Beach, CA are not immune, Arlington is not either.As an aside, my friend moved to Oakton, CA from Arlington a couple of years ago and said he enjoys life more there. I am curious to know how you personally would rate the quality of life here compared to LA or other desirable places in CA. Thanks.
Sorry, I meant Oakland, CA not Oakton.
Your friend is in the bay area, which I think is generally better than LA area. I've heard that Oakland is not that great, but I've never been there.I am originally from VA. Born in Fairfax. Lived in other parts of VA as well. I've been in CA for 12 years.
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