Continuing to examine and hold a lively discussion of the Northern Virginia Real Estate market.
Please post your local house search updates, MLS finds, on-topic ideas, and links here.
WMATA gets a nod in this article. Tangential to the housing bubble, I realize...http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25010939/
WMATA is on my s-list. I purchased in walking distance of UNDERGROUND orange because I thought it would be plague-free (as I was a shady-grove commuter for awhile and had some weather problems)...and the last few weeks have offered up some weird commutes...Harriet/Lance, I fully believe you are different people and I loved the "no ethnic food for miles around" line...very funny.
Condo Killer - I try to check out the recently-listed stuff in Alexandria City online to see what's come on the market, and to try and play the quick -judgement game of what looks priced to sell, and what looks priced to sit.This came up fairly recently - and it struck me as one of the first nice looking sub-400k non-condo's I've seen that didn't have a significant drawback, such as being right on Rt. 1, or in a still-tough neighborhood, or in poor repair: 27 MT VERNON AVEALEXANDRIA, VA 22301-2321Price: $389,000MLS#: AX6778607Property Type: TownhomeBedrooms: 2Bathrooms: 1½ Baths: 0Year Built: 1950This is in a modest, quiet block in Rosemont within easy walking distance of King St. Metro. Looks like it's in good shape, brick construction. Downsides would be that it's a smallish place (952 sq ft), it's on an out-of-the-way cul-de-sac (which is an advantage to some folks) and you probably get some train noise from the nearby CSX tracks.Still - I look at a place like this, with no HOA, near metro, plenty of parking available in a nice part of town, and I see a listing that should just crush every 450k+ 2 bdr condo (or every 350k+ 1 br condo) going up in Old Town.There's some neat, modest little townhouses back there, and along commonwealth ave - and if more decent looking ones start to creep below 400k (or if modest Del Ray bungalows ever creep back towards that number), then the 400k+ Old Town condos look worse every day.And - these are even approaching the parity with renting a 2 bdr apartment, if you put down a solid downpayment.This place was bought for 410k in late 2004 - so they're taking a pretty good haircut on it.
zeropoint:That place in 22301 looks like a good deal, particularly because it's in the Maury Elementary district. It's right on the rail tracks, however, which includes freight trains, Amtrak, VRE, and Metro Blue and Yellow lines. I live about a mile from there, and I can hear the trains every morning. Thus, the low price.
T-X - yeah, it's definitely the combo of small square footage + proximity to train noise that's keeping it in the sub-400k range .... but still seems like a nice price compared to the recently-built condos of Old Town.You might note the train noise while you first saw the house, or on a subsequent visit -- but I'll be the first few nights of getting awakened by it would take some getting used to.
zeropointzero-- This may have been one of the similar townhomes we looked at in 2000 when we bought ours. They were all in the $120-150,000 range back then. We sold in 2005 for just under $400,000, and these townhomes have been hanging around that range ever since. Mostly they go for somewhere close to $390,000. Note that they usually have tiny kitchens. On the other hand, they usually also have full, walkout basements. There are a bunch of completely renovated 1 & 2 bedrooms condos in this zip as well going for around $270,000 and $370,000. In my opinion the condos in the area are going to start falling first. All of the speculation I know of personally was going on with condos, and that's where I believe most of the 'funny financing' was as well. Once that starts, people will begin to discover anew all the problems with condos-- the maintenance headaches in buildings with a high percentage of rentals, the reluctance of banks to lend for purchase in those buildings, the problem of condo fees getting divided amongst a smaller number of tenants when units are vacant, etc.Once you start to get some real bargains in condos, that will put pressure on prices for the next level up-- the townhomes. But, of course, it all depends on the number of recent, 'creative' loans in an area, combined with the levels of second mortgages and HELOC activity. Unfortunately I don't know any way to track that by zip. As I saw with Twinbrook, however, once the foreclosures start the price drops are sudden and dramatic.
27 MT VERNON AVE---If this is the same condo that was mentioned on this blog or another that was up for a unique weekend open-bid AUCTION a few weeks ago---Well, we went by that weekend to see what the auction deal was about, and trust me, the place we saw WILL NOT compete with any 450K places for anyone who's actually out looking and not just surfing the MLS.This place was RIGHT UNDER the tracks, had a redone kitchen but nothing REAL special, and had that built-in-1950, gazillion coats of paint, no outlets, no sunny windows, every-room-small sort of look and feel.And metro walking distance is nice, and this neighborhood seemed okay in the daytime, but I don't know as I'd want to live on this side of the King St metro if I was using the metro at night, which I do some.I could go on but I mostly forgot about the place as soon as I had seen it. Although, I've been wondering what happened in the auction--if it's the same place then I guess I have my answer.If it's not the same place, well it sure sounds like it's another of the same cookie-cutter places in that neighborhood.
Scott said..."trust me, the place we saw WILL NOT compete with any 450K places for anyone who's actually out looking and not just surfing the MLS."Scott - if you are talking about the place the lady was trying to sell on craigs list via open auction (starting bid 199K) - its not the same house but its in the same neighborhood. My BIL went to look at that place too and he said the same thing - no way it was worth 450K. I do think it sold, but I dont know the price. I think she got bids over 300K but dont know how much over. This place has a yard that looks to be twice as big so it is certainly worth more than that other place. Still as you noted and as my BIL said, it just isnt worth 450K.
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