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.
Any early "decase of sales" numbers out yet? Anyone want to bet on who will be the biggest loser on the price front this month????
two listings yards away in 22207 ( COUNTRY CLUB, i.e. nowhere near Metro) - the $800K one went under contract today after five days on market... the $1.2M+ one, which was completely renovated, was listed last Sat.$800,000 4/3/1 5592 sf Cape Cod$1,289,000 5/4/1 6349 sf Arts & Crafts (?)Where's the bubble fallout? No Arl is still commanding top dollars... I'm just about to give up and move away...
Hi all, I'm relocating to the DC area and am looking for great discussion like you have here but focused on Bethesda. Any suggestions?thx!
carlos,For sites, no. but some of us live in MD, I live in the south side of Rockville at the moment (or "North Bethesda" as some style it) and I would strongly advise renting right now if you possibly can, because Bethesda is insanely overpriced. (Rockville is coming down out of the stratosphere and is a way better value if you ask me) and both "should" be continuing to fall. Unfortunately rental rates are going up in the areas near metros right now, so it's kind of painful to rent, but it's worse to buy. I can highly recommend my own complex Oxford Square at White Flint, if you're looking for 1-3 bedrooms, "reasonable" prices while still walkable to the Metro (but long enough to be "cheap"). It's only 2 stops to NIH or FDA if that's what you're after.
"Anyone want to bet on who will be the biggest loser on the price front this month????"Im going to go out on a limb and say... Arlington.Before anyone falls over in shock, the reason I say this is because last July Arlington posted a +25% price increase. In reality, there is no way prices were up +25% last July... this was a 1 month spike that was never repeated, so I expect Arlington to give it all back this year, and then some. In a nutshell, this is why I hate tracking median prices. For a period of 3 months, 6 months or especially a year, they have some value. However, as far as a single month goes they are just too volatile.
Carlos - this site below focuses on Baltimore mostly, but I bet they talk more about Bethesda than we do in here in NOVAhttp://www.bubblemore.blogspot.com/Overall, I agree with Cara's sentiment. The pattern we are now seeing in Maryland (rising inventory and rising months of inventory) is all too similar to what we saw in VA at this time last year. If MD is a year behind VA in this crisis, its very possible they will see respectable price drops in the very near future as much of suburban & exurban VA has.As to Bethesda specifically, due to their geographic proximity to DC, age of housing stock, etc. they may behave more like Arlington & Alexandria (i.e. areas that have not had large price declines thus far). That said, Bethesda prices certainly are not going up anytime soon so I see no harm in waiting if you are so inclined. Good luck.
Sorry, but even if I could comfortably afford (PITI < 15% of income) that $1.2mil home, I just could not see me willing to spend that kind of money on a rinky-dink place like that. I don't care where it is -- I've got better things to spend my money on.
"mm said...Where's the bubble fallout? No Arl is still commanding top dollars... I'm just about to give up and move away..."Same here MM. Except that after say another 6 months, I am just going to give up and buy - god I hate renting!People seem to forget that "capitulation" isnt merely the domain of sellers - it can also happen on the buyer side of the transaction you know.
Thx for the suggestions.
Wow that 800k house is all tacky with wood paneling and 70s flowery wallpaper. It needs a 100k renovation and it still sold for a hefty price.
We guessed some time ago that N. Arlington was not going to fall anytime soon. In our opinion the housing crisis/credit crunch has two waves. The first is hitting now, is more focused on subprime and weaker hands which naturally tended to buy further out and had less staying ability. This wave should end sometime next year.The second wave we expect starting the end of 2009 or early 2010 extending through 2012. That will be the Alt-A and Option payment loans which tended to be given to individuals with stronger financial backgrounds and (in our opinion) more likely to buy inside the Beltway.Only time will tell...personally we agree with the poster that if prices stay where they are, there is *no* way we'd buy. We can think of much better things to do with a million dollars than to purchase a wooden box that sits in the rain and rots. :-)
carlos,In addition to my particular complex, there are basically 2-4 apartment complexes within walking distance to every stop on the North-West end of the redline, so shop around and you will find the quality level you're looking for, whatever that may be. Twinbrook station has a number of good places (and my favorite Sushi place Hinode, that I will dearly miss). The downtown Rockville stop is pricier but Rockville town center is pretty cool in a brand-new absurdly planned urban planning kind of way. Cleveland Park in the district is truly really cool if you can swing the rent.
A lot of $$$ has been invested in the Cape Cod too. Take a look at the description and photos. I'm not surprised at the price. Folks, renovation is expensive. The other house isn't under contract yet, so we'll see what happens on that price.
"Joel and Sonia said...The second wave we expect starting the end of 2009 or early 2010 extending through 2012. That will be the Alt-A and Option payment loans which tended to be given to individuals with stronger financial backgrounds and (in our opinion) more likely to buy inside the Beltway."Joel and Sonia - FYI, it looks like the stats do not bear this opinion out. Before the Federal Reserve took away our ability to do a county by county search, this is what we learned regarding the concentration of adjustable (mostly toxic "pick a pay" and "interest only") loans per county:Arl - 1.4% of all homeownersAlex - 1.6% of all homeownersFFX - 2.2% of all homeownersLou - 3.5% of all homeownersPWC - 4.1% of all homeownersIt makes sense if you think about it. As novawatcher so astutely pointed out, the long ago built, long established neighborhoods found close in have a greater mixture of new buyers versus long time homeowners who never got intoxicated by equity extraction and junk loans. Thus, as was the case with the subprime crisis, it looks like we will see the same pattern for this second wave. Certainly, all areas will be hit, but once again, Arlington & Alex will likely do the best and Lou & PWC likely do the worst.
Crt -- thanks for the info. It will be interesting to watch. In any case, if the areas we're interested in don't fall enough, we'll stay where we are (Reston) or move.In any case, we certainly believe this crisis has a ways to go before any kind of bottom is reached. This bubble went beyond any norms and we seem to be writing the playbook as we go!
I agree with most of the comments about N. Arlington and I continue to be NOT surprised that housing values there are holding up just fine. Thank goodness we bought our house in 2001!
Carlos: if it's not too late, I'd suggest not relocating to the DC area.
Also keep in mind that a large percentage of ‘prime’ loans under old vintage (easy) guidelines, although not formally classified as Alt-A, are indeed structured closer to Alt-A than Prime, and will will perform as such in the future. The ratings agencies just have not got that far yet. For example, until only recently, Pay Option ARMs were considered Prime.http://tinyurl.com/5uyzlf
Meredith Whitney is now a cover girl:http://tinyurl.com/6c3zjxVideo:http://tinyurl.com/5j2kqz
Everyone is complaining about inflation, but if there was major inflation (a significant devaluation of the currency), you would want to be in real assets as the depreciating currency gives you nothing to hold but worthless paper. What if you knew your money was going to be worth 75% less one year from now? I would want to put my money in real assets, including real estate.I trust martin weiss over her.real estate still isn't the shiznit to be in yet.
bas: You might also include the very next sentence:The problem we are facing now is that all the inflation we've seen over the past 10 years has been focused one thing - real estate. A majority of the credit (credit too is inflationary) that was extending during that time went to mortgages, thus artificially driving house prices higher. When trust, which is the key component to credit, was broken, the whole thing came crashing down. This had to happen - but it too will adjust.
I have a crush on Meredith Whitney. She married some ex pro-wrestler, lol.
"Tom said...I continue to be NOT surprised that housing values there are holding up just fine."tom, if your definition of 'holding up just fine' is that it is still above 2001 level, then yeah, you will never be surprised."Tom said...Thank goodness we bought our house in 2001!"so you acknowledged the prices have become un-affordable for most people - many who bought before the boom wouldn't be able to buy their own home at today's price/interests rate without the home's equity. wouldn't you say that's why recent monthly sales #s are so low?
zerodown, great work! I'm bookmarking. Thanks.
MM wrote: "so you acknowledged the prices have become un-affordable for most people - many who bought before the boom wouldn't be able to buy their own home at today's price/interests rate without the home's equity."That may be true, MM. Due to such things as Metrorail proximity, traffic nightmares around the Washington region (especially in the outer suburbs), low crime, excellent schools, and good shopping and restaurants, N. Arlington, particularly the much-famed Rosslyn-Ballston corridor, has probably reached a price level that most people can't afford. Nothing "wrong" or unsustainable about that -- Manhattan is unaffordable for most folks too!
Tom,It is a problem when it's the same people over a 12-24 month period who can no longer afford what they just bought. Especially given that official inflation was reportedly so low over that time frame.Over a longer period 5-15 years, sure it's much less of an issue. Demographics have a time to change and perhaps it is only a new class of people that can now afford the area.IMHO, most people are confusing the latter with the former when they point to Manhattan as a justification for high local prices.My $0.02
"tom said...N. Arlington, particularly the much-famed Rosslyn-Ballston corridor, has probably reached a price level that most people can't afford. Nothing "wrong" or unsustainable about that -- Manhattan is unaffordable for most folks too!tom,from my observation the only neighborhood on the 'Rosslyn-Ballston' corridor that hasn't seen price decline is Lyon Village, which has nothing but SFHs. Condos in the R-B corridor are not selling very good at all. Ballston, in particular, has come down quite a bit from the peak. I think the fact that DC condo market is softening has a direct negative impact on the condo market on the R-B corridor, and the furthest area gets hit first. Substitution effect, maybe?But again, your SFH will forever worth more than what you paid.So... cheers!
MM: I understand what you're saying, but even if many neighborhoods in the R-B corridor have softened, I take your point that those neighborhoods are still beyond the reach of most potential homebuyers. My point in my previous post was simply to acknowledge that what you said earlier was probably true, and to try to give some reasons for that.BTW: there are other neighborhoods along the corridor other than Lyon Village that are doing well, such as Waverly Hills. I'm not saying that prices for some individual houses haven't softened (though not by much) -- just that in the current post-bubble situation, these neighborhoods are faring the storm quite well.
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