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.
Interesting chart in the washington times (click the link in this article).http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/oct/24/charting-the-market-good-days-on-horizon/Jurisdiction wise, MD is clearly looking weaker than VA at this point both in terms of sales chances (another way of stating months of inventory) and days on market. It also shows that in terms of days on market, PWC still has a lot more sellers in denial than surrounding jurisdictions. This despite the fact that it has the greatest sales chances of any jurisdicion out there.To me this confirms what Xpovos and a few others have been saying. The stats say things are moving quickly out there, but my guess is its foreclosures coming on and moving out nearly as fast. Meanwhile houses that those "on the ground" are looking at continue to stagnate.
If it's a foreclosure it can move pretty well. If it's a private owner, there's typically shock and disbelief, though there are some of those moving as well.The real problem remains short sales. They just don't happen. I see the gov't is planning to do $300B worth of loan modifications, my guess is this will result in the exact same thing. I guess if the loss is already on the books, they don't mind taking the bigger loss, but they are fighting hard to keep those losses from getting bigger, even when it means cutting off their own noses.
Amazing, DC is considered the 3rd best real estate investment in the country:http://www.forbes.com/2008/10/29/foreclosure-recession-cities-forbeslife-cx_dp_1029realestate.htmlI guess I should take some comfort in them not saying its a good investment - its more like the best of the worst.
back with another rent vs buy property...what's going to happen to this 22201 walk-to-orange-line-Courthouse-metro 3/3/1 TH which has been sitting for 211 days? for sale @ $599,950, for rent @ $2,990/mo. last sales in this 8-unit community:1/26/2005 $590,000last year it's listed for rent for $3,300. don't think it ever found a tenant.
mm,Assuming that the place could actually rent for $3K, that would constitute monthly rent of 1/200th the sales price or annual rent of 17X the sales price (gross yield of 6% per yr), which would be on the high end of reasonable. CNN.com had an article earlier this year indicating that Washington DC homes sold for 16X rent from 1990 to present. [I know, I know, this includes the bubble years]
I am astonished to find all this new construction going on in Arlington. With all the excess housing on the market, I wonder which banks are still putting money into the housing market. Obviously, there are some.I had to go to the DMV in Shirlington and discovered a very large townhouse project underway in Green Valley and an area that once caused the police considerable headaches with drugs and gangs. There are two projects on the southeast corner of Shirlington and S. Four Mile Run.Over in North Arlington, there is a Greenbrier project under the old radio tower at Lee and N. George Mason, and another luxury single house project next to the Washington Country Club.Finally, I took a wrong turn last week and discovered two new projects on N. Rolfe, near the Ft. Myer fence. It looks to be there is a lot of infill activity as well, and I could cite a number of those projects.I think this construction activity is a little reckless given the condition of our economy, but obviously builders and their financial backers do not agree with me. So what conclusion should we make. Is the downturn over in Arlington, or did it never come here as others have suggested on this board? Is there some expectation that whoever is elected Tuesday will oversee a continued vast expansion of the federal government? I am finding some of these projects on the market in the $1.5 million area, so I guess they are aimed at staffers of associations locating in Washington. Is there some expectation that the financial capital of the United States has indeed moved from New York to Washington in this financial crisis. And, finally, are Arlington properties really undervalued?
edward, the nice thing is, you are in a good position to watch and see what happens to these properties. That is out of my price range, but my casual observation is that well-built, well-designed new houses in good locations in Arlington have been selling if priced fairly relative to the current market conditions. But notice that quite a few properties in this price range that don't meet these specs have been sitting a long time.http://franklymls.com/default.aspx?m=R&h=ALL&s=Arlington+detached
I think Forbes is right. It's looking at office vacancies, which are low, but also sees increasing power in this area as a result of the bailout. I think the best way to see the inherent strengths of this area is to write from outside it, and that's what Forbes is doing. A lot of people living here have lost all sense of perspective of how economically strong this area really is.
$125,000 REDUCTION! this 22207 4/4/0 Colonial is re-listed today @ $800K. Let's assume this time the agent priced it right (i have no idea as it's beyond my range), it could burst the price bubbles of quite a few properties in the 800K-900Ks. i read it elsewhere that in SF only low-end stuff are selling, high-end homes just sit. I think N Arl is seeing something similar (isn't that why the YOY median price keeps dropping?).
kob: I thought office vacancies in the metro area had gone up by a substantial amount.
Here's one of the new houses I spotted near Lee and G. Mason, and what astonishes me is that it seems to have sold at a price that is three times that of the surrounding homes in that neighborhood. Plus you have a radio tower as a real close backdoor neighbor.http://franklymls.com/AR6727902Here is another one, a duplex going for $1.1 million each that was completed recently but has yet to sell.
"I am astonished to find all this new construction going on in Arlington. With all the excess housing on the market, I wonder which banks are still putting money into the housing market. Obviously, there are some."In most cases these projects were likely launched before the market really started to head south. The real test will be what happens when it is time for these projects to sell.
"I am astonished to find all this new construction going on in Arlington."This is part of the reason:"After a year-long study of three locations in Alexandria and Fairfax, Army officials decided to put 6,400 workers at the Mark Center, a private development near Interstate 395"...Washington Post, Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Hi, I'm a long time reader of the bubble blog. I've been saving to buy in Arlington but have ended up renting instead the last few years.I'm just wondering, does anyone know of a good lawyer for dealing with getting security deposits back. I have a landlord who is trying to remodel her foreclosure-quality townhouse on my tab. It took me months to get her to fix simple problems like plumbing, heat and ac, and now that the lease is finally over I'm shocked at what she is trying to claim to steal my deposit and charge me even more. The worst part is there are re/max realtors involved that knew what I went through and documented the original condition with photos and are more interested in protecting their client who is relisting the property than helping me, even though they've also been trying to sell me property for months. I know this is a little off topic for this forum, but I know there have been some past questions by renters that got really great answers so I thought I'd give it a shot. You are welcome to PM me as well if you know a specific lawyer and don't want to spam their name in the thread. After an experience like this I really can't wait for more price correction so I can finally buy.
Interesting piece in the NYTimes on the current status of any homeowner bailout:Mortgage Plan May Aid Many and Irk Others Much of it discusses the moral hazard issue of tempting borrowers who can pay their mortgage to stop doing so if it might qualify them for the restructuring. The good news, IMO, is that it sounds as if write-downs will be the last resort in this new program, (somewhat in contrast to the existing hope for homeowners, which next to no-one has gotten yet). The other good news was this quote from Dana Perino:"If we find one that we think strikes the right notes and could meet all of those standards that we want to protect taxpayers, make sure that it’s also fair and that it would actually have an impact, then we would move forward and we would announce it,” Ms. Perino said.Good luck with that.
Those craftsman homes are kinda neat looking, but those Greenbriar village homes are way overpriced. I guarantee they will end up selling for at most 900k--1.1M, once the realization of the market sets in. There are a large amount of people making 200-300k in the area who would like to own a house like that, but nobody is going to take on a mortgage that is more than 3x their income right now.
@tibexI went through a situation about a year ago where the landlord tried to hold my deposit hostage.I would say that unless it's a really complicated issue you don't need a lawyer to take your case . . .besides they'd eat up 1/3 of what what you'd get and it wouldn't be worth it to get a lawyer.What you could do is ask for an hour or so session with a lawyer and explain your problem . . . not have them represent you . . . just get advice, that will cost anywhere from 150-200/hour. I was lucky that in my situation I had explained it over the phone to multiple lawyers and one sort of let me know the direction to go for free :-).I would make sure you read your lease contract multiple times and make sure that you understand it completely.I would then write a letter to the landlord explaining your case (possibly using the lease as a reference). Tell the landlord that since you aren't in any violation of the contract, you have kept the place clean, you took photos when you moved in, will take photos when you moved out, and that you fully expect to receive your deposit back.Make sure when you check out of the apartment to get someone representing the landlord to check out with you. Have them go over the place and explain to them that unless they find any fault, you expect to have your deposit back as stipulated in the contract, if they do not fulfill their obligation you will sue them in small claims court.If they haven't given you the deposit back within 14-30 days (it might be stipulated in the contract), write another letter saying that unless you receive the deposit by x and such day you will sue in small claims court, and explain that the will be liable for any charges (transportation, room and lodging, etc). Start the proceeding to sue in small claims court.More likely than not you will get your deposit back before you have to actually sue. The biggest thing is to make sure they know you mean business and will sue them and to make sure that you document everything. Save all the letters, scan all the correspondence, etc.Unless you have violated the contract, you should have no problems.Some counties have a Consumer Affairs office where you can lodge a compliant after lease problems without going to small claims court, you'd have to look it up.Unfortunately for me, the county I was in did not (Faquier). Best the small claims court fee is something like 20 bucks. As long as the amount is under 5k (I think) you can sue in small claims court. Most landlords know part of the law, and understand that they can't keep the deposit for any such reason (it must be stipulated in the contract under what conditions they can take the deposit and how it works-and if it's not it is under VA law). They just hope that the renter doesn't have the will to call them on it so they can keep the money.I hope this helps . . . as long as you are not in violation of the contract keep fighting and you will get your money back (unless of course your landlord goes bankrupt . . . you can still sue and win, but you won't be able to collect). Winning a suit and collecting are two different things.
@tibexOh, it sounds like you've already finished your contract there . . . something you can do (not that I recommend it, but I thought about it) if you know it will be a pain to get the deposit back is to not pay the last months rent (since the deposit is generally 1 months rent) . . . of course this now means that you are in violation of the contract and they can sue YOU in small claims court (for damages + 1 months rent - deposit)They can win and try and collect (but remember winning and collecting are two different things). They could give bad references on the next place you rent from (but just don't list them).If you do that, you are now playing the same game they play with you . . . take advantage of them and hope they don't try and collect. The typical renter is a deadbeat anyways, so many landlords won't try and collect b/c its too big of a hassle (renters can move anywhere, sending a collection agency etc.)I seriously thought about doing that to this particular landlord . . . but alas my conscience wouldn't let me . . . right is right and wrong is wrong . . . so I paid my last months rent fought them and I got my deposit back.Another thing the deposit is generally thought of insurance if the renter skips out early . . . (I could be wrong, but in my research IRC) it's not . . . it's for physical damages, i.e. technically if you skip out early they can sue you for months rent and have to return the deposit (if you didn't do any damage), but since the deposit is generally 1 months rent, most just say heck with it and take the deposit as 1 months rent.
Sept employment numbers are out. Among big cities, DC has the 2nd lowest unemployment in the nation, and added the 3rd highest number of jobs.http://washington.bizjournals.com/washington/stories/2008/10/27/daily56.htmlI dont want to be rooting for people to lose their jobs, but I think thats a good way to see big declines inside the beltway. These numbers suggest it aint gonna happen anytime soon.
Sorry for the broken link - heres the text of the story....D.C. area reports 4% unemployment rate for Sept.Washington Business Journal - by Mara Lee Staff ReporterThe D.C. area has the second lowest unemployment rate (4 percent) in the country for September among areas with 1 million or more people, according to Department of Labor statistics released Wednesday. The local unemployment rate was up from 3 percent in September 2007Oklahoma City reported the lowest unemployment rate for September at 3.5 percent.The Department of Labor reported employment data for 369 metropolitan areas.The agency also examines the employment outlook of several subdivisions of metro areas. The Bethesda/Gaithersburg/Frederick area, with an unemployment rate of 3.4 percent for September, was the lowest in the country among these subdivisions.The D.C. area has 40,7000 more jobs than it did a year ago — the third strongest gain in the country, behind Houston and Dallas. That is an increase of 1.5 percent — putting the region in the top five when considering job growth percentages.Nationwide, unemployment was 6 percent for September -- a year ago, it was 4.5 percent.
>kob: I thought office vacancies in the metro area had gone up by a substantial amount.<Novawatcher --You are right. The point Forbes was making was that it expects vacancy rate to remain below 10%, which I think is now the case.
More eye-openers on the nature of the credit crisis, during NPR's all things considered last night:NPR Planet Money Credit Default SwapsI for one was not aware that you could buy credit default swaps for bonds you didn't own. Nor that "unregulated" meant that you could sell CDS's without having the capital available to back up the promise in case of actual default. The long and short of it seems to be that if mortgage-backed-securities were the cause of the bank insolvency, then credit default swaps were the spice/crack-rock that created the ensuing chaos. Basically, such a long extended bull market induced gambling in CDSs by hedge-funds that didn't actually have the money to cover their bets. Great... Makes the housing-bubble-ponzi scheme look sane.
More delusions? The owner of this house, which is on busy Wash. Blvd. and has been on the market forever, dropped its price to $1,149,000 a couple of weeks ago but decided to raise it back up to $1.239 million. Good luck with that sure fire pricing strategy.http://franklymls.com/AR6818417
Ace,The google satellite photo shows it when it was under construction, cool!!It's a beautiful house. I have no idea what it's worth, but it's pretty. One absurdly petty complaint. Why, in a gourmet kitchen, would you put up a decorative, scultped tile directly over the stove-top, rather than a good-old-fashioned backsplash that would protect your wall from grease and food stains? Gah!
Cara, the main thing holding it back is the location. If it were on a side street, I think it would have sold for at least the lower of the two prices a long time ago. There is a modern house across the street (still on Wash Blvd) that sold last year in the high $1.2 mill. range and around the corner from it but NOT on Wash Blvd. another modern house (my favorite - the Gumby green house) that sold for about $1.325 mill. last month (I was surprised it went that high - someone must have fallen in love with it and paid whatever it took to get it). I agree about the textured tile in the kitchen. I don't like the way it looks, either, but you see it in a lot of new houses. Not only is it impractical, but it appears to be Tuscan/Mediterranean and incongruent with Craftsman, Colonial, etc., houses you see so much of here. I like a sleek, high quality look in the kitchen - maybe because I hate cleaning those crevices!
Cara, I notice that the dopey agent didn't bother to mention that it is only about 3 blocks from the EFC metro stop.
http://franklymls.com/AR6818417The problem here is location.Move it to Ft. Belvoir and the price will double.
dominicAnd time-travel it to 2010, when all those dual-income GS-12's from NJ will be moving in and feeling rich with their cost-of-living-regional increases, and desperately need an expensive house to pour that money into to reap the tax shelter benefits. Conveniently by then all the sub-prime losers will have been foreclosed on years ago and the market will be ready to shoot the moon!(i'm kidding, just in case anyone can't tell)
Touché, Cara!Nicely done.
Encouraging? Here's a 3/2 detached home 1/2 mile to the Ballston metro in 22203 for under $500,000. AR 6911313Drawback is that it's right on Wilson.
Sorry, my first attempt at a clicky link failed. Here's the url:http://www.franklymls.com/AR6911313Second time's a charm? AR6911313
tibex/gte:Wish I had as good advice as gte, but I just have a sad story to share about our last landlord, who kept our deposit and hinted at coming at us for more...While we lived there, we went for several (winter) months without heat, except from the fireplace and space heaters, and several summer months without A/C. The garage door literally fell off one night, and was not replaced for four months. The plumbing had so many issues, our family of nine had one functioning toilet out of three 90% of the time we lived there, and even that one needed to be plunged every time. Siding came off every time the wind rose, and was not replaced until a neighbor reported them to the city. Trees blew down onto our neighbors' fences during storms, and were not removed for two months, again not until others complained several times.We felt badly for our landlord, because like us, he was active duty military far away, and was only renting because he had not been able to sell in 2006, so we just rolled with every inconvenience. We also felt badly watching the value of their house plunge. In fact, the reason they came back to the house was in order to refinance, it had to be their primary residence, and they had to kick us out because of that.Even though our contract did not require it, we cleaned that house to white-glove standards, including washing all the white flat-paint walls and having the carpets professionally cleaned. We also continued to mow the lawn and weed the garden, because there was a month between when we moved out and they moved in, and we didn't want it to look abandoned.When they came back, they kept our "one-month's rent" deposit, which we were really counting on getting back. They even hinted coming after us for more. Why?The toilets we had asked them to fix the entire time we lived there had leaked (inside the walls--not our doing), so they wanted to replace the sheetrock in the one room affected. During last summer's drought, three of their bushes out front died, so they wanted to replace them. They want to repaint the inside with non-flat paint. And (no joke), they said they found dust on the ceiling fans. They had been dust- free when my pregnant bottom cleaned them when we moved out, I assure you.As you can see, we are still rather bitter, but we did not challenge them about it, because #1 he is higher ranked than my husband #2 we still live close by and #3 they will lose their shirts when they sell. We also want to give them the benefit of the doubt, that they were first-time, accidental landlords and did not realize what the deposit was supposed to be for...but it hurts to see someone garden and redecorate on our sorry dime.
for cara: No, you don't have to have a direct interest in the credit default swap market. Let's say you are parts supplier whose future depends on Ford Motor Co., so when someone takes out a credit default swap on a Ford bond, you would want to protect your future with a piece of that action. It is called a naked credit default swap.You don't see this figure in the news media because it is so mind-boggling, but the Comptroller of the Currency estimates there are $182 trillion in derivatives, mostly credit default swaps as of the second quarter of this year. The U.S. gross economy is only $15 trillion by comparison. This is why the U.S. Treasury gave the money to the nine banks, which are the fortress being built as debt unwinds and some of those credit default swaps themselves default.Here's a link to the Comptroller of the Currency report on second quarter derivative "investments" if you are interested. It makes for really scary reading this Halloween, as AIG is preparing to settle next week and other companies have yet to fess up what they are holding:http://www.occ.treas.gov/ftp/release/2008-115a.pdf
tabitha,Yeah . . . your experience sounds similar to some of the experiences I've had renting . . . most landlords are slumlords, they are scum. Of course, most tenants are scum too . . .Me personally, I'd probably tell them that I fulfilled every obligation in the contract . . . you go by what the contract is, now of course a verbal contract counts too . . . and that if they don't give me my deposit back they will be sued.Maybe it's b/c I'm a stingy punk . . . but I don't put up with theft, and taking my deposit when I've fulfilled the contract is just that. . .theft. In fact, I'd prob. play it up, saying look you know that I have fulfilled the contract, if I sue I will win, if I win that will be on your record . . . how would you like that on your military record?I wouldn't back down b/c of his higher rank . . . people like that are just scum, they use their power to intimidate and dominate and to get their way.I wouldn't feel the least bit sorry for them, look they made a bad bet, they bought and are going under. You've helped them out plenty already . . . you paid rent! Sounds like you've lived there for a while, I'd say hey that's pretty good money considering most rentals are empty at least 80-90% of the time.I'm a compassionate person . . . but not when you forcibly steal from me . . . then I become a pit bull. And that is what they did, they committed theft by stealing your deposit.
And time-travel it to 2010, when all those dual-income GS-12's from NJ will be moving in and feeling rich with their cost-of-living-regional increases, and desperately need an expensive house to pour that money into to reap the tax shelter benefits. Fort Monmouth has higher locality pay than the DC area, 26.36% versus 20.89% in 2008. Fort Monmouth is considered part of the New York area. The Washington area includes parts of West Virginia.
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