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.
WaPo ChatSomeone in the WaPo chat this week was in almost exactly my position, wanting a TH for under $250k, 3 bed 1.5 bath walking distance to the metro. Sadly I wasn't reading it, so didn't shout back FRANCONIA SPRINGFIELD!!! There's a handful under $250k now in Windsor Park and Beverly Park. And I'm betting there will be more this spring.Instead, others were all slamming her for daring to want to pay a livable price for the luxury of a walkable commute. Which, given that such TH's exist, exactly in her price range, is just a load of horse manure. And as usual the writer's themselves were warning buyer's about their unrealistic expectations. (though less so than in the past) Other than that it was a pretty reasonable chat.
Info on average price declines by area is available. For the entire year, 2008 - price declines by area is as follows:Arl 539K (-3.5%)Alex 471K (-6.3%)Ffx 446K (-17.7%)Lou 389K (-24.7%)PWC 258K (-34.7%)From the peak til the end of 2008, total average price decline by area is as follows:Arl -3.6%Alex -6.7%Ffx -17.9%Lou -28.9%PWC -40.4%Also, FWIW, here are the average price changes by area from the year 2000-2008:Arl +117%Alex +109%Ffx +73.5%Lou +54.4%PWC +58.3%Again, remember these are average prices, not median which we normally quote here. A MRIS report on medians should be available soon.
Does any one know when will PWC will update assesments on their web site...
Manju,AFAIK they haven't even sent out the assessments to the owners in PWC. The website won't be updated until after that.
manju,I called the PWC assessment office, and the website will be updated in late February/early March.To the wise bloggers here:Anyone well acquainted with the appraisal process? We had one done back in December on our rental, which we are no longer trying to buy. We are getting another appraisal for a different property now, and I have more data than ever, but since it is not in a neighborhood, it is presenting significant challenges for my calculations:--How much does acreage affect the value of a house? I find it strange that a large lot (1+acres)in a neighborhood can be assessed for twice what a much larger lot (10+ acres) in a rural setting.--If a bedroom does not have a closet, is it counted as a bedroom?--If a kitchen is exceptionally small, does that affect appraised value?Most important of all:How far back can an appraiser go when getting comps? I thought it was 3 months, but one appraiser I talked to said that is not true. I can't imagine using comps from last June is OK in PWC, where average prices have dropped 28% since then.And a follow-up: if appraisers do need to go far back in a declining market to find a good comp, do they calculate price declines into the comp?And CRT, love the numbers, thanks!
Tabitha,some answers, gleaned from the ether unless otherwise noted:An appraiser can go back as far a 6-12 months to consider comps, but must include "market conditions". They can also include "similar neighborhoods" if no nearby comps exist.A bedroom doesn't imply a closet, just a door that can be closed. (My mom hung glass doors on her "music room" which resulted in a higher appraisal, as now her house supposedly has 4 bedrooms). These definitions may be zoning specific. In the olden days up in the great dark north, no below-ground rooms could ever be counted as bedrooms.An exceptionally small kitchen might or might not affect the appraisal, it will change the price relative to comps. Acreage price is dependent on the going price per acre in that neighborhood. If all the lots have 10 acres and they're all valued at land values of $100k, then that's the going rate, and may very well be much cheaper per acre than somewhere that yards are at a premium.
"From Cara" I've also liked what we've seen of Burke (one suburb to the west, but still on the VRE). " "From Ralph"I don't know of any bad neighborhoods from Kings Park, south along Rolling Road to the Fairfax Co Parkway and west to Burke. They all seem pretty ok. There are good schools, the neighborhoods seem pretty safe. I think most of the crime here is bored teenagers.I know people in West Springfield who drive to work, take the Pentagon bus & catch public transportation form there, and slug. VRE also has a station. Once the HOT lanes are complete I may consider looking for slugs myself.If you all remember me I used to be active here before 3 months ago and I used to commute from BWI to Rosslyn everyday. Last October I end up in buying in Burke and moved to VA. I noticed Cara and Ralph is looking some information for Burke. Myself and My wife really liked this area. Very quite neighborhood. Of course it is suburb. I don't even start my car. 5 min walk to 18P bus stop to get the bus to Pentagon station. 45 min commute to Pentagon and two metro stops to Rosslyn in Blue line. We have been living here for last 3 months. Great neighborhood and great schools. Of course houses would be 25-30yrs old here. I am living just across Burke Center. There is a great slug line which I don't use in rollingvalley Mall every monring. Plenty of parking as well.
Cara: I think a bedroom requires a window as well as a door. This could be wrong, but I had a discussion with an appraiser about why a room in a basement couldn't qualify as a bedroom unless it had windows. I agree that it doesn't need a closet.
blacksilverThat's probably true. And would be the major distinguishing characteristic from "closet". (although many main-floor master bedroom closets these days have windows to keep the curb-appeal up).
could someone help me with my math on thishttp://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/25/AR2009012502342.html?wprss=rss_metro%2Fmd$100 a ticket and they 'only' sold 24,000. Isn't that $2.4 million? the place is "assessed" at $1.25 million. Why then does it sound like the charity is getting stiffed, since 31,500 tickets or $3.15 million was not raised? sounds like a fast one was pulled on the charity...i wonder if the charity paid for the costs of printing the tickets too???
buck - it's $100 for two tickets
In a lot of communities, a bedroom must have a large enough window to escape from (especially in basement bedrooms), AND a closet, to be considered a bedroom. In some, a third condition is that, if you can walk through it to get to another room, it's not a bedroom. (This info is on the web.) So a buyer/seller would need to check what the rules are in the community of interest.
Leo,thanks. I'm living in that area now too. It's nice and safe, just architecturally uninteresting.Ralph
I signed the papers today refinancing our 30-year mortgage -- at a rate of 4.875%, with no points. The closing company notary who came to my house for the signing said she's frazzled from doing so much business every day. She said that although the great majority of her business is re-fis, she closed four new purchases in the first half of this month -- versus NO new purchases all of last year (she said the norm for January during the boom years a few years ago was between 10-12). She said she really feels the market (at least in close-in portions of Fairfax County, as well as N. Arlington) has stabilized.
This is what's wrong with the country in a nutshell. Purchased in 1989 for $266k, now a SHORT SALE at $499k. Sick. Yea, let's help these people with money stolen from the taxpayers.
I concur on the window requirement for a bedroom--at least most places. I picked up the knowledge of that rule somewhere or other.I remember looking at a really upscale-redone condo over on 16th in DC once--amazing gourmet kitchen, luxury bathrooms etc. But to make it a 2 BR they took a back room that had an external DOOR, and they put a big ol' window in the door--a door which opened out onto an ALLEY, which opened out onto 16th or 17th St. In THAT neighborhood?!? No WONDER it also had a state of the art alarm system!I couldn't see having my then-22 year old neice as a guest and putting her in that room! So I shuffled on...
The architect I'm using tells me that a room must have a closet to be called a bedroom when you list your house. I'm not sure, though, where the requirement comes from (Arlington County, State of Virginia, some other code). I couldn't find anything about it on the Arlington County web site.In looking at open houses, I noticed that any below grade bedrooms had windows wells, often with ladders to get out. I think this is a fire code issue.
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