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.
"Contrarian is in a different league than any of the other 3 bloggers I noted, so im not sure what to make of this."Thank you for organizing the information and your constructive comments. You are onto something. It is more than rent/own ratios or Arlington being a fad. Like Popcorn-boi, two Arlington-deniers have no detailed understanding of the area. I don't either but at least I've driven through it and know that parking isn't a show stopper, not at Glebe and Military.Similar to your 3 missing-in-action, the cutie-cutie writers got it wrong. That's not to say that the Global Economy might not collapse yet.The counter forces - my equity investments are doing well. The retirement money on autopilot is up 8% YTD, I went balls-to-the-wall in two small trading accounts and am up serious money (for me) in the last few months. I was partially emboldened because they are cashing me out of a long term RE investment (still don't have the final accounting). Stock tip, Sallie Mae (SLM) - On the rocks, tracked down like Fannie Mae (FNM) and Freddie Mac (FRE) but Sallie isn't tied to RE.SLM is doing OK for me but no way to know where it'll go. Did I mention, it's not RE?
WaPo Stimulus effect on the RegionRelevant quotes...Spending $787 billion not only takes time, it turns out, it also costs money -- and that's good news for Washington.At the Health Resources and Services Administration, spokesman Nicholas Papas said the 134 new employees are needed to oversee the $2 billion in stimulus grants for the country's 1,100 community health clinics and $500 million for doctors and nurses working in underserved areas.Washington is getting a big benefit as it is -- the stimulus package includes billions to erect and refurbish federal buildings, most notably $448 million for a new complex for the Homeland Security Department."We are better off than almost anywhere else," said John McClain, an economist at George Mason University. "And in federal employee jobs, we have a growth that we haven't seen in a while."When I was building my list of local area infrastructure projects, I don't see how I missed the new $500M Homeland Security Headquarters.38,000 Jobs
It's different here
For the first time in over a month, MLS has updated available inventory:http://www.virginiamls.com/charts/index.htmOUTER COUNTIES:We are now near what is normally the peak of the spring selling season. Judging from trends, I can confidently say we have hit that peak this year on January 1.Inventory has been falling both on a YOY basis and on a nominal basis since then - highly unusual for the spring. In fact, the last time inventory moved out of season was autumn 2005 when it rose instead of falling - and we all know what happened after that.I keep expecting inventory to trend flat but it hasnt. I still believe that - it has to - otherwise in areas out in PWC inventory will soon be zero. I mean look at this trend - it takes your breath away:http://www.virginiamls.com/charts/ManassasCity.htmBottom line, based on whats available, this season looks like a rout. Were it not for the shadow REO inventory, you could declare the bubble dead, and prices are likely to move higher (i.e a V shaped recovery). I still disagree thinking bank REO will come out in force if prices are rising, thereby keeping them in check (i.e a L shaped recovery).INNER COUNTIES:Here the inventory is acting a bit more normal in the sense that it did rise a bit this spring. However, it does look like it hit is peak and now starting to fall too. These too will likely fall below 2005 levels, but not til this autumn.In the spirit of reminiscing that has been active here for the last few days, Leroy, recall last year that you thought inner county inventory wasnt really falling - it was just sellers holding out. Very early this year, you reitirated that, saying this might be the year that this group of inner county holdout sellers would re-emerge, presumably driving inventory higher. As of todays date, inner county inventory is down 20% YOY. As such, can we officially put this issue to bed?
CRTI don't know, Arlington and Alexandria mostly look like flat+ seasonality since May of 2007 with a very small decreasing trend in Alexandria.What one should take away from flat+seasonality I'm not sure.Manassas etc are stunning! Fairfax county's pretty sharply declining too.And in more anecdotal housing non-news:http://franklymls.com/FX7082478SS at $275kbought 6/1/2001 for 190k with a 5k seller subsidy.tax evaluations over the peak:2009 $77,000 $227,510 $304,510 2008 $90,000 $277,550 $367,550 2007 $90,000 $290,200 $380,200 2006 $90,000 $292,120 $382,120 The housing ATM was alive and well here, and is continuing to rear its ugly head.
Stock tip, Sallie Mae (SLM) - On the rocks, tracked down like Fannie Mae (FNM) and Freddie Mac (FRE) but Sallie isn't tied to RE.Off topic, but just in case, hasn't Obama introduced legislation to take out the middle man from federal student loan lending? This would essentially end SLM as a business.
In addition to long range interest rates going up to choke off a recovery, the federal minimum wage is set to rise 11% July 24. I don't know exactly the statistics, but I figure this could add another 3-5 basis points to the unemployment rate.
"Cara said...I don't know, Arlington and Alexandria mostly look like flat+ seasonality since May of 2007 with a very small decreasing trend in Alexandria.What one should take away from flat+seasonality I'm not sure."Cara - check the raw numbers, they do show a declining trend (down 20% YOY in Arl -30% YOY in Alex). Graphically here is probably a better way to see it.http://www.recharts.com/nova/nova.html The take away? This is what a non-foreclosure laden market looks like. The foreclosure numbers really inflated inventory outside the beltway on the way up (and kept sales up YOY til recently). Now that they are gone, I expect to see a similar trend (eventually) outside the beltway when everything is said and done.
"legislation to take out the middle man from federal student loan lending? "Yes, excellent point. It is a gamble but so is everything else. SLM was about 8 bucks yesterday and 100% above the March '09 low... which I missed. Compare to losses in Fannie, Freddie, Bearing Point, General Motors, Manassas homes, etc.
This is why "Arlington is different." Arlington Rap
Man I am sure glad that I am not looking for a house in Manassas. That is crazy that inventory is down to 50 houses. You have to figure half REOs in terrible condition. That leaves basically 25 houses. So if you are looking there you may get 5-10 houses in your price point Wow.
That is a better representation for the comparison,Harriet? Can you add a link to this and the MRIS stats on the front page? We refer to these all the time, so it might be good to have that easy access...Anyway, CRT, Arlington went from 950ish to 800, May to May that's 16% down, but 800 is still above the low for 2007, so I'd still call that flat not trending down, since it's still within the variability of the seasonal data but that's semantics at some point.Nit-picking nonsense aside, I do think your conclusion that the mild bump up in 2006 of people selling and getting out while the getting was good is all the inventory in Arlington and Alexandria have shown.These leaves the last reasonable hopes (beyond current drops) for Alex/Arl buyers as twofold:1) While there aren't that many Alt-A's or I/O's in these counties, there are some, and these will continue to appear as REOs and short-sales at below-market prices. Trying to buy them in the peak spring season may not be that fruitful as anielarke pointed out yesterday, but there will continue to be this trickle of potential deals/money-pits for another couple years.2) The really high priced stuff is showing some weakness, because no one knows how to evaluate those prices anyway, and it's thinly traded. So some of the things that seemed like 1.4 million in the bubble will/have come down to 1 million, and will probably hover there. Anything more drastic than that? You need a contrarian-like scenario. Or there needs to be a lot more slow-rotting weakness amongst current owners than we've seen to date. It could be there, the HELOC temptation was great. But we really won't know anything about it number-wise until the census. And as long as people didn't max out their equity-withdrawals, they will still be able to sell without appearing distressed.
Paka -That rap is hilarious. I mean with art like this I just don't see how prices could ever fall in Arlington.
Cara - there is one, more charitiable way to look at it. Since we admittedly arent sure what normal inventory levels should look like, it is possible that inner areas are now at their normal levels. I dont think thats likely though. I still think these levels are elevated. But since we dont know what normal is, I acknowldege the possibility this is it.PAKA - that video is hysterical!
PaKa, that video is great!
Uh, there's a little known theory in economics called supply and demand. When demand outstrips supply prices go up.Cara, this is staring you right in the face and yet you insist that it will lead to flat prices without any argument.Anyone economist on layman for that matter, looking at this chart would deduct that prices are going to soar.Note, I'm only talking about the ultra-low inventory areas and sub-$500k market, because the higher markets still have bloated inventory with prices flat to falling
Robert,To what are you refering, Manassas, PWC?Back in September we were starting to call the bottom out there. And once the REOs are flushed from the system, prices should rise above the current bargain basement, indeed.However, you need to prove not only that the supply is low, but that the demand for cheap far-flung housing has not yet been sated. There are only so many people who want to buy out there. We don't know what that number is.If you're refering to FFX County, there's potentially 14k extra buyers (some of whom have already bought). And then there's the increased demand from the $8k, And indeed, the nice townhouse style condos in Burke are going for 10-20k more than they were last year. Case in point. The question again, is, are the 8k buyers being stolen from the future, which will lead to slackened demand coming soon, or does the 14k potential fence sitters outweigh the 11k premature owners plus whomever else put themselves in precarious positions? We don't know. All we can see is the supply side and the MOI to judge the appetite for current prices. MOI is around 4 months, I'd call that pretty ho-hum i.e. normal, not drastically high demand.
Robert,besides, supply and demand are not the only things going on that determine prices. Mortgage availability, increasing down-payment requirements, rising interest rates, decreasing mortgage insurance availability, black-listing of renter-dominated neighborhoods by banks, all decrease the amount of money people will be allowed to spend on housing, whether they want to or not.Now there's an interesting question. If some neighborhoods get black-listed by the GSEs for their purchases, will it push up prices in the remaining neighborhoods? I think the answer is yes. Thus, strengthening the case for choosing wisely, because if yours stays owner-occupied, your house price will have more support, and may even rise soon after the recession recedes.
Leroy,I'll respond here, rather than scolling all the way down on your earlier comment about me.If by "real estate" pumper you mean that I am firmly convinced that RE can be a great wealth builder, you are absolutely correct.I suppose you have forgotten the many times that I stated my "guess" that we would see 25-40% declines (more or less), based on locale (with condo's getting whacked the most).I never claimed a crystal ball or insisted on the "concentric circle" theory of the most desirable close-in areas. You may recall the "promise" of the reverse day-trader that Clarendon would fall 40% by 2008.You may also recall that I stopped going to the Courthouse in 2002 or 2003 when crazy mobs of people were paying more than non-reo market value.I explained, ad nauseum, my theory on why certain areas were getting creamed while others were not.Reading Shiller's comments, posted yesterday on Bubblemeter, I couldn't help but suspect that he has been reading my comments for years and taking notes.I didn't anticipate the extent of the carnage in areas of PWC and Loudoun and "pockets" of other areas. I didn't realize the ridiculous rise in prices in some of those very marginal areas. I've never really followed those markets as I owned no property there.There are some very decent/nice developments that got caught up in the fall-out and now bounced off the bottom in a major way. Just check the tax records on recent sales and look at what is currently under contract.I had previously stated that I was surprised that prices kept rising after 2003 or so and called the peak (in my opinion) as the late spring as 2005, when I saw inventory steadily increase in Markets I follow.So if 25-40% down is pumping, I plead guilty.p.s. if you plan to trott out some old snippets, please search 25-40% down.p.p.s. I did say, on many occassions, that one can always find a great deal in any market if enough time and effort are expended. My two best deals ever were in 2004 and 2005 (search "waterfront farm" and/or "Naples". And these were 1031's, thus not "new money" in the market, lest I be once again called a proven liar; known liar, etc., for claiming not to make purchases since 2002.Can we put the distortion and twisting and cherry-picking to rest once and for all?
And Leroy,If you classify me as one of the "pumpers" saying that PWC is doing great; I would hardly call places 60 or 70% off as doing great. I do believe that the bottom is in for the low-end and we have bounced off it. If that makes me a "pumper" in your mind, so be it.
Cara said...besides, supply and demand are not the only things going on that determine prices. Mortgage availability, increasing down-payment requirements, rising interest rates, decreasing mortgage insurance availability, black-listing of renter-dominated neighborhoods by banks, all decrease the amount of money people will be allowed to spend on housing, whether they want to or not.Wow, what a bucket of negatives.Okay, I'll try to offset with a bucket of positives.Mortgage interest rates are near all-time lows. The Fed is still committed to buying MBSs. They WILL ramp it up if mortgage rates become a prohibitive factor.Individiual investors are pouring into the market.The potential $15k buyer's bribe.Most of all, the JOBS TSUNAMI is coming. First comes the stimulus, then comes Obama with huge outlays for Energy, Health Care, and Education. All will require a huge number of employees for management and oversight.It's like you are at the starting line of a race with a 30mph wind at your back.
All,We are nearing the end of the Spring buying season; I know I'm taking the summer off and have my hands quite full for now.It will be interesting to see if inventory starts to climb; due to reo's or seasonality. I've "heard" to expect the reo's to appear in force in August/September. It keeps getting pushed back.If this happens, we may get a retracement to the lows of Nov-March. I don't think that the low-end is going below that unless we have a major major event.I have heard recently from a few prospective tenants that they have gotten 30 day notices for their landlords-by-default who have seen the Market activity as an opportunity to sell.
"Can we put the distortion and twisting and cherry-picking to rest once and for all?"Why? Some think they are being clever.
Robert,I wish I had a "'" so that I could spell touche.Unfortunately for me, I'm more concerned about my husband's job security (which will become much more secure after August) than I am about rising home prices. If we could pay $350k now for a TH in the complex that surround Terra Centre elementary, then you're right, it'd probably be a good buy. (even if the thought of paying $350k for a TH in the suburbs makes me cringe). But we can't, so it's just not relevant.I think getting in this fall will be plenty soon enough. Because, if you're right and the wind at our backs causes house prices to V, then the next couple months of it? Will be a tiny percentage of our eventual gains.But thanks, for your kind thoughts, trying to make us feel more confident about our purchase this fall/winter.
"VA investor said.It will be interesting to see if inventory starts to climb; due to reo's or seasonality.I've "heard" to expect the reo's to appear in force in August/September. It keeps getting pushed back."The scary thing is that we are at or near the annual peak. We are entering the second half of the year where it "should" be declining. Ive "heard" things like this too but ive also "heard" something like this for about 14 months now. Ive pretty much stopped listening. I think a flat trend in the second half of the year would be a major victory for those hoping for price declines. That said, I think its possible places like PWC are undercorrecting. They could see a bit of a bump up, before they trend to flat. Either way, barring some unforseen catastrophe, I think the uber high levels of inventory that we saw in 06, 07 & 08 are never to be seen again.
"Why? Some think they are being clever."Hey, maybe you missed my question in the last thread, @J@/Kh, why did you change your name?
"I suppose you have forgotten the many times that I stated my "guess" that we would see 25-40% declines (more or less), based on locale (with condo's getting whacked the most)."Honestly now, do you think I wasn't reading your posts? I have certainly linked to enough of them where you are going on and on about "bitter renters" and how there is no bubble, etc etc.There is no point in trying to rewrite history. The only thing you have been consistent about is finding opportunities to mention just how wonderfully successful you are. "I never claimed a crystal ball or insisted on the "concentric circle" theory of the most desirable close-in areas. You may recall the "promise" of the reverse day-trader that Clarendon would fall 40% by 2008."Are you talking about David? No, I actually don't recall anyone making any such "promise," and I don't see why every single thread on this blog somehow migrates back to Arlington and Alexandria. Thankfully Lance is gone or we would still be hearing about Dupont every single day.
Cara/Robert. Honestly, I can see both sides of that debate. Robert, the reason I disagree on a big price bump is the cache of REO inventory currently not on the market. When I negotiated that bulk purchase of REO earlier this year, I got to see some of that which the banks are holding back - and it was alot (it was junk but alot of junk). Yes MOI indicates that prices could/should rise, but I think that number understates the issue. Add back in the REO and that number is really much higher. Thus, my gut tells me they will keep dispensing REO little by little, neither flooding nor starving the market, keeping prices in check.OTOH - Cara, while I used to be 90% confident of my scenario above, I am now more like 75% confident. The reason is this (see second graph)http://www.recharts.com/mris/mris_9.htmlSee that bump up in prices this month? Honestly I didnt expect that. If there was as much REO Junk as I thought, my guess is banks would keep moving it so fast that medians would be dominated by this ultra low price category. Perhaps my bank was a anomaly, perhaps what I saw was a fraction of what it was 1 year ago, perhaps im not as smart as I think I am - honestly I dont know.Clearly PWC isnt the whole market, but I like it because its kinda like a hyperrepresentaton of what other areas are experiencing (I think its easier to see trends here). Loudoun, FFX, Alex, Arl show this bump too, but it looks kinda noisy since they never gave up seasonality the way PWC did. Bottom line is, watch this carefully. Maybe this was a blip, maybe seasonality has returned, maybe the banks saw this and will now get greedy driving it right back down to 175K. There are enough "maybes" out there to still make me fall firmly into the L shaped recovery camp. However the V shape may not be as absurd as I previously thought. Interesting times!
Leroy - perhaps you missed my question (fourth post above). Can we put that "inner county sellers holding out/inventory will return" issue to bed?
CRT,I think REOs in PWC will be drying up sooner rather than later. (That's just really a gut feeling, of how many could there possibly be?)So that promising one-month uptick may spell the start of a trend back up to a new equilibrium for the post-free-money era.One subtlety, is that because of the huge amount of foreclosure activity out there, PWC probably doesn't have any more vulnerable home-owners left. (Okay, so "none" is obviously an exaggeration). Thus, any foreclosure activity due to job/income losses in the recession are likely to be a small effect in PWC. Whereas the recessionary foreclosures (as opposed to the bubble-induced foreclosures will "preferentially"*** hit areas that haven't had all the bad apples made into cider yet.And this really gets to the core of Robert's ongoing discussion. Will we even notice the rest of the recession as it unfolds, would we even be battered by a potential world-wide depression? Not necessarily. Thus my general advice of cherry-pick the good values that will continue to be available, but don't hold out too much hope for them to effect the wider market.*** but these will still be way smaller amounts than the catastrophic levels that hit PWC.
Jesus Robert, you're like a daily dose of bubble market delusions.
Inventory, shmiventory.I mined the local MRIS database last fall, and after all of that data entry, I found no correlation whatsoever between MOI and price directions. And, in case you are wondering, I did this for about 5 zip codes, all the way from Manassas to McLean.What I can say is that, at least in my neck of the woods -- the triangle formed by 66, the toll road, and 28 (Herndon to Vienna) -- adjusting for quality, selling prices have not gone up. Houses have moved surprisingly fast, but I've seen no evidence of prices climbing.My hunch is that it that the low interest rates + $8k bribe temporarily kept prices from falling further.If I have the time this weekend, I'll update my charts on the web.
"Can we put that "inner county sellers holding out/inventory will return" issue to bed?"Why? That's a substantive, on-topic question. Trolls just troll.
I certainly don't expect a "V"; but the mini "V" in low-end reo's may hold. I do think there was an over-correction in some areas and that that is being remedied. Witness, the Contracts from earlier in the year that have "fallen-out" and are being relisted at significantly higher prices AND SELLING.I'm not buying garbage; but, collateral damage. Check Parc Reston and Rolling Ridge (Loudoun). I did buy one in a somewhat marginal area because the cash-flow is terrific. But, it's no way near the worst places.Nothing in my neighborhood has come on the Market in almost a year, so it's tough to say what FMV is. Two sold about a year ago for close to 2005 prices (5-7%) off.I expect a soft market, with, perhaps, some further declines, and then a period of stagnation.But, this is only a guess. I, like CRT, am a firm believer in inventory as the proper gauge of Market health.Leroy,Yes, I did say that some of the renters were whiner's because there was a clear "entitlement" issue and no concept of "starter home" or buying a "fixer".And I found the "cheering" of a possible economic meltdown nauseating.
Robert,Just as you asked contrarian to focus on the DC area economy, I am going to ask you to focus on things that affect the homebuyers in Northern Virginia.The DHS HQ is meant to be an economic revitilization tool for Anacostia. The article notes that 100% of the construction contracts went to minority owned firms. How many minority owned firms are in Northern Virginia? I am guessing a good bulk of these contracts went to DC and PG County firms.Now, as many of us know, sometimes white owned large companies hire a shell minority owned firm to win one of these gov't contracts with aff action provisions. Something less speculative and more concrete is how many agencies currently in Northern Virginia are moving to this new HQ in Anacostia? Possibly none but possibly some. I think DHS HQ in Anacostia actually was a hit for Northern Virginia. I think before the Bush administration agreed to that (and ATF and EEOC at the NY Ave. stop) there were a lot of federal jobs moving to Northern Virginia. Obviously plenty of people live in Northern Virginia and commute to the District but that number falls sharply as you go west of Vienna and South of Springfield.
Since anielarke responded last night I feel the need to respond.anielarke continued her claim that the demographics (which based on her last comment appears to be racial demographics) of McLean and Wakefield are similar. That is incorrect. Using stats from the school websites (figures are rounded):McLean HS White 64% Asian 19% Latino 8% Black 3% Other 5%Wakefield HS White 15% Asian 11% Latino 44% Black 29% Other 0.4%anielarke's argument appears to be this: once a school falls below 90% white it is a very diverse school and there is no substantive difference between a school that is 64% white and one that is 15% white. And a school that is 7% free/reduced lunch and one that is 50% free/reduced lunch.In anielarke's world, if your high school is not as white/rich as Langley or private schools in the area, then they are all the same. I respectfully disagree.
Robert said...Wow, what a bucket of negatives.Okay, I'll try to offset with a bucket of positives.Mortgage interest rates are near all-time lows. The Fed is still committed to buying MBSs. They WILL ramp it up if mortgage rates become a prohibitive factor.Individiual investors are pouring into the market.The potential $15k buyer's bribe.Most of all, the JOBS TSUNAMI is coming. First comes the stimulus, then comes Obama with huge outlays for Energy, Health Care, and Education. All will require a huge number of employees for management and oversight.It's like you are at the starting line of a race with a 30mph wind at your back.Hummmm. Something familiar about your post Robert.The “bucket of negatives” are valid market indicators that have a proven track record. They have not been pulled out of thin air and made to fit a certain mold but studied in depth on this and other blogs. These negatives are not personal; they are just describing the water. Negative, positive? They are what they are.Now of course, if you want to go with a:Lance said... “you keep looking for validation of your position in numbers that I and others have gone round and round with you explaining why they mean NOTHING ... absolutely NOTHING ... but yet you persist ... and I am not playing this game with you.July 21, 2006 9:09 AMMethinks you’ll miss quite a few indicators.Now for the “positives”. Mortgage interest rates are near all-time lows. Why almost? Because rates have but one place to go at this point. Up.Individiual investors are pouring into the market. Great. Then we should see a marked decrease in foreclosures on the market. Of course, banks have 30% of this inventory unlisted and waiting for things to “cool down”. So, for every foreclosure purchased, to some extent, there’s another one waiting to take its place. Not to mention, generally investors want to remain cash positive. Local income has to support thisThe potential $15k buyer's bribe. Or the $7.5K. Or the $8K. A taxpayer funded handout that most assuredly has to continue Ad infinitum, lest these bailouts are stopped, and suddenly homes are “worth” $15K, $7.5K, $8K (whatever the number may be at the time) less. Not to mention these bailouts are only adding to the U.S. massive debt.Most of all, the JOBS TSUNAMI is coming. Great. Super news. But nothing on income? Has income risen in step with home prices? If average income can not support current average home prices, what happens to home prices?
contrarian, i noticed in today's paper that Hal Turner has been arrested for inciting violence. i wonder if he'll ever release those leaked stress test results as he promised. i'm sure he really has them and he's just waiting for the opportune time to show that the government lied.
When Credit Default Swaps exceed the price of the underlying assetHT, CR, WSJ, etc. If anyone hasn't read this yet, you need to. It's the funniest thing I've heard in a long time. I refuse to spoil the surprise by quoting from it.
this just further proves Tom's stance on N arlingtonhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4T1RMuoQnKo
TBW-If you are trying to use diversity as a measure of wealth/testing scores you should count Asian's and Whites as one category. I mean clearly no one at TJ would say its diverse, yet I am pretty sure it is only ~65% white. It is ~30% Asian so other minorities are rare, but if you just look at non-white you would say that it is ~35% is pretty high
housebuyer,anielarke and I have been debating this for a few days and so it may look like I'm focusing on one metric but I'm not. Based on a lot of statistics, reputation of schools (knowledge built up from about three decades in the area), comments from friends who are public school teachers, and wink-nod comments from realtors, I feel like I have a pretty good knowledge of the schools that are good in Fairfax County, Arlington, and Alexandria.anielarke got really annoyed with me a few days back because I said TC Williams was not one of the good schools in the area. She cited one stat -- Jay Mathews ranking of how many AP/IB tests students take -- as *the* measure of how good schools are. I noted it was a very flawed measure since it ranked McLean and Wakefield closely and she has proceeded to come up with two bald faced lies: (1) that both schools have similar levels of rich/poor students [false] and (2) that they are similarly diverse [false]On a side note, you mention TJ. Jay Mathews ranking does not include TJ. The rumor mill is that he was bitter one of his children did not make it into TJ and has been attacking it in the Post (and now this ranking) for years now. When US News ranked high schools TJ was #1. Jay Mathews on the other hand claims he cannot rank it because it has too many good students. I've never understood that one.
housebuyer,Also, I don't use race as a metric for test scores. The schools release test scores. TC Williams's average SAT verbal/math score is not even 1000 (1000 as you all know is the average score).But anielarke loves that school because it has a lot of people scoring 950 on the SAT taking AP/IB courses. One wonders how many 1s and 2s those students are getting.
TBW-I am on your side on this one, I was just saying if you do use race as an argument I would combine Asian's and Whites. Having grown up here I agree that TC Williams is definitely considered one of if not the worst high school. I also agree Mclean is a better school, but if I recall Wakefield is kind of diverse and there is a large mix there of high vs low performers.As to your comment about a 950 SAT average, I am pretty sure nationally that is about the 45% percentile which is only a little below average, but Fairfax obviously is not average. I am pretty sure the county average is above 1200(a different league than 950)
First time homebuyer here. I close at the end of the month. My realtor has referred me to an escrow company that I won't name and they have giving me the following quote for title insurance: $4.08 per $1,000 (for home priced b/w 100 and 500k)Is this a good, ok, bad price? Is there a way I can shop around for title insurance or am I stuck going through my escrow company?-Pacman
Pacman,What are their other fees?settlementtitle searchtitle binderarchive????I had a closing earlier this week where the seller wanted a particular company. I said OK; provided it doesn't cost me more than I usually pay at XYZ.You need to know more than the title ins. fee to compare. In my case, the total reduction amounted to $450.If the seller's have an owner's policy from when they bought, you can also ask for a "re-issue" rate on the title ins.
Thanks VA.Other fees are:Settlement fee: 250Title Review and Exam: 225Title Binder Prep: 95Digital Archival: 25Courier/Payoff Delivery: 78Reasonable?
housebuyer,Sorry if I seemed to be arguing. I could tell you were on my side. I just wanted to make sure people saw the whole argument. It's hard to have a multi-day argument on different threads. :)
CRT said...Robert, the reason I disagree on a big price bump is the cache of REO inventory currently not on the market. I've been waiting on this since I started posting on this board. When, when, when?kevin, i thought you quit reading my posts a long time ago. Question: why no personal insult this time?TBW, DHS HQ a net negative for Northern Virginia housing? What about the Woodrow Wilson Bridge or the National Harbor? Also bad for NoVA housing? Come on, this doesn't pass the smell test.BTW, the DHS HQ isn't scheduled to open until 2012 and be completed until 2015 about the time Dulles Rail should be in place.robert, seriously I have no idea who Lance is other than a few posts that referenced him.that's pretty cool that you know exactly where interest rates are going to go. I wish I could do that.talk about unsubstantiated claims, robert writes, Of course, banks have 30% of this inventory unlisted and waiting for things to “cool down”. So, for every foreclosure purchased, to some extent, there’s another one waiting to take its place.
Another indicator of renewed market activity is that 2 projects in Arlington which looked abandoned for a while have begun building. One is a group of townhouses at the corner of George Mason and Henderson -- somewhat close to Ballston but not right at Ballston. A block of red brick rental apartments was torn down and the first row of 10 townhouses took about a year to sell. They started at about $850,000 and sold in the $750-800K range. Building has begun on two new rows of townhouses and it looks as if the developer is going to finish all of the houses this summer by the amount of material at the site. Another group of new construction houses behind the George Mason Post Office where the radio tower is "supposed" to be torn down has 6 houses under construction. They had 2 sales there last fall and then nothing, but it looks like this builder is also betting that the market is back. Houses are about$1.3M - $1.4M. A previous poster stated that tenants were receiving notices to move as landlords planned to put houses on the sale market. I rented one of my little condos this morning to a couple coming out of a group house. Wife said that a number of her friends from Virginia Tech who were living in group houses had also gotten notices to move and she asked if I had anything else for rent.
Robert,I said the DHS HQ would be a negative for outer suburbs in Northern Virginia housing *if* DHS jobs were moved from Tysons Corner to the new HQ in Anacostia. I know you have a lot of comments to reply to but please read mine carefully before misstating what I wrote.As for National Harbor, that is clearly a big plus for Prince George's County and is looking to be a big negative for the DC Convention Center (and accompany neighborhood). I would say it has little effect on Northern Virginia. The new Woodrow Wilson Bridge also is a positive for Prince George's County with a neutral effect on Northern Virginia. How many people live in Northern Virginia and work in Prince George's County? And if you work in DC and live in Alexandria, don't you take the GW Parkway/Rt. 1/I-395 into DC? Now a lot of people commuting from PG County to jobs in Northern Virginia are aided by the improved bridge. And I suppose those living in the Alexandria area might benefit if they want to take the southern portion of I-495 to I-95N for trips.
Pacmansettlement 190title search 195binder 95ins lender & owner on 212K 870archive 25courier 68
anielarke,It sounds like you are describing the Buckingham Commons THs? I didn't realize they never finished that project.
Pacman: You can shop for title insurance but the rates are about the same. The title companies who do settlements make their money from selling you title insurance, not from conducting the settlement. Your lender makes you obtain title insurance, so that is one fee you must pay. For your own title insurance, be sure to ask if the company is quoting the cost of a "standard" policy or an "enhanced" policy. It is a good idea to obtain a standard policy, but an enhanced policy costs about 20% more and you may not need it. Ask the person at settlement to explain the difference to you, and I suspect you will conclude that you do not need the "enhanced" coverage.
Sorry TBW, you're saying people will move to PG County and DC to work at DHS HQ. Yes, possible.
Robert,No, I'm not saying that. I'm saying people in DC and PG County will take those jobs and people in Chantilly or Dulles will no longer be interested in their DHS job if it's no longer in Tysons Corner.You do realize that PG County has plenty of highly educated citizens? Federal gov't jobs are not only for residents of DC and Northern Virginia.
Anyways, I'm off for the weekend. I will probably not hold this pledge but I think I'm done debating the DC area job market with Robert. Apparently everything in the Washington-Baltimore region is a plus for Northern Virginia. In Robert's world, if SAIC opened up a new office in Baltimore City, well, people in Chantilly would drive all the way there for that job.
When I first started at SAIC in 1991, a guy told me NEVER try to move closer to your job because your job will move. That's life at SAIC.TBW, I've seen crazier things than a commute from Chantilly to Baltimore. I would guess most folks on this board have too.Still, how many people living in Ashburn, working in Tysons would give up a job in this market only because it moved to Anacostia? Not many.
TBW- No problem. I was pretty sure you realized this, I just figured I would clarify my point. I agree multi day arguments are tricky to do across different threads
"TBW said...As for National Harbor, that is clearly a big plus for Prince George's County and is looking to be a big negative for the DC Convention Center (and accompany neighborhood). I would say it has little effect on Northern Virginia."You are right about the convention center, they werent too happy about that. Also, the one area that has gotten a significant boost is (your favorite), Alexandria. There is a ferry that runs between the harbor and OT alexandria, and it is pretty much a one way stream of tourists. Last I heard, restaurant reciepts (and tax coffers) were up 3% over last year.
Anonymous -That's the point I was trying to make with TBW. Projects like these have hundreds of economic benefits to the area surrounding the project.
Okay, I lied I have not left just yet. Urghh.The Anonymous -- even I an avowed TC Williams HS hater, like Old Town Alexandria. I've never said home prices there should not be high. I think the average Old Town resident either has no kids or can afford private high schools. Old Town has a lot of character. It is like many parts of DC with crappy schools. It got to the point where you buy a home there if you have no kids or kids but you can afford private schools. I just don't buy the rest of Alexandria has that situation.Robert -- Please note it is *Anacostia*. Someone in Chantilly might keep their job if it went from Tysons to 20th and M St. But how many people want to work in Anacostia where their hubcaps will get stolen en route to work and their restaurant options are a McDonald's?
Paka-that rap is hilarious. I loved the part about the starbucks, the starbucks, the starbucks...Anielarke-Are they really going to tear that radio tower down? We live near there and I swear it interferes with our radio reception--we can't get any radio station to play inside our house. Kind of annoying. I did think that site was an odd choice for fancy houses--what with the Lee Highway/radio tower view one way and the post office parking lot view the other way.
Meshell: Arlington Co. says that this tower is coming down, although it mostly carries cell phone equipment now rather than radio transmitters. The other tower near Walnut Hill Park is owned by the Campbell family which was active in establishing WETA (Campbell Place near the WETA building in Shirlington is named after Elizabeth Campbell). At any rate that tower is loaded with cell phone equipment so it is doubtful it will come down. I have heard from friends in the area that it is the Campbell tower which creates the radio interference.
"Leroy - perhaps you missed my question (fourth post above). Can we put that "inner county sellers holding out/inventory will return" issue to bed?"No, not so long as the pace of sales is hovering at decade lows....and no, that is not what I have been expecting. After how many times we have gone back and forth on the question of inventory I would think you would know that by now. The current inventory levels in Arlington ARE elevated. There is no need to wait for inventory to "return." I think the outer counties are much much closer to the bottom than the inner ones. In those areas, thanks largely to foreclosures, prices were forced down very rapidly and accelerated capitulation on the part of even normal sellers. What we are seeing in several of the inner areas is much more typical of a market with sticky prices. Inventory has shrunk slightly, but remains high, and the decrease certainly isn't because buyers have bought it all up as is the case out west. I don't expect to ever see a "wave" of inventory coming onto the market in places like Arlington. I suspect what we will get is a situation where inventory remains slightly to moderately elevated, by the standards of the areas in question, and prices continue to drift lower. Little by little volume will return as value is restored. This is much as you would expect to see in a normal cyclical downturn.The inner counties are getting a millstone treatment rather than a chainsaw. As we are all rather hypersensitive observers and examining each new set of data as it comes out, it is easy to lose sight of the forest because we are scrutinizing the trees.Prices are falling in all areas and the higher-end of the market remains all but frozen. (Look 1-mil+ in Arlington, Mclean, Etc 700k is not high-end in those areas.) I can believe that places like Manassas may not move any lower as price/rent ratios etc have been restored, but the inner areas may still be drifting lower years from now, particularly Arlington as Alexandria is actually correcting at a pretty good clip. As I mentioned yesterday I think, this scenario is sensitive to inflation and interest rates. The recent record low interest rates briefly increased affordability substantially and undoubtedly generated additional sales. If interest rates continue to rise however we may see a pretty ugly fall season. If a buyer couldn't/wouldn't buy at 4.5%, they aren't likely to do it at 6.5%.
"Leroy Said...I don't expect to ever see a "wave" of inventory coming onto the market in places like Arlington." Leroy, I agree with the statement above, but this is very different than what you were saying this spring. In particular during the December "decade of sales" posting.At that time you said:"I kind of suspect we will see a big spike in inventory again in a couple months as some of the "shadow inventory" get lists to take advantage of the "spring market."I dont want you to think I am taking this out of context so here is the whole thread.https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=4787878578920468587&postID=3561070470960539669
Sorry - I hit send to early. As you can see from the post above, the notion I disagreed with was the idea that there would be a "big spike" in inventory as you suggested last January.As you are now saying there wont be a "wave" of inventory, I think you are (in essence) saying there wont be a "big spike" as you suggested in January. Can we now put that "big spike" notion to bed?
Robert said... talk about unsubstantiated claims, robert writes, Of course, banks have 30% of this inventory unlisted and waiting for things to “cool down”. So, for every foreclosure purchased, to some extent, there’s another one waiting to take its place.You are correct Robert. I misquoted:http://tinyurl.com/r5yg25Are Banks Keeping Foreclosed Homes Off the Market?Posted by: Chris Palmeri on May 21Buyers looking to purchase foreclosures should still have plenty of opportunities. Only 30% of bank-owned properties are listed on the multiple listing services, says Rick Sharga, senior vice president at foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac. He figures banks still own as many as 500,000 properties that they want to sell but haven’t put on the market.
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