Continuing to examine and hold a lively discussion of the Northern Virginia Real Estate market.
Apparently buyers in Arlington this month, did indeed feel the worst has past. We'll see if that confidence holds.
Inventory is tight in N. Arlington, and buyers are out in force. Like I posted in today's bits bucket, 3br townhouses under 650k/700k are especially hot. Unfortunately, that's what we are looking for, and each one that pops on the market has one packed open house and goes under contract the next day. It's incredibly discouraging. I'm thinking we'll have to wait until the winter or later to be able to find something that 100 other people aren't competing for as well.
paKa,yeah, that frankly search was, um telling. Spring is the worst season for buyers...
What month is typically best for buyers? December?At least our situation is very flexible--we have no deadlines and can afford to wait.
Just a comment about "apparent" inventory. Many shorts are listed as Active (per Bank requirement) and so the lower-end figures can be quite misleading.
Whoops -Listed as active when there is a contract and, many times, a back-up.
paKa,Anytime other than March-July, I believe.Va_investor, In my neck of the woods there are actually fewer shorts on the market than there were this winter...
Cara,Not really my point. Just sayin there is less inventory than what the numbers show.
va_investorIndeed. I also put the WTF-price listers in that category too. Listed, yes, but not really for sale.
Yep, I'm seeing plenty of WTF sellers. One that caught my eye is listed for $899k. An identical (as far as I can tell) house, other than updating, sold in the same neighborhood for ~$650k a few months ago.Actually, it is 200 sq/ft larger (2200 vs. 2000) due to a room between the main body of the house (center-hall colonial) and the garage. In no way does it warrant a $250k difference.
What's up with swimming pools?I've seen a couple of places with pools sit for a long time or go for a discount. There is one place in particular that interests us, but it has a pool. How much does it cost to fill one in?
I really wonder how some people are needing short sales. These people bought in 2004 for 350K and are a short sale in 2009 at $440K. The tax appraisal at its peak was only $378K. Unless they really timed taking out money at the exact peak how did they manage to take that much money out. Also it is absurd to try and tell a house for ~30% more than you bought it for in 2004.http://franklymls.com/FX7080679
Arlington is really showing its strength. Looking good! I'm certainly not surprised; the open houses around my neighborhood in N. Arlington have been packed for months.
housebuyer,Well, at least from the description it sounds like they spent it on the house. In 2004, it was common practice to open a line of credit at closing. Plus, tax appraisals never caught up with peak sales prices. Plus 6% transaction costs have to be factored in as well in order to clear the note.
Cara- True it does sound like they spent some of the money on the house, but I still find it amazing that you can burn through ~$100K worth of equity gains. Ohh well I guess some people have done worse.
From Wall Street Journal:"At least there's one place in America that's wearing like Teflon through the recession: Washington, D.C. Most corners of the economy may be struggling, but in the nation's capital it's boom times, baby.According to new data, the area's unemployment rate dropped to 5.6% in April from 5.9% in March. This is the second consecutive month of improvement for Washingtonians, and it's leagues from the national unemployment rate, which hit 9.4% in May.With unemployment for all government workers about half the private sector's rate, the Beltway has been spared the tightening elsewhere. The federal government is the second largest job sector in the area, making up 11.6% of jobs, while state and local government workers add another 10.4%. According to a February survey by the Greater Washington Initiative, Washington area business executives were also "significantly more positive" about their own companies and the region's prospects than about the national economy. Translation: It's good to be close to Uncle Sam when stimulus funds start flying.In a speech to GWI's conference last week, former venture capitalist and now Democratic Senator Mark Warner of Virginia saw nothing but green for most of Washington's public-private economy. "The federal government's level of activity in the economy is unprecedented," he said, adding that new stimulus projects and investments in green technology in particular look like a jackpot for the region. As Mr. Warner put it to the Washington Business Journal, "It helps to be where the money is." Or better yet, where everyone else's money gets sent."
Whoever has not bought this spring in North Arlington is officially proclaimed homeless. Woe is thou!I didn't, by the by.
"Arlington is really showing its strength. Looking good!"Yes, all you have to do is ignore the big picture and focus on the first positive blip up in medians in over a year. The real story here is that May of last year was an abnormally weak month for Arlington, making May of this year appear better in comparison.Arlington continues to sit stagnant with incredibly low sales and prices off their peaks.
Yah Hoo!Loudoun Co. coming on down!!
Leroy,At the same time there are still plenty of the people who have to buy for some reason, and they like Arlington and they have the dough. So they complain about high prices, negotiate a little bit and close. As an anecdote --- I have a colleague who is getting married, so they are a buying a townhome in Arlington for something like 720k and hope to sell their townhome (bought in 2005) in Reston sometime later this year.Very smart and practical people by the way. Well, what can I say. Way to go.Will be very interesting to see how prices will behave next year. Going to enjoy my rental place for a while, which is good anyway, since there is no place in the neighboorhood that will beat it for the price to quality.
Konstantin said: "At the same time there are still plenty of the people who have to buy for some reason, and they like Arlington and they have the dough. So they complain about high prices, negotiate a little bit and close."I think you hit the nail on the head, Konstantin, although I suspect there will be plenty of people here who react emotionally against you daring to utter the truth!
Tom, you recognize that the flip side of this is that there are always people who for some reason or another have to sell, right? Given the low sales numbers it looks like only these non-discretionary transactions are occurring. You'd think interest rates were at 14% or something...
"I think you hit the nail on the head, Konstantin, although I suspect there will be plenty of people here who react emotionally against you daring to utter the truth!"Ah yes, the "truth," with an exclamation mark no less.Clearly there are still sales taking place in Arlington, they never stopped. (nor has anyone asserted otherwise to my knowledge)They are however taking place at a level far below what was observed in Arlington even in the pre-bubble years, hardly a sign of a healthy market. I know in your dimly lit fantasy world all is well, all the time, which is why you are here singing Arlington's praises... but some of us prefer to deal with the real world. Arlington has done better than most of the area, but to try to portray it as somehow doing well is just flat stupid. It just posted its first increase in median prices since March of last year, and that is only because May of last year was anomalously low month.
No offense to the person posting this data, but:http://novabubblefallout.blogspot.com/2009/04/current-inventory-and-jim-ratio.html
Tom,I agree that denying the reality is not healthy. I mean it does not make sense to claim that prices in Arlington are tanking, while they are stagnant (and it does not add value to the discussion). I also would say that thinking too much about any decision is dangerous, almost as dangerous as thinking too little (need to enjoy life, move on, etc).But I saw quite a few traders paying pretty penny for the beatifully rated sub-prime CMO tranches in 2006/2007 only to see them marked down to 40c on the dollar. So the demand can be both healthy and not so healthy.I would say that currently in the greater DC area it is extremely bad idea to buy a house while stretching your finances (i would say do not borrow more than 500k for a house if you hh income is less than 200k). Given the changes in local economy I do not see incomes growing. Commercial RE is dead, DoD/HS are not growing for sure, contractors like saic/caci are not growing, financial companies like etrade, capital one, fannie/freddie are not hiring (at best) and there are no bonuses there. not much bright future for it/tech as well.
What's funny, Cara, is that nobody actually HAS to buy, but some people actually HAVE to sell. I guess they skipped that part at Tom's training sessions at NAR.
kevin,many people only learn only on their own mistakes. so many people HAVE to buy, no matter what. even if this is a mistake. and i am not sure that it will be good for the country if people will get afraid of the real estate --- have to look at it more realistically, yes, but not be afraid of it, otherwise there'll be no usa here soon.
kevin,Indeed. No one HAS to sleep either, but for some buyers the concept of moving into a rental first is as much of a non-option as a week of sleepless nights. Sure, some of that is NAR indoctrination of "you just have to deal with the market as it is", but it can also be percieved practical reasons.I look at some of the housing decisions in my circle in the bubble and come up with all kinds of root desires that weren't worth the 100k losses. To have room for a dog, to have a yard you can garden in, to have the first family thanksgiving in 20 years with all the daughters there (and last). The indoctrination to buy anyway, regardless of conditions is strong.What Tom's counting on is that these feelings of NEEDing to buy are more powerful than the very real financial reasons why someone might need or be forced to sell.
If Tom had actually attended any training sessions he would be doing something smarter than the transparent pumping he has been doing.Something more along the lines of what the NAR is doing honestly... "Arlington houses are selling for prices well below where they were four years ago in 2005*, and interest rates are at record setting lows!** Now is an amazing time for new buyers to become part of the American dream, and they are taking advantage in droves!*** Get your foot in the door now! "* In the month of May** Or they were, briefly anyways*** Not actually true, but whatever.
"To have room for a dog, to have a yard you can garden in, to have the first family thanksgiving in 20 years with all the daughters there (and last)."Thing is, you can find all of those things in a rental property. Probably now more easily than ever with SFH owners renting out their houses (maybe this wasn't as common in 2004-06?).
Anon412,You can now, and with a little searching you could then too, but that's where the indoctrination part comes in.
Hey, not to interrupt the conversation but I just wanted to thank everyone for all the constructive thoughts on my husband's job search (from the thread the other day where I lost my s&^5 on Robert). I meant to come back and reply specifically but my little guy came down with some kind of puking virus that night (fun times). *back to regularly scheduled thread*
Until the monthly sales in Arlington are not at 12 year lows or next-to-lowest levels, I won't have confidence that a "normal" market has returned.
Given the conversation last week I'm really interested in what the Arlington-Alexandria differential will be when this was all over.I can say as someone in Fairfax County during the 1980s-90s that we viewed those two as sorta similar/urbanish/declining. Looking back sorta unfair because the parts above Route 29 appear always to have been nice.Having really gotten to know inside the Beltway (and DC) this decade I can say Arlington has become really nice. With all due respect to CRT and others, Alexandria still is a little iffy and with the exception of one poster with two top Ph.D. kids from TC Williams, I think you mostly get a substandard education from there.So I am really expecting an Arlington-Alexandria differential to grow. Using these numbers we barely saw any differential in 2006-08. Now in 2009, Alexandria is 81% the price of Arlington. Just one month's data of course so the usual caveats.
er mean to say North Arlington has become nice. I view South Arlington (minus Pentagon and Crystal City) with the same skepticism I do with Alexandria (minus Old Town).
[Oh and I still predict prices will continue falling in Arlington. For now this looks like a one month blip. I think they will fall *more* in Alexandria though. So I'm not taking Tom's stance that Arlington has bottomed out and may even go up.]
TBW-I agree having grown up in Fairfax Station, I always thought that Arlington and Alexandria were kind of dirty cities. I thought for the most part they where were you lived if you couldn't afford a larger house with land particularly since commutes were not nearly as bad back then. I now consider Arlington near a metro stop to be very nice, I still feel the same way about Alexandria(excluding nice parts like Old Town).I apologize that I might be ignorant about what it is actually like I don't go there very often. I am just giving the opinion I and many of my friends who also grew up here have.
tbw, et alI always thought N. Arlington was nice. I used to drive Wash. Blvd daily in the early 80's. When 66 opened, it seemed to divide the so-so from the good.For a year or so I worked in S.Arl and it was pretty sketchy. This was mid-80's.
Initial comments: Lots of interesting things here. INNER COUNTIES. For starters, you cant ignore that little "+" sign we see next to Arlington median prices - first one weve seen in 13 months (21 or more months outside the beltway). You knew it had to happen eventually as the mix changes, its just a bit of a surprise that the last one to start going negative is the first county to go positive again. Its amazing to think a year ago, "its moving in" was running rampant on this blog - eventually the pain would be spread evenly throughout all the counties. Now it looks like it very well could be "last in, first out" just as that case-shiller piece suggested.Its still to early to say all is well. Arl High end sales experienced a nice little pop (helping to push the median price higher), but while high end MOI is trending down, its still kinda high. By and large, it still looks like high end credit is frozen, but perhaps now its now got a candle under it, helping it thaw.OUTER COUNTIES - First thing again is the prices. YOY Rate of decline has slowed dramatically, and PWC moved much higher MOM. I assumed PWC would post 170-175K median prices every month this year so (no seasonality) so im surprised to see a monthly jump to 190K. As more of that ultra low end inventory dries up, its possible median prices here will start showing "+" signs toward the second half of the year. Still, outer county high end sales remain in the deep freeze. Heres 700K+ listings and sales (all areas) for May:Arl 46 sales/319 lists (6.9 MOI)Alx 23 sales/192 lists (8.3 MOI)Ffx 113 sale/1395 list (12.3 MOI)Lou 25 sales/420 lists (16.8 MOI)PWC 6 sales/160 lists (26.6 MOI)This is a slight improvement MOM, but its still way to high. At one point all 5 counties had very similar MOI. As long as this divergance continues, expect more concentrated pain the farther out you go.The Final issue is sales. As some have noted, Arlington has very low sales. What is noteworthy however Loudoun is now at a 9 YEAR LOW in sales - incredible considering the population has grown 58% during that time frame. Likewise, FFX & PWC are just beating YOY rates, but will likely go negative soon. If you recall, this was the primary knock against Arl & Alex last year. Every month as they continued to post decent numbers - much better than their outer county bretheren - you kept hearing here "sales are down" "sales are down"!!! - as if it was a sign of increased pain on the horizon.Now it looks like the only reason outer county sales were up was due to the ocean of foreclosures. Turns out, sales are or will be down here too, it just took a year of crushing prices to catch up with the inner counties. If this downturn is anything like the last one, I full expect this to continue. Last time round price declines stopped in 1992 but sales didnt bottom til 1996. Prices stagnated for that 4 year period til sales started increasing again. It very well could be the period of major price declines (or milder ones inside the beltway) are over, and now the stagnation has begun.
Konstantine said... contractors like saic/caci are not growingFALSE SAIC latest numbersCACI latest numbers
"Heres 700K+ listings and sales (all areas) for May:Arl 46 sales/319 lists (6.9 MOI)Alx 23 sales/192 lists (8.3 MOI)Ffx 113 sale/1395 list (12.3 MOI)Lou 25 sales/420 lists (16.8 MOI)PWC 6 sales/160 lists (26.6 MOI)"Rounding out the region, for $700k-$2.5MM in May: DC 79 sales / 679 lists (8.6 MOI)MoCO 118 sales / 1156 lists (9.8 MOI)PG 2 sales / 138 lists (69 MOI)Looking at the very specific and weird segment of the market of high-end condos, in DC in May there were6 sales / 210 lists (35 MOI)In Arlington, there were 47 condos listed in the $700k-$2.5MM price range, but zero sales. So, for $600k-$2.5MM it is,3 sales / 72 lists (24 MOI) (DC for $600k-$2.5M is 19 sales / 292 lists for 15.3 MOI)Condos under $600k seem to be selling well, but above that it seems that there are entirely too many on the market for the number of people who are willing to spend that much money on a place to live without having a yard. (Of course, lending requirements may have something to do with it as well.)
CRT said...If this downturn is anything like the last one, I full expect this to continue. Last time round price declines stopped in 1992 but sales didnt bottom til 1996. Prices stagnated for that 4 year period til sales started increasing again. It very well could be the period of major price declines (or milder ones inside the beltway) are over, and now the stagnation has begun.Again we see another poster fighting the last war -- 1990-1991...Generals are notorious for their tendency to "fight the last war" -- by using the strategies and tactics of the past to achieve victory in the present. Indeed, we all do this to some extent. Life's lessons are hard won, and we like to apply them -- even when they don't apply.Sadly enough, fighting the last war, is often a losing proposition. Conditions change. Objectives change. Strategies change. And you must change. If you don't, you lose.
CRT,Right now I work/live/play in DC. I want to evenutally buy in Arlington and probably once I have a family move out to Fairfax.But if Arlington starts costing $800k+ for a TH and above and Loudoun goes down to $200k for McMansions I am so moving to Loudoun and getting a job in Dulles, Reston, or Tysons.I mean if you start to get to ridiculous price differentials like that (which seems to be your prediction if Arlington will be last in, first out), then you are essentially paying a huge tax to work in DC.
Robert,Good. Maybe I'll work for SAIC or CACI and get a nice suburban home in Fairfax, Loudoun, or Prince William County. I'll be richer then I am now with probably 2x the salary but a job in DC.
"TBW said - So I am really expecting an Arlington-Alexandria differential to grow. Using these numbers we barely saw any differential in 2006-08. Now in 2009, Alexandria is 81% the price of Arlington. Just one month's data of course so the usual caveats."TBW - I doubt you will see much. Remember as much as the demographics have improved in Arl, they have improved nearly as much in Alex. (Both had significantly higher median HH income growth than the rest of the area - both saw declining white populations for decades, now returning in the thousands). I think part of it is you are confusing areas that are now "nice" with areas that still arent "nice" but have seen dramatic change for the good. I completely agree with you, there are large swaths of Alex that are very "iffy". And the schools really do suck. However, some of those areas that are now "iffy" were just flat out dangerous a bit more than a decade ago. Schools that were flat out disfunctional, are now just very substandard.Same thing with DC (which also has dramatically improving demographics - just not as strong as Arl & Alex). Large swaths of DC went from being the most dangeous places in the US to just iffy. DC is still extremely dangerous, and its schools are so bad they make the crappy Alex schools look like the ivy league. Still, considering how far into the depths of disfunction DC fell, thanks to its newfound mediocrity, its no surprise that DC rose the most and has held on to the greatest percentage of its gains of all 3 areas. By contrast, Arlington was never really dangerous like Alex & DC were. Arlington went from shabby/iffy to nice. The change from "iffy" to "nice" is very dramatic, but not much more so from "dangerous" to "iffy". Thus the differential between the two is not much greater than it was before. Put another way, Arlington may have gone from the #2 to #1 destination in all of NOVA, but Alex has gone from #3 to #2. Arlington is still the #1 choice - but relatively speaking they are both beneficiaries of the changes seen the last decade.
Robert,I wish that SAIC/CACI had a great future, but most of my friends employed there are not very comfortable. They expect big cuts in budgets in the next couple of years when the tightening of the federal budget will happen.
"TBW said...But if Arlington starts costing $800k+ for a TH and above and Loudoun goes down to $200k for McMansions I am so moving to Loudoun and getting a job in Dulles, Reston, or Tysons.I mean if you start to get to ridiculous price differentials like that (which seems to be your prediction if Arlington will be last in, first out), then you are essentially paying a huge tax to work in DC."This is the substitution effect, something we have been talking about ad nauseaum for the last 2+ years on this site: As the price differentials between areas started, the assumption was, it will pull down the inner areas (all part of the "its moving in thesis"). Then price differentials got big, starting a new round of it will pull down the inner areas that much more. Then the price differential got massive, followed by more calls to pull down the inner areas even more. This is true, but its not new, and not as dramatic as some would like. Substiution has been at work since 2006, but it hasnt been as powerful as hoped. Plus once we found out that demographic data showing the disparity in gains, the disparity in pricing made that much more sense. Now that the bottom is in sight, it seems highly unlikely that the differential (which has gotten wider and wider over time) will suddenly shrink.I will say there is one way I think the differential could shrink but it may not be the way everyone would like. For a long time, ive been wondering if the outer areas (especially PWC) have overcorrected - meaning that they will start to show more dramatic gains while the inner areas see much less dramatic gains or even stagnation. Thats another way the differential could lessen, but I hasten to bring it up as wouldnt make many happy here. Still, it should be something to watch for.
Conditions change. Objectives change. Strategies change.To this I would add (for both war and housing market), "geography changes".In 1995, I knew people who people who had the barrel of a shotgun stuck in their ear, in Foggy bottom. And Penn Quarter/Chinatown? Tuh. Try to get a complaint taken care of at DC DMV or another city service? Tuh! Water quality? Exploding manhole covers?This is my biggest concern as to a cause if prices downtown don't return to a strict inflation adjusted trendline starting in 1998, 2000 or 2002.Here's my question: have Arlington and Alexandria neighborhoods' qualities of life also improved that much? Or just gotten more thickly (high-demand) settled?Will these areas avoid a reversion to inflation trend?I'm sure I've seen some mentions of this on here, but I only know the area since 1995 and for Alex/Arl, I only have lived-there familiarity with a certain Alex neighborhood for 1995-2002.
CRT,You are ignoring something important. Arlington has three base high schools (and a quasi-magnet in HB Woodlawn). Alexandria has one high school (it used to have more but merged them all to comply with desegregation orders.)Arlington has a crappy HS (Wakefield) but the other two base HSs are nice. HB Woodlawn is highly regarded. On the other hand, no matter how fancy your home in Alexandria is your children go to TC Williams.
CRT,You are mischaracterizing my argument. I'm not talking about substitution between 2005-09. I'm saying if over 2009-11 prices in FX, LO, and PW continue to go down and Arlington stays flat or increases you will see lots of people give up on working in DC. Now, if you are a law firm partner making $1 million plus or a lobbyist making $1 million plus (and so on) you will not care about these prices. But why would anyone else work in DC? Now you'll always have some Capitol Hill staffers and non-profit kids willing to live on ramen noodles for the experience (or be heavily subsidized by parents) during their 20s.But at some point you hit a wall with people in their 30s, young families, even singles who want more than a studio condo.To be honest, this sort of substitution has been happening plenty already. There already are few jobs in DC that are not excessively high salary or filled with idealistic fresh college graduates. But there are a few jobs that have people in their early 30s, young families, etc where people make $80-120k. You really expect them to commute from beyond Vienna to get to downtown DC? At some point the transit/commute/smaller home costs become so excessive that people will just shift to suburban jobs. Which again already has been happening.
...and in any event, my comment is more autobiographical and not really meant as a big macro-argument. I'm just saying what *I'll do.* I will (as many Americans before have done) move further out to have more home and/or lower home costs. Luckily in this metro area, I also can find a nice job in the suburbs as well.
If you do a three month moving average of the average sales price by different types of housing (from March through May), comparing 2008 to 2009, you get the following results for Arlington:Detached $768,876 to $682,945 (-11.1% YOY)Attached $586,173 to $526,187 (-10.2% YOY)Condo $375,642 to $371,388 (-1.1% YOY)That's a broader and fairer picture of the spring buying season than any one month.Other YOY indicators -Average days on market: 80 for 2009 vs. 68 for 2008 (worse)Average Sales price as a percentage of average list price: 92.19% for 2009 vs. 92.31% for 2008 (same/very weak)Months of inventory 4.17 for 2009 vs. 4.62 for 2008 (better)It will be absolutely fascinating to see the effect of higher interest rates - they've risen by about 1 percentage point since late April according to today's MBA survey - going into the summer season.
TBW - I dont think I am ignoring that. As I noted before, as crappy as TC williams is. Its no worse than the abysmal selections available throughout DC. Alot of it has to do with self-selection. There are an increasing number of childless couples (either young couples by choice, or older couples as kids move away and they have more time as empty nesters) as a percentage of all households in the USA. The assumption is these groups will select areas like Alex and DC where they dont care much about the schools being in the crapper versus paying the extra premium associated with the good schools in Arlington. It looks like that is exactly what happened.
"TBW said...CRT,You are mischaracterizing my argument. I'm not talking about substitution between 2005-09. I'm saying if over 2009-11 prices in FX, LO, and PW continue to go down and Arlington stays flat or increases you will see lots of people give up on working in DC."I understand and I dont disagree in the slightest. Say inner counties are now down 15% and outer counties down 30%. If the outercounties fall to -50%, I agree that there is no way the inner counties stay at -15%. However, instead of falling all the way to -50%, they may only fall to -25%...that is what I am suggesting. Again, this isnt new. A few years ago that case shiller piece suggested the "last in first out" scenario. So far, that looks to be precisely what is happening.
For TBW: So "Newsweek" just released its challenge rankings for 1500 high schools which represent 6% of the 27,000 high schools in the United States. Arlington's "crappy" Wakefield High School ranked #125 and Alexandria's "crappy" TC Williams High School ranked #804. I guess someone thinks these two schools are doing something right....
CRT,Okay, sounds like we agree then on the notion that the differential between Arlington and Fairfax-Loudoun-Prince William cannot get ridiculous. anielarke,The ranking is not a ranking of high schools. It is just how many AP/IB tests the students take. It does not even take into account how many students pass the AP test (score of 3-5). When Jay Mathews started this ranking in the Washington Post he called it the "Challenge Index." Newsweek (owned by the Washington Post) realized saying "America's Best High Schools" was sexier and would sell more magazines. However the methodology did not change.Also, I'd recommend you look at where the remaining Northern Virginia high schools rank. #804 is pretty low compared to most of them. Nothing to crow about.
anielarke,Wakefield HS is #125. The two closest area high schools in the ranking are McLean HS at #112 and Fairfax HS at #131.Show of hands -- does anyone here but anielarke think Wakefield is a peer high school to McLean HS or Fairfax HS?
and..OP..Osbourn Park in PW where my son went ranked 406..PW schools did OK considering "we be lower than whale chit" on this board..Oh have I ever mention the MIT kid across the culdesac?..He turned them down for Va. Tech..Oh yes he did..
You didn't name me but I'd like to note for the record I have never attacked Prince William County Schools.
TBW: Sorry -- not crowing but I will say that Wakefield has more similarities to McLean High School than you think. Remember the tony high school in McLean is Langley. East of Rt. 123, there are many rental apartments and relatively inexpensive houses which feed into McLean HS. Check the demographics. In a previous post I had said that TC Williams was better than most of the schools in the US in educating students. You continue to call it a "crappy" school and you did the same with Wakefield. Just trying to point out that your "crappy" schools are better than most of the schools in the United States. You can argue with the methodology of the Challenge Index but it is an indication of the quality of a school. Also for Kevin who thinks no one really "has" to buy: obviously you have never lived in a one bedroom apartment with a pregnant woman. Kevin, if you had, you would have already bought a condo/townhouse/house.
Dang, my high school, a TINY but well-funded school from a far away small state, made the top 1200 the last 3 years, but alas, not on the list this year.
anielarke,It is true that Langley HS is 1% free/reduced lunch and McLean HS is 8% free/reduced lunch. However that 8% is pretty low. TC Williams free/reduced lunch rate is 50%. http://www.acps.k12.va.us/fastfact.php
Sorry, sorry, long day at work and not enough sleep. You were comparing Wakefield to McLean not TC Williams.Wakefield's free/reduced lunch percentage is 48.35%.http://www2.apsva.us/15401081104241813/blank/browse.asp?a=383&BMDRN=2000&BCOB=0&c=54554
For a little levity, here is a video of anielarke visiting TC Williams HS:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVF-nirSq5s;)
For Manassas and Manassas Park zips:% change YOY:20110-40.48% 5/08-50.48% 6/08-38.83% 7/08-55.77% 8/08-53.22% 9/08-56.13% 10/08-51.91% 11/08-45.88% 12/08-33.05% 1/09-43.48% 2/09-28.81% 3/09-30.25% 4/09-13.89% 5/0920111-40.65% 5/08-49.12% 6/08-56.15% 7/08-47.20% 8/08-49.18% 9/08-54.29% 10/08-43.09% 11/08-38.88% 12/08-46.87% 1/09-34.91% 2/09-44.65% 3/09-36.86% 4/09-21.15% 5/09Sales/Available >$500K201100-140-130-100-90-90-70-60-41-30-40-30-20-2201111-322-292-263-230-180-163-120-120-121-140-130-201-21The decrease in YOY drops is impressive, almost a halt, and high end remains dead. Other trends: FHA and cash sales dominate these zips. "Avg Sale Price as a percentage of Avg List Price" is the healthiest I've ever seen, at about 95%. # of sales only slightly up from last year, and contracts vs contingent contract is an even split. Contracts under 30 days has shot up over the spring.So for properly priced properties under $500K, it's a pretty good market.
From what I've heard, there is a huge range in PWC school quality.I can only speak definitely of the City of Manassas schools, which were terrible when I attended them and have gotten even worse. (The high school was 1175 on that index; I'm surprised it made the list.)
And lol at anielarke. Sad but true. When I was pregnant with our second, I became insanely convinced that we needed to buy a house before the baby came. I wanted a homebirth, but not a rentalbirth. Totally irrational, right?
Meshell I agree there is a world of difference between Osbourn and OP.I happen to know quite a few kids that have attended both and I know what they say about classes and teachers. But school systems are best judged by the people that have their children there. The HS's are ok..our middle schools are where you need to be extra careful and attentive to what is going on. I think every county has middle school problems, tho.
Konstantine said...I wish that SAIC/CACI had a great future, but most of my friends employed there are not very comfortable. They expect big cuts in budgets in the next couple of years when the tightening of the federal budget will happen.Wow, you don't understand SAIC. Can't speak for CACI, but SAIC goes where the money is. And the money is coming...
"And the money is coming..."WTF are you talking about? The country is broke. The only money that is coming is from a) China or b) the Fed will cause hyper-inflation and print it.What kind of economic model do you see where money is coming in? What money? IOU's?
Meshell, the "rentalbirth" I had last time was the #2 reason we tried so hard to buy our rental from our landlord! (#1 was total dread of moving twice in 10 months) And now I'm quietly getting obsessed with "blessing" our new house with a homebirth so it can feel like it's really ours.I was sad and furious that when I tried to say goodbye to our bedroom where our son was born at our rental house, our landlord and his henchmen were crowding around. I had a perverse impulse to scream to everyone leering at me in the kitchen: "My son was circumcised on this very kitchen counter!!" That's the only thing that was hard to leave.
Tom,Yes, (b), the gov't will borrow the money from China. Hyper-inflation is good for real estate.
Aw, Tabitha, how frustrating. Everyone I know who had an out-of-hospital birth feel so much of a connection to the actual birth space--something about the intensity of the feelings getting imprinted on the physical space, kwim? We ended up going back to the birthing center again because I couldn't "see" a birth here. Labor was so fast that we really should have stayed put-I practically had the baby on King St!I really, really want a homebirth in an actual home for any future children.
Tabitha and Meshell: I am sure that you have sent some of our fellow-bloggers back into their man caves with your warm memories of childbirth. But you are right about that natural nesting instinct which kicks in well before the baby's first kick. Two of my Arlington flips in January were to two pregnant couples who decided to buy a little early before their babies were born. Husbands were holding out for lower prices, but the wives wanted a house (don't think either did home births) so that was that. Personally, we had owned the famous Burke townhouse and then a condo in Arlington but I decided we had to have a real house before our first was born. When we finally found a house we could afford (interest rates were about 15%), I was so pregnant that I did not see the second floor of the house or the basement. It was the standard Arlington colonial so I knew what both would look like.
anie,Kind of the same thing here. We had moved alot and just sold a new house that we only lived in 6 mos. We decided to get a TH because we had bought a weekend place...well, 6 months later we found out we were pregnant and I felt we needed a real house (not a TH), so we moved again.OT: IRRATIONAL EXUBERANCE?????I am seeing many re-listed reo's and shorts coming back on at 20% more than April or May prices.ex: prev. listing 129K, now 159KWhat is up? Overcorrection being correction or crazy over=paying?
p.s. please excuse all my spelling and grammer (grammar?) mistakes.Don't read as much now that I need glasses; getting old and losing brain cells; can't find "spell check" thing; etc., etc....I used to be smart.
Tired Bubble Watcher: After seeing the video of me visiting TC Williams High School (and I recommend all of you watch it too, so you will know what TBW is all about), I now understand that your "knowledge" of local schools is not based solely on your ability to find the free lunch stat on school websites but your initimate knowledge of "after school" specials. You must still be seething that you went to a dopey suburban high school, then a second-tier state school and cannot afford to buy even a condo, while my children went to "crappy" TC Williams and are finishing PhDs at two of the top schools in the country. And they own condos, too -- bought with money earned from summer jobs at Intel and the New York Fed and from college funds they did not have to use because of the scholarships they earned.
anie,Don't take the bait.I'd rather hear your take on these crazy price increases. Dead cat? Or, did certain areas over-correct?
Meshell/aniel,I do apologize for the OT nature of my birth memories. But I do wish the world could hear of the bliss that is possible when you have a baby at home. And it seriously was a huge magnetic hold over us at our last rental. When I knew we had to move, I wanted to rip up the ugly bathroom floor and frame it, or something, as a memento. And it was the coolest thing when we still lived there, to stand in the very spot where he was born several times a day. Empowering.(Meshell, I go very quickly, as well. Every other place we lived, we were close to the hospital, but being far from the hospital where my OB delivered was what made our homebirth possible, so it's all good. I've heard of births on 66 from other military wives who live around here, and who Tricare tried to send to Bethesda. Dumb dumb dumb.)
"Can't speak for CACI, but SAIC goes where the money is. And the money is coming..."From where?The buzz is that the government is broke.
Annie..I second Va_Investor. I really appreciate your insights and Va_Investor I'm in the same boat as you espically after a long day of "puter" work. I have also spotted foreclosures that are coming back on the market with a higher list and short sale. Is that legal to SS a foreclosure? I didn't watch the video until you said to. Today was really stressing with the shooting and stuff. I always wondered how our rental cops would perform. They were execellent.
Va Investor & Arkey: I only take the bait so that I can re-use it for the trap I set. I am sure TBW is scouring the web and youtube for some scathing rebuttal...I feel terrible about that poor security guard -- but kudos to his fellow guards who acted quickly or it could have been much worse. price increases are from lack of inventory and no lack of buyers.Flipper I know bought a foreclosure near Crystal City and sold it in January for $500,000. Deal fell apart around April (he had to wait because buyer was using FHA financing and there is a 3 month wait for fips to re-sell). He put it back on the market in May with no changes and sold it within days at $549,000 he priced it low in January because he was afraid the market was gone, but by May he realized it was back. I mostly follow Arlington and know that there are very few short sales, foreclosures or bargains available. The market is now more normal with a bit of pent up demand. Even the $1 million plus market is getting some life with a number of recent sales of houses which were on the market close to a year or more. I don't think the market is robust, but I think it is trending toward normal.
"Konstantin said... Tom,I agree that denying the reality is not healthy. I mean it does not make sense to claim that prices in Arlington are tanking, while they are stagnant (and it does not add value to the discussion)."It looks like denial, especially about Arlington has been a staple of this blog. Just read some of the early postings of this and the bubble meter blog. Back then the doomers were out in force all predicting a catastrophe in Arlington - if we all simply waited long enough. Remember Neil (got popcorn) with his 40% off calls?In hindsight, it was all wishful thinking. They dispensed the doomish-kool-aid (doom-aid), and those of us wanting to see big drops in arlington just lapped it up...glug, glug glug!!!
tbw,On that ACPS page you provided the link for did you fail to miss this?For the 2008 graduating class:Students to post-secondary education: 4-year college - 68.5%; 2-year college - 26.5% According to FCPS stats page- Graduates attending post-secondary programs: 92% (2008) Also, you do realize that over 20% of FCPS students are FRL and 13% are ESOL. Mclean and Langley are not at all representative of the general FCPS student population.
Anonymous said: "In hindsight, it was all wishful thinking. They dispensed the doomish-kool-aid (doom-aid), and those of us wanting to see big drops in arlington just lapped it up...glug, glug glug!!!"Right you are. I see more and more posters now acknowledging the reality that Arlington remains strong and is getting stronger. But the holdout crowd is still capable of lashing back -- even objecting to the use of an exclamation point (!!!)
contrarian,very useful stuff today, thanks. I'll light a fire under my mom about her refi, I don't think she fully realizes that it's now or never for scheduling the close. And a site that lets you find out who holds the loan! Fantastic (not that I've looked at it, but still).And hey, congrats all, we made the top 10 states in foreclosures! Woohoo!Tabitha/Meshell, I do appreciate your stories, Tabitha, you should have screamed that at them, it would have been awesome!!! But, probably just as well to just tell us here. Hyper-rationalizing me is trying to hold off on having kids partly because I know what the hormones turned my sister into (wasn't pretty). Just in case I get hit just as strongly (likely) I don't want to be on the house-hunting market then.
anielarke said..."Also for Kevin who thinks no one really "has" to buy: obviously you have never lived in a one bedroom apartment with a pregnant woman. Kevin, if you had, you would have already bought a condo/townhouse/house."I rent a 3BR house on a quarter acre lot. For cheap. Equivalent purchase price would cost nearly double per month. Nice try though, throwing the "renters live in tiny apartments and hate their pregnant wives" bullshit.
contrarian,thanks again. My mom has her closing date set for 4 days before her lock expires. Crossing fingers.
Post a Comment
Subscribe in a reader