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.
The architect/city planner Roger Lewis Lewis columnwas waving his arms wildly at this buyer, but I guess the buyer missed them: wait, I think we could get one more gable in there!
sorry, for those first two deletions due to messed up links.
AceMoney, or access to credit is independent of taste. Unfortunately.(corrected link)http://franklymls.com/AR7045597We've got 7 places to check out this weekend. 3 THs and 4 SFHs, all of them are real possibilities. I'm cautiously hopeful, but if none of them pans out, we'll keep building on that nest egg.
Hope something interesting turns up, Cara.
DC2--as for plane noise, it really doesn't bother me, and I only hear it when planes are taking off to the north AND I have my windows open. I don't even hear it otherwise. I don't live on the river, but I'm fairly close.What does bother me is when pilots stray from the course they are supposed to fly, which is directly over the Potomac. Just go stand on the Key bridge for half an hour when they are landing to the south and count how many planes "cut the corner" and fly over Rosslyn instead of the river. You'll never get me in one of those new really tall condo buildings--too close to the flight path for my comfort, considering how many pilots "cheat."
Re: the plane noise - someone pointed out it has alot to do with the way they are flying.90% of the time, they land coming in from the south, and take off going to the north. And since they generally climb faster than they descent, the noise is worst for those on the landing path. In this case the potomac yards residents in Alexandria really hear it.However, about 10% of the time the winds dictate they land from the north, and take off heading south. In these cases, certain parts of arlington do bear the brunt of the noise (especially when they "cut the corner" as paka notes). Incidentally, have you ever been on a flight where they land from the north and dont cut the corner? Talk about scary! The difference in direction from the typical descend over Alexandria route is like night and day.
Interesting, Anonymous. I tend to disagree with the loudness re landing/takeoff. At least in my experience, I rarely ever hear them landing from the north, but I do hear them taking off to the north (despite the fact that they gain faster than they descend) because their engines are at full thrust for takeoff but not for landing.I do agree that when you are on the plane, landing is very different from the north vs. from the south.
Robert was commenting on the 71,000unemployed in NoVa. It's not a huge number, not like detroit but lets see what it means.Say 60% are homeowners, reflecting the general stats of the area.So 42,000 are newly unemployed homeowners.Say it fits the spectrum of house debt, where 1/3rd are free and clear, 1/3rd are paying down and hold equity, and 1/3 are underwater (Bought since 2005).So 14,000 are going to look to find jobs fast or mail the keys to the bank, because unemployment won't pay the mortgage.and 14,000 will hang loose until the spring, throw it on the market if they can't get jobs.and how many homes are in inventory right now? 14,000.And how many are in shadow inventory? It's hard to say, Realtrac says something amazing,but i spoke with the former senior economist at Fannie Mae and she told me RealtyTrac is ratty data.But if hiring doesn't pick up soon, expect the NOD's to expand and the jingle mail to expand and listings to expand.
The nice flipper house near Dunn Loring is under contract already.http://franklymls.com/FX7183355
Genius. Pulitzer Prize Material.I actually have unscrewed shower heads when I move to take favorite ones along in the fear that I wouldn't find a suitable replacement.Feeble Shower Heads & Why we hate them:]
Re: the plane noise It's only going to get worse as the National Airspace System transitions from the 1950's era "Interstate System in the Sky/Victor Airways" method of Air Traffic Control to GPS route guidance. The old way of planes following "interstates" in the sky will change and become more point to point as GPS approaches replace this outdated method.D.C. may get a breather due to unique security concerns, but many places that are near airports but don't suffer overflights (IAD has neighborhoods that come to mind) will certainly suffer them in the future as airlines transition to the new GPS based routes.
Paka -- you might be right. I will need to pay more attention to the noise when I hear it and note whether its @ takeoff or landing.Pat - regarding the 71K unemployed in Nova, and the assumption that 60% are homeowners, I think you need to discount further in that unemployment seems to be skewed to lower educated who are more likely to be renters.Over at bubble meter, they are reporting that the unemployment rate among college graduates is only 4.7 per cent, while it is 15.5 per cent among those without a high-school diploma. Thus, assuming you, like so many here are interested in a higher end home, you need to discount for this.I should note, I never really liked the raw unemployment numbers cause it tells us nothing about which types of jobs are being lost. However, we do have this:http://www.cra-gmu.org/current-indicators/USandWashingtonAreaEconomiesNov%209.pdfAs you can see on page 15, the DC area has lost a ton of jobs in the "construction" and "retail trade" sectors -- neither of which is likely to have a significant impact on higher end homes.It also looks like we are still gaining jobs in the "government" "educational & health services" and "Professional & Business services" (i.e. lawyers & consultants) sectors.There does seem to be some loss in "information" and "finance" sector jobs, both of which would be relevant for professional housing -- however, on the whole it looks like the sectors most interested in professional type housing are still gaining jobs.
Pat - now that I think about it, if your home postings are any guide, you seem to be most interested in DC city housing in transitional areas. Much of this is likely held by blue collar types, meaning, the DC jobs trend actually helps you quite a bit!
Regarding plane noise...I am sorta annoyed at people who come to the nuisance and then stop progress. For example, there is a 1250 mile perimeter rule at DCA. Because of lobbying (particularly on John McCain's part for Phoenix's US Airways) there are a ton of exceptions to the rule. But the rule is still there and limiting some options. Since DCA is much more convenient for many (not everyone of course) in this area because of its location and Metro stop it's nice when you can do a flight from there instead of Dulles. Every time they talk about lifting it Rep. Moran is like "oh but it would be too noisy for my constituents who live there." And it's like DCA has been open since 1941. No one who lives there now was unaware there's an airport there.It's the same thing with I-66 and Arlington. I doubt there's many people living in a home near I-66 who were unaware that it might be expanded. Or I-95/395.I see a sort of selfishness on the part of Arlingtonians that I don't see in other localities. Fairfax County did not sue or fight PWC over expanding I-66 in the Gainesville area or expanding Route 7 or the Dulles Toll Road. A lot of the road needs in Fairfax comes from the rapid expansion of PWC and Loudoun but you don't see Fairfax officials trying to screw them over by keeping everything as it was in 1960.
Ace,That does have too many gables. Still, I'm sure it's a large improvement over what was there before based on satellite photo of some of its neighbors. North Arlington should not still be rambler-ville (nor should many of the inner areas). These are not communities of GS-5 employees anymore.
Ace,No surprise there with FX7183355. I'd be hesitant to call that a flip. The profit came not from improving the home or waiting a short period of time. It was guaranteed for getting the home hundreds of thousands less than the prevailing rate.
tbw,Did you know that Burke was the originial proposed site for Dulles?In September 1950, Congress authorized a second airport for the Capital region and appropriated money for land acquisition. The move was made necessary by severe congestion of National's ground facilities and by saturated airspaces overhead from operations at National combined with those of two close-by military air bases. The following year the White House recommended Burke, Virginia, as the site, and condemnations proceedings and land acquisition began. Immediately, however, the Burke selection ran into strong opposition from the area's residents who were supported in their fight by their representatives in Congress.The fight went on until 1958 when Chantilly was chosen to be the site for Dulles. Could you imagine how different Southern Fx County would be if Dulles had been sited there?
HG, could you imagine how much worse 95 would be if they had? OMG that would be a nightmare. The Dulles area is so light with traffic even today that I think the current Dulles location was very wise.
hayfield,for someone who wasn't raised here from birth you are a wealth of trivia about the area, thanks!!!kevin,How does 95 get you to Burke? They would have needed to put in a new road from 495, just as they presumably did to Dulles.I'm glad they cited it in the boring flat boonies rather than the beautiful rolling hill boonies.
The Anonymous,It also looks like we are still gaining jobs in the "government" "educational & health services" and "Professional & Business services" (i.e. lawyers & consultants) sectors.There are definitely not more lawyers than there was a year ago or two years ago. They just released a study showing among the top 250 law firms by size non-partner positions are down 8% which is much more massive a loss than what we saw in the 90s and 00s recession. Also, for your college vs. non-college stat to be meaningful we have to know what the unemployment rate was pre-recession. College grads probably were at 1% unemployment then. So going up to 4.7% is a lot. Remember in a heavily educated area like Northern Virginia we see 1-2% unemployment rates outside of recessions.Also, I must again stress the unemployed are not the only ones hurting. The employed are facing salary cuts, salary freezes, benefit cuts, and concern they might be next. I don't know anyone who is being treated as well as they were in 2007.Also, Trinidad (where pat seems to be looking) is not blue collar. I have a hunch though pat is not looking to buy in a blue collar neighborhood but instead is one of many people in this area hoping to buy in a neighborhood full of crime, drugs, and poverty -- thus get a really inexpensive home -- and hope that it becomes yuppie enough to sell the home for 3-6x as much years later. People did do this successfully in the early and mid-2000s in places like Columbia Heights and Logan Circle but I think that era is over.
HayfieldGrad,Yes I became aware of that a couple years ago. It is interesting to think about how different things might be. Regarding kevin's question I agree with Cara that the DTR would just be a different route.It certainly did not seem like a smart decision at first. Dulles was a failure for a long time and people blamed how remote it was and called it a white elephant. I think Northern Virginia's economy was destined to grow but we probably would have seen more growth in southern Fairfax and PWC. However, I think Tysons would have happened either way. Even without 267 it still was the intersection of 123, 7, and 495. And driving from Tysons to Burke is not that onerous. And even easier if presumably there was an access road off of 495.
Just in case Dulles/Burke was brought in response to my Arlington complaint. I have no beef with Arlington's lawsuit in the 1960s-70s re I-66. I can understand why Arlington was mad that neighborhoods were being torn up for the interstate. I just don't see why anyone feels they have the right to move right next to something like I-66 and express shock that they had no idea it might be expanded and claim victimhood. They knew what they were getting into buying a home so close.
*move right next to I-66 after it existed
TBW, I called that the flipper house so that people might more easily remember it, because that's how it was referred to in the earlier posts.I strongly disagree with your characterization of people in Arlington. Re: 66, there are two key arguments that are compelling. First, when it was initially agreed to, parties foresaw that there would be a later push to widen it, and the terms of the agreement then were that it would not be widened, ever. Second, the evidence is strong that building more roads will simply create more demand for exurban housing, which will in turn create more transportation headaches, etc. Meanwhile Arlington pays the costs as neighborhoods would be lost, libraries, schools, businesses would be destroyed, tax base is reduced, etc. So the benefit is questionable and the costs are ENORMOUS for Arlington, ruining some very nice places to live. Finally, when will it end? 12 lanes? 24 lanes? The solution is not to build more roads but to find alternative transportation solutions. The great cities of Europe and (not to sound like our dear departed Lance) Manhattan didn't get built over so that more people could drive their cars into the central city. Instead, they built subways and other transit and full understood this would have to be partially publicly funded (rather than fully supported by user fees) since all benefit from the solution (just as we all pay for highways). There are quality of life issues that need to be taken very seriously here.As for the airports, that argument sounds a little like arguing that people who move near but not next to a school in the hopes that their kids can go there, have no basis for objecting if the school is vastly enlarged so that kids from miles around can go there. Of course the people who are within several miles of an airport know it's there, but they also know what restrictions were placed on flights, etc., and factored that in when they moved. That's not the same as saying they somehow agreed to any conditions that could be changed in the future. I had a neighbor who brought a sound meter to check noise levels before he moved to the house. He wouldn't have bought if the noise levels were too high. That's not to say that anyone gave him a guarantee but he (a lawyer) was well aware of what the restrictions were and factored that in. It is to say he's perfectly within his rights to speak up if conditions change, just as neighbors who might object to the building of a Wal-Mart or a drive-in Wendy's seeking a zoning variance down the street have similar rights. Was Arlington also "selfish" to oppose being overrun with traffic had the new baseball stadium been built there, as was initially proposed?When conditions may change, every neighborhood may decide to oppose planned changes. They may win and they may lose. But they didn't sign away their rights to speak up. Often, their activism is one of the reasons why neighborhoods are good places to live.
Contrarian, by George (Jetson), you've got it!
Concerning aircraft approach routes and such in the Arlington area, see this website:http://www.fltplan.com/AwListAppPlates.exe?a=1Scroll down and open the "River Visual RWY 19" and you'll see the approach route aircraft are to take on this route. Note particularly that pilots have a choice of whether to stay above the river (and thus make turns to stay aligned with the river) or to fly basically a straight line to the airport. This is why some have written that pilots are "straying off course" or "clipping the corner" at Rosslyn. The pilots are doing neither of these things -- they are exercising their prerogative under the approved approach procedure. Note that the River Visual RWY 19 is used only when weather conditions allow a visual approach. When an instrument approach is required, it's always a straight course into the airport.As for the transition now going on in the national airspace system, it's true that "free flight" from point to point is increasingly common, using onboard GPS guidance. But this occurs only after aircraft have left the airport traffic area/departure controlled area. It will produce no/no changes in the approach and departure patterns at airports, including Washington National.
How will this proposed budget freeze (5%) affect local housing?http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091113/ap_on_bi_ge/us_obama_deficit
Ace,I'll try to do best from Robert:How can you believe in government budget freezes? Where do you think all the contractors from SAIC will work? What happens to the country if another 10,000 clowns are not hired by DHS? How Obama can stop spending?Prices will go up in NoVA, end of the story.
"I have a hunch though pat is not looking to buy in a blue collar neighborhood but instead is one of many people in this area hoping to buy in a neighborhood full of crime, drugs, and poverty -- thus get a really inexpensive home -- and hope that it becomes yuppie enough to sell the home for 3-6x as much years later."Um guys, I'm a city kid, who loves the urban environment, and has enough work visits to congress that capitol hill is interesting.My job also has enough travel that access to Union station and BWI is handy.I just want a nice place, where we can have some friends over, not have to deal with the 14th street bridge, and not spend more then 250K.I like north arlington but it's outside my price tolerance, south arlington means figthing the 14th street bridge, and the H street corridor is looking to be a nice place to go out.i'm not looking for 3X value increase, just not a total wipeout of value.
It will produce no/no changes in the approach and departure patterns at airports, including Washington National.Dear ALPA partner,Let's engrave that promise in stone. I've lost count the number of planning meetings I've attended on both sides of the podium where it was said "...the proposed runway approach pattern departure path instrument approach terminal new construction toll road connector will have minimal impact on noise levels traffic patterns night time operations landings takeoffs congestion or the value of your home.Every EIS has one, and almost every EIS gets it wrong.Our only saving grace has been the FAA's inability to change the current system in a timely fashion. God help us all if they ever get it done fast and right.Cheers.;-]
pat,Have you ever considered looking at Ward 4 in DC? Areas like 16th Street Heights, Takoma, Shepherd's Park, Brightwood, and so on? Those are middle-class neighborhoods (and some upper-class neighborhoods) with low crime rates and affordable housing. Bus lines (and in Takoma's case Metrorail) go there.The area you are looking at is just really high crime -- according to the Washington City Paper the highest violent crime anywhere in the city. Trinidad was blockaded not too long ago by Fenty and Lanier because of a series of murders.
Ace,Any transportation infrastructure encourages sprawl. The Silver Line will encourage sprawl. There are people probably considering Reston now or Fox Mill (b/c of the Wiehle Avenue stop) who earlier might not have considered anything too far from Vienna Metro earlier. The second phase of the Silver Line also encourages more sprawl. All these stops make it *much* easier to commute from Herndon or Ashburn to Tysons, Arlington, and DC.I think you missed part of my point. It's called being a team player. There are many, many road upgrades VDOT does in Fairfax County that are basically just for Loudoun and PWC residents. Who do you think will benefit from 495 HOT Lanes? Probably mostly Montgomery County residents. Route 7 and 267 widening? Ashburn residents. And so on. No one is calling for an I-66 that is 12 lanes. No one is calling for lifting the HOV-2 restriction during rush hour. Most of the anger is at the fact that I-66 gets backed up on non-peak hours and weekends. There's no reason why I should be seeing congestion on I-66 at 3 pm on a Saturday. That's just silly.You do realize that lowering capacity on I-66 also can result in more cars riding Route 50, 29, GW Parkway, and so on? There has been almost no road growth in Arlington since the 1970s and yet Fairfax, Loudoun, and PWC have exploded in population. There's no evidence that people stop moving further out because of congestion. Also, it's not an either/or issue. All of the counties want both more roads and more rail.Btw - the NYC Subway is very old. Most of the transit expansion in NYC in the mid-20th century was roads. Read one of the thousands of articles on Robert Moses.
Ace,Maybe a personal anecdote will help. I walk to work, walk to restaurants, bars, etc in DC. I use my car maybe 4-6 times a month and always during off-peak hours (since I don't use it for work). I'm probably living a less car-heavy life than many Arlingtonians.I just think it's a bit silly if on the weekend I go visit family in Fairfax or go shopping out there that I sometimes get stuck in a traffic jam on 3 pm on a Saturday! That's insane.So when someone like me who lives a relatively urban/walkable lifestyle gets stuck in traffic on off-peak hours the few times he drives there is something wrong with the roads.
Ace,Thanks for the 5% article. This is the sort of belt tightening I told Robert was coming months ago. It's actually quicker than I thought it would come.
I'd rather have plenty of roads and sprawl than no sprawl and congestion.
Thanks for the discussion on airport traffic noise, roads, and overall transportation, all important issues to consider.
ACE,"The solution is not to build more roads but to find alternative transportation solutions."I've always thought pay as you go was the best solution. FastTrack should be standard equipment on all cars.
"It's the same thing with I-66 and Arlington. I doubt there's many people living in a home near I-66 who were unaware that it might be expanded." Unless of course they were aware of the decision by the Secretary of Transportation that allowed for the building of I-66, where it specifically states that the road would not be expanded.http://www.virginiadot.org/projects/idea66/downloads/Coleman-Decision.pdf
KeithK Between the Washington Blvd and Lee Hwy exit at the west of Arlington to Rosslyn at the east, there is already land within the current boundaries of Rt. 66 to add 2 more lanes. The width of Rt. 66 will not change if the two lanes are added and at one point, VDOT was planning to add the lanes. We haven't heard anything about it lately, so that might have been scrapped for political and financial reasons.
A 5% across the board discretionary spending cut would have a negative impact on the local housing market. I'm trying to hold back my laughter.
Ace and other Arlingtonians,I'm expanding my search parameters in case we need to buy something rather quickly.So, what can you tell me about the BARCROFT neighborhood in 22204 (SW corner of S George Mason and Arlington Blvd)? I know a little bit about the schools but any other info would be much appreciated. Prices there are probably 50K cheaper than comps in the N Arl, and I'm hoping there's also a more room for negotiations. I'll check the SO registry next.Tks!
MM, my personal opinion, based on no data at all (and I don't live in these zips), is that many parts of 22204 and 22206 are quite nice and they are currently a potentially a terrific bargain for people willing to take a risk. It's an easy commute to DC compared to many other places to live; if Arlington installs the trolley, it may be seen as more desirable but who knows whether that will proceed given budget problems now. My long standing opinion has been if there were a metro line near Col. Pike, that whole area would skyrocket in value. But that's not happening, and right now a house in the area you're looking is much less expensive than the same house in 22205, for example. Further, there are parts of 22201, 22203, 22205, etc. that are just as dicey, if not more so, than parts of 22204 and 22206, though the proportions differ. That's Arlington for you.Before I moved here years ago, I was given the advice "don't buy south of Route 50." For what it's worth.These nice neighborhoods are a bit more of a risk than they appeared to be 5 years ago, because 5 years ago, people might have expected continued "gentrification" given the convenience of the area and the benefits of Arl. Co. services, as prices were skyrocketing elsewhere. Now, people might expect the neighborhoods to remain the same, or even decline, since people like you might prefer to buy in N. Arl. if prices come down.It's my belief that Barcroft is generally perceived as one of the nice neighborhoods. When I've been there, that is my perception too.As for schools, some of the neighborhoods that feed to Wakefield HS have been actively pushing Arlington to invest as much in it as they have in other schools' structures. Again, this is going to be a tough fight due to the revenue declines recently. It's my understanding (but I do not have kids in school) that the quality of teaching and school services is high but the test scores are greatly affected by the demographics of the kids. Neighbors in the area in which you are looking will probably be very willing to discuss pros and cons with you.As I said, I am not as familiar with these areas (though I do have friends in Fairlington and it's wonderful). So someone else here may be able to correct me.
Sorry, TBW, I really don't think I missed your point; I think you and I just fundamentally disagree on this and there are many other people who do as well. The label "selfish" is just as valid or not valid for people who want someone else's neighborhood paved over to make it convenient for them to drive over it, as for the neighborhood dwellers who object. The other transportation options may be able to transport far more people, and can be built underground or in other ways to be less disruptive to neighbors than adding more lanes. Some critics of widening 66 have also pointed out there are alternatives, such as timing the lights on route 50, that would lessen the load on 66, but these have not been implemented. I will leave it to the planning engineers and other experts to thrash this out. So it's fine for me to agree to disagree.
MM, have you seen this site (neighborhood association)?http://www.bscl.org/Also, you can sign up for weekly crime reports on the Arlington Co. site, or contact the Arl. Co. police, if you want to ask about any incidents that may have occurred in the area.If you don't have a Realtor, I believe anielarke mentioned a good Realtor, Betsy Twigg, who knows a lot about Arlington (as we know from anielarke's posts!).Finally, you might look at the Arl. Co. assessment site for the houses that interest you and the neighboring houses to see how much of a decline in value has already been recorded and use that to help you determine whether you think it's near a bottom. If you don't have to buy until mid-January or so, that might be helpful, because the new assessments (reflecting July 1, 08-June 30, 09 sales values, plus adjustments after than) will be released then IIRC. So that would give you more recent info, in addition to the comps. that I'm sure your agent can get for you now.
"There are definitely not more lawyers than there was a year ago or two years ago. They just released a study showing among the top 250 law firms by size non-partner positions are down 8% which is much more massive a loss than what we saw in the 90s and 00s recession."TBW -- I dont know what to say. All I know is that the local stat I showed you said they are still hiring in the sector that is defined as "professional & business services"."Also, for your college vs. non-college stat to be meaningful we have to know what the unemployment rate was pre-recession. College grads probably were at 1% unemployment then. So going up to 4.7% is a lot."Thats kinda immaterial to our discussion. Pat was assuming (reasonably) that the breakdown of the unemployed was 60/40 homeowners to renters. All I was doing was pointing out that since (a) college grads are much less likely to be unemployed than high school dropouts and (b) college grads are more likely to own homes than high school dropouts, the ratio will not coincide with the 60/40 renter split.I will agree that unemployment is much worse for college grads than it was one or two years ago, but again, thats irrelevant for the point I was trying to make. "Also, Trinidad (where pat seems to be looking) is not blue collar."Fair enough. "Blue collar" more of a euphamism as I may have drawn someones ire if I called it what it really was. BTW -- Pat -- I very much agree with TBW as to which neighborhoods to consider especially brightwood.
Ace,Thanks much for the great info. I have a lot of homework to do now that I've expanded my search. It's both exciting and challenging given the time constraint. But there's still hope the house won't be put on the market immediately. I just don't know.Thanks again!
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