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.
Alexandria has released their 2009 to 2010 real estate valuation map.This map shows every neighborhood in Alexandria and breaks down the gains or losses in assessment by SF (Single Family) or RC (Residential Condominium).It is is a nice overview and reference. The city also has past maps going back several years. Hope this helps with your planning.
In No Va-Thanks that is a cool map. This is also probably good for those of us waiting to buy. I know that the tax assessment isn't always accurate, but it is definitely good for us to see assessments down not up.
This seems like a nice house for some of our younger house-searchers who apparently are only willing to be in a few school districts like Madison or Oakton: http://franklymls.com/FX7256959
Nice find Mozart.And it's the one that actually backs overlooking the pond, with FFX Cnty parkway off to the side (with no windows). (check it out on the tax records, the bing map is a bit decieving).For more clarity it's 2,384 above ground and 600 finished basement, while I'm at it.We decided a while ago that in VA listing total square footage was (a) kosher and (b) normal practice, much to my chagrin and protestations to the contrary. But if it's standard, it's standard and you should just be aware of it.
Mozart- It does look nice, although it always worries me when I see a house that has had virtually no cosmetic work down in the past 20+ years, it makes me wonder whether they also did not do the structural work that should have been done over that time frame. It has nice detail like the moldings, but the bathrooms and kitchen definitely look original...It is also only a mile or two from Dulles so it could be very loud. For a similar price range http://franklymls.com/FX7249833 this house appears more updated (although there are not many pictures), it is not in a flight path, it is larger, and it is in a more convenient location for the vast majority of jobs.
Cara Says:"And it will turn sometime, all things do. But at this point, I think when it does turn it will be marking the new "normal" bottom level inventory that we'll see for the next 3-4 years of the flat period, assuming we get a flat period."I'd bet on an extended flat period, look at the C-S graphs, after every housing bubble, there is an extended flat period.Unless we get some Weimar style hyper inflation, and honestly i'm more willing to bet on deflation still.Deleveraging and deflation are difficult trends to reverse.
Cara-Good catch on the highway. It is good that there are no windows facing the highway, but it still fails the health test. A study came out a week ago showing that if you are within 100 meters of a highway there are health impacts on both your lungs and your heart highway to hell
pat,Demonstrably not true. In DC yes, but if you look at CS for various cities, ever possible behavior that you can think of can and does happen. Overshoots that then recover quickly to "normal" appreciation. Mere tiny drops that then stagnate for 10 years until fundamentals are re-achieved. Huge plummeting losses that never reattain their previous highs, ever. Healthy drops that then sky-rocket sooner than anyone could have imagined. If you can picture it, it has happened post-bubble somewhere.Which one we get here is going to be combination of underlying strength and government intervention. Emphasis on the latter.Personally, what I think is going to be the case here is that the overall DC area flatness will hide the actual trends in different areas. Some areas and house types will keep going down for 4-5 more years, slowly perhaps, but down. Others will start ticking up with inflation, and no one will notice that it started back in 2009 except those of us here who have been watching this closely. Overall, sure, it will look flat, because overall we haven't gotten down to the levels of the end of the last long-slow flat period. And some neighborhoods will actually be flat. Mine for instance, whether it stays here or drops another 5-10%, I still have a very hard time imagining costing more than it does now. It'll take years of inflation before these prices truly make sense.But other areas.... that are less generically suburban, I'm not so sure.
Cara-I think almost by default housing will look flat. Housing was wildly volatile the last decade with most years either up 10+% or down a 10%. I think we are getting close enough to fair value that we are unlikely to see 10% movements for the next several years although as you said there are examples of CS doing just about anything you can think of. I also agree that sub markets may move in different directions than the whole area.My best guess is assuming the government actually gets out of the housing market we will see CS trail down most of the year until it is close to 2009 towards the end of the year. At this point I think we will stagnate or possibly start going up slowly.
"Pat said...Deleveraging and deflation are difficult trends to reverse."And yet, thats exactly what happened:http://inflationdata.com/inflation/images/charts/Annual_Inflation/annual_inflation_chart.htmHat tip to my bigtime buddy Contrarian for providing this. Wonder why he quit posting it once CPI went positive again???
Anon- Using YoY inflation is not always the best way to look at it. We all know that oil/gasoline prices were very low a year ago do to people thinking it was the end of the world. Now that things have normalized somewhat you can check again what is going on with inflation and you can see that since June 2009 inflation has basically been flat. So I think it is less clear than you are trying to make it on whether inflation or deflation will win out. I still think inflation, but its not a guarantee by any means.http://inflationdata.com/Inflation/Consumer_Price_Index/HistoricalCPI.aspx
How long do you think housing starts can stay at these levels before we burn through all of the excess inventory? housing starts
housebuyer,In the US or in the region? I think housing starts locally will have to go up within the next 6 months if they haven't already to provide the supply of new houses people apparently to want here.In the US? I defer to CR. Who I think just says starts will have to remain low for "some time"...
Cara- I was mostly talking about the US. I don't think there is a lot of excess inventory in DC. I agree they will likely stay low for a long time, but I think part of that is they will stay too long and inventory will get very tight before the massively increasing starts.
Here's Arlington's draft plan to close its $32.5 mill. deficit. I find it interesting that none of the bulleted items describe school cuts, even though school funding has greatly increased in the past decade, and taxes went up well above general inflation as real estate values went up. Since the vast majority of Arlington households do not have kids in the schools, it will be interesting to see how this plays out. In the meantime, Arl. is a great place for parents to live because so many non-parents (and businesses) are contributing toward the schooling of their kids (relative to most communities). 1. County budget shortfall is about $65 million, of which $32.5 million is the county share, $32.5 million is the school share.2. To close the county's $32.5 million gap, some elements include: a. Raise revenue to cover $16.3 million, reduce services to cover $16.2 million. b. Increase tax rate by 6.7 cents, which will help close school gap by about $20M as well. Overall, a 4% increase in taxes and fees to average household over 2010. c. A total of 87 county staff positions will be eliminated through attrition and incentives (20 currently filled). A one day furlough for all county employees is proposed to save $1 million. d. Maintain / increase safety nets such as AFAC and housing grants. e. A 50% reduction in community policing (11 positions). f. Eliminate a fire department heavy rescue unit (12 positions). g. Close all branch libraries one day a week except Glencarlyn and Cherrydale. Reduce central library by 1 hr/day and 4hrs/Sunday. Reduce materials budget. h. Reduce park maintenance; consolidate and relocate programs. i. Fund the 2011 Fire Dept recruit class. j. $6.4 million set aside in a fiscal year 2011 budget stabilization fund.3. Public Hearings will be held on the budget March 23 and 24 and on taxes and fees on March 25 (all hearings at 7:00 PM in the County Board Room, 2100 Clarendon Boulevard, 3rd Floor). The budget will be adopted on April 24. For more information visit www.Arlingtonva.us.
I was curious if we ever brought up the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternative (HAFA) program on this board. I don't think we have, but I could see it having a somewhat significant impact both locally and nationally. The program appears to make it significantly easy for people to do short sales or dead-in-lieu of foreclosures. Do you think a simplified process will encourage more people to use this option to either get additional inventory or to possible move some of the shadow inventory to normal inventory.
FX count assessments are just around the corner:"2010 Assessment Notices will be Mailed February 23, 2010"
Assessments should be 5-10% down on average. Now, county can always move it down slower on the downside to minimize the revenue impact for them. Some froth will be removed at the least.
When will the 2010 assessments start showing up on new MLS listings? I know existing listings are allowed to keep the 2009 data, but at what point are new listings required to provide the 2010 data?
Cara,I do not think it is industry standard to list basement square footage in the listing. I think realtors are fudging the numbers because they know many people run square footage searches and so they want their client's home included if people are searching for a 2,000+ sq ft home even though people probably meant 2,000+ above ground.
Jeremy,I remember asking that question before and was told that the rule is you show the assessment for the year the home was listed. So we will continue to have some old assessments for quite some time. Anything listing after the new assessment has come out should show 2010 data.
In No Va,Thanks for the Alexandria map. I still have not heard any predictions for what Fairfax County's map will look like. A few people seemed to think we would see positive increases in assessments but no one seems willing to go on record with a prediction. I guess it's as the Anonymous says that few are willing to give concrete predictions.Well I'm willing to predict the assessment map (which last time broke it down into regions like McLean, Great Falls, Oakton, Centreville, Burke, Springfield, Alexandria, etc) will still show that assessments in the aggregate went down for each region.Anyone willing to say otherwise? Cara -- will Burke be flat or up? Va_Investor -- will Reston be flat or up? HayfieldGrad -- will Lorton or Alexandria be flat or up? Anyone else?
It's very common for both realtors and builders of higher-end homes in McLean and Vienna to emphasize the total square footage of houses, including the finished basement space. A lot of these houses have nicely finished basements with a full, legal extra bedroom and bath. If someone wants to find out the above-grade finished space, that's generally available (at least for existing homes in FFX) on the tax records. However, these homes usually have over 2000 finished above-grade SF to begin with.
TBW & Jeremey- For Fairfax you can always click on the tax link and look at the new assessment even if they have the old assessment on the listing. I know it takes an extra 10 seconds, but its not a big deal.Contrarian- Wow a 14 trillion deficit you may want to check again because you are off by an entire order of magnitude. The national debt is not even 14 trillion yet much less the deficit. Also I agree your scenario is possibly (I personally thikn very unlikely), but why can't you admit that it is possible rather than raising taxes they just print money and create inflation, which undoes all of your bets.
Contrarian- You didn't show 600 trillion in derivatives and 100 trillion in unfunded liabilities you just said they were there. I can also make claims without backing them up. I declare that the U.S. has $1 quadrillion in unaccounted for assets. So this will easily allow them to pay all of their unfunded liabilities :)Realistically though they way they fund things may or may not be inflationary depending on how they do it. If they raise taxes/cut benefits you are correct it would be deflationary. If they just go to their printing presses and declare they have printed money to pay for the liabilities yes that absolutely is inflationary.
tbw,RE: sq footage, it's not against local MLS rules, therefore it is common practice. If you can make a place appear larger in the advertising, you do. Or, it's a strategy anyway.I'm pretty certian it is strictly against the MLS rules in both Massachusetts and Illinois, but we're not in either of those states.contrarion,In addition to the order of magnitude problem (thanks housebuyer) I'm not a deficit hawk. I'm basically a Keynesian. So the worries of your world view don't scare me.housebuyer,I brought it up back in December, but there was very little discussion if any. My take is that HAFA short sales may increase inventory by bringing distressed properties to market sooner. But they will also tighten or eliminate the gap between the short sale price and the normal sale price (aside from any condition issues, which doesn't count as a discount, because it's real). Why? Because it was my understanding that banks will be forced to answer back to short sale offers in a timely fashion. (I can't recall how long, but 10 days sticks in my head). If shorts aren't significantly more hassle and uncertainty then they will be priced much closer to real sales. Of course in my neighborhood shorts have already come up in list price to within $20k of the real sales as opposed to the $75-$150k off they were 1 year ago.Maybe this was two different developments, HAFA and something else. But, basically, as CR says this will just move homes from being marketed as REOs to being marketed as shorts. No real difference in underlying distress or amount of shadow inventory, just how it will appear.
Ace,I'm not convinced that Arlington County has more singles or DINKs than Fairfax County when you control for the younger age of Arlington. If you just looked at the 35-55 age range you might see a relatively similar number of residents with kids in each jurisdiction. I don't think people around my age are hostile to school funding because many believe they will have kids in the future. They also are more likely to be renters and although they indirectly pay the property tax they don't really notice it much.
contrarian,There are only two of your miriad predictions that I think will actually come to pass.1) Interest rates will rise. I don't know about significantly, but I'm willing to bet they will rise. By itself this is not as big of a deal as most people seem to think.2) thousands of banks will fail. I'd put it closer to 1000 banks will fail. But again, I give this a big so what? So the FDIC takes them over and stronger banks get their assets at reduced prices. A little creative destruction can be a good thing. OR at least not a bad thing in the short term. I'm more worried that the financial reform efforts won't be sufficient to counter the monopolistic effect the shrinkage of the bank pool will create.A second "wave" of foreclosures? Here? Bring it on. We could use the inventory.
"contrarian said...housebuyer,I don't need to provide the links. I provided them in the past."No you didnt -- you DELETED them, just like each and every one your posts so you will never have to admit you were wrong. Kinda like this link (which I saved) which you used to post all the time when it was showing deflation but now you conveniently delete when it shows INFLATION.http://inflationdata.com/inflation/images/charts/Annual_Inflation/annual_inflation_chart.htmSorry Contrarian -- you are done here. Any shred of credibility you had left went away during your massive blog deletion campaign of 2009. You stand no chance of persuading anyone of anything. No one is drinking your doom aid anymore -- all the more for you to guzzle down by yourself...glug, glug, glug, glug, glug, glug, glug, glug, glug, glug, glug, glug, glug, glug, glug, glug, glug, glug, glug, glug!!!!
contrarian,It can be misleading to look at old tax rates because we used to have a much more progressive tax rate structure in this country. The 1986 Act was the closest we ever had to a flat tax with two brackets and currently we have six brackets.The top bracket during the Depression era would have applied to people making multi-million dollar salaries *each year.* Not many people do that.I would worry more about the lower tax rate structure. In 1932 they raise the lowest tax rate from 1.125% to 4% (and presumably the other brackets up accordingly). And most people agree the 1932 Hoover tax hike was a mistake.I agree we will at some point see substantially higher taxes but I think the more likely historical analogue are the Eisenhower era tax hikes to pay for our Great Depression/WW2 debt.
I'm not even sure anymore what to predict regarding tax rates for next year. It looked almost certain Obama would get the Bush rates removed for the 33% and 35% brackets but I would not be shocked if the 41 Republican senators block that. What's interesting is they have to pass something or else *all* the Bush tax cuts expire and I don't think anyone wants that to happen in an election year.
Cara- I 100% agree about the so what that 1000 banks will fail. Over the past 20 years the number of banks has gone down from ~13K to 7K. This has mostly been through mergers. Now instead of mergers continuing this trend it will be weak banks failing and getting bought, this is effectively the same thing. Also even if 1,000 banks fail my bet is they control less than 1 or 2% of banks assets. total number of banks
TBW said:"I'm not convinced that Arlington County has more singles or DINKs than Fairfax County when you control for the younger age of Arlington. If you just looked at the 35-55 age range you might see a relatively similar number of residents with kids in each jurisdiction."I don't think I made any claims about Arlington vs. Fairfax--just about Arlington, in absolute terms. IIRC, Wikipedia reports that about 80% of the households do not have children. I am not talking about ages or homeowners vs. renters. I am just pointing out that for every household that is getting benefit from school $ directly in that their kids either are or can attend schools, there are 4 households (plus businesses) in addition to them paying taxes. That, to me, is a large funding base -- certainly it is in comparison with other communities in which I have lived not in this metro area.The same may be true (or not) for Fairfax.
Why I believe Deflation is more likely then Inflationhttp://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2008/05/03/business/20080403_SPENDING_GRAPHIC.htmlSee the Owners equivalent rent?that's a big chunk, see "Real Rent"next to it?That's the rent Renters pay.OER is going to shrink. It's too big. Rent is shrinking....Those are big levers, everything else is small
below is N Arl:mon / # total sold / # > $800K soldFeb* 10 / 26 / 2Jan 10 / 69 / 14Dec 09 / 128 / 39---Feb 09 / 54 / 9Jan 09 / 62 / 12Dec 08 / 104 / 26*as of 2/17what do you see?
MMVery slow sales, and a smaller percentage of the sales on the lower end of the price range means either prices are going up and closing off the market, or prices shouldn't be going up and people are listing wishing prices again.
Xpovos,hmm... interesting. i was actually thinking of the opposite. but thanks for sharing your thoughts.
Ace,I was just trying to explain why I did not expect to see more hostility toward school funding in Arlington as opposed to some of its neighbors. Maybe I misread you but I thought you were posing the question of whether the 80% without kids would request more cuts to the school budget and fewer cuts elsewhere. Your broader point is correct -- Arlington schools will always be well funded. Look at per-pupil funding stats:Arlington $18,569Falls Church $18,116Alexandria $18,003Fairfax $12,898Loudoun $11,997Prince William $10,383However, I think many would look at this list and say school funding is not that important a variable in reputation of the local schools.
Pat- Out of curiosity are you talking about the governments measure of inflation/deflation or what people actually feel? Both are valid measurements. I ask this because the government does not count things like free months rent in their calculation and this has been how most landlords have kept their base rate high while lowering what renters pay. So as long as landlord continue to give things like free months the government will not see deflation there. If you are not talking about the governments measure than I agree renters will see deflation there, but home owners will not because their mortgage payment is fixed so they don't care what the owners equivalent rent would be.Personally I think we will continue to see deflation in under utilized industries housing, manufactured products (shirts...) and we will continue to see fairly high inflation in health care, education...
MM- If you double the February results because we are only a little over half way through the month and some days were dead due to snow I would say it continues to look like last year. There is some noise do do to small numbers but usually ~20% of houses sold are over 800K and total solds drops every month from Dec through Feb.With the small sample size you can't really statistically say anything about the ratio of houses sold over/under 800K.
tbw,I say Reston is down at least 5%, probably 10%.
housebuyer,i agree, doesn't look like it'd be better than last Feb. So the hot Dec 09 could merely be an off month.
MM I'm an Arlington real estate agent. Not sure where you found your 09 and 10 numbers, but they seem a little off. In Dec 09 there were 144 properties sold in N. Arlington and 44 were above $800K. In Jan 10 there were 77 props sold and 16 were above $800K. So far for Feb 10 there were 28 props sold and 3 above $800K. Another 33 props are under contract and scheduled to close before Feb 28. Of these another 3 are above $800K. In addition, there are 146 props in N. Arlington with contingent contracts and some of them could also settle in February. One reason we are also seeing fewer sales is because of the limited inventory. I think it was Jewel or Cara who mentioned that the good props are selling quickly, such as the house on S.8th St., while the leftovers are sitting there. Based on the buyers I am working with, if there were better houses for sale, there would be many more sales.
if there were better houses for sale, there would be many more salesIsn't this a statement that is pretty much always true? Houses are either too crappy in your price range or too expensive at your desired quality. When you find one that satisfies both requirements you buy it and are no longer looking.
Jeremy: What you said is not true for Arlington. Right now housing inventory is very low and demand is very high. Buyers are not willing to buy the leftover houses in their price range, but would buy better houses in their price range if they were on the market. Most properties in Arlington sell within a few points of their asking prices and buyers do not expect to buy a $700K property (which they would probably like more) for $600K. They simply want a house for $600K which they actually want to buy. There just aren't many good $600K houses for sale right now.
Sorry to be unclear, TBW, I am not saying people in Arl. will be any more or less "hostile" than neighbors. One of the things I am saying is that I believe that my Arl. neighbors will expect to see reasonable cuts in some of school budget buildups over the past decade (as well as in the other areas--but these were already specified by the County). They may want more cuts and and to pay less than 4% additionally in taxes. I would consider not consider that hostile.
Arlington Real Estate Agent said: "Most properties in Arlington sell within a few points of their asking prices." Could you clarify what you mean by "a few points"? Thanks.
arlington real estate said: "In Jan 10 there were 77 props sold and 16 were above $800K."What numbers are you using? See: http://nvar.com/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=LWBR8ZXtN1o%3d&tabid=589&mid=1487I count only 16 sales above 800K, out of 130 sales = ~12%. Please clarify.
Arlington Real Estate: please also post the source of your Dec. 2009 numbers. I'm getting different numbers there as well. Thanks.
HBThe CPI defines OER as the rent theowner would ordinarily pay for that place, which is deflating.also, the stats are all we got.
Arl RE agent,tks for the #s. i got mine from frankly but i'm certain yours are accurate. are my Dec 08 and Jan 09 #s off too?as long as this Jan/Feb are not hotter than last then i'm OK.
Pat-Sounds good I was just wondering what exactly you were looking at when looking for deflation.
For Mike: I used MRIS settled sales for period Dec. 1 through Dec. 31, for N. Arlington zip codes 22201,22203,22205,22207,22209,22213. Also used MRIS for Jan. 2010 numbers and believe we both had 16 properties above $800K. By points I mean percentage points. For MM: Dec. 2009 was probably an anomaly for the large number of sales. However, you will recall that the mix of sales in early 2009 was among very low priced properties and in 2010 that has changed. For example, in Jan. 2009 for both N. and S. Arlington, the average settled price for a single family house was $655,000. In Jan. 2010, the average price was $749,000. This indicates the mix has trended toward higher priced properties. There may be fewer sales but I think they will be more "normal" sales and fewer of the S. Arlington short sales which were a major part of the market in the first half of 2009. I hope you find a good house as you have been working very hard to do so.
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