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.
I think the inside is pretty ugly, but this looks like a pretty good price for some of you looking to buy in Arlington north of 66. Although it is right on 29http://franklymls.com/AR7240452
Job Fair in StaffordCheck out the video.
housebuyer,tks for the alert of the price drop. which would you say is the lesser evil: Rt-29 or I-66?
29 with out a question. I consider 29 a large minor road vs. 66 is a minor highway. Also 66 might be expanded at somepoint to make it a full fledged highway. Basically 66 has tons of cars at all times of the day vs. 29 is really only packed around rush hour.
NovaHog:That's the sort of imbalance that will continue pounding on house prices and incomes.The amount of unemployment out there is brutal, the number of self emplyed on the street is huge.Frankly, in my peer group unemploymentis about 50%
hb,Take it from someone who's lived on a major four lane road, it's not fun to have to turn left into our out of your driveway directly onto a highway. But it should indeed be less pollution than being similarly close to 66. What do you all think is the main road versus side road premium in this area on absolute or percentage terms? Being willing to buy on a main road is definitely one way to reduce your house-cost. You just need to pass that discount onto the next buyer, and hope the discount hasn't increased.
Anyone interested in a SFH lender pre-approved short sale, that just might be cash-flow positive as a rental?http://franklymls.com/FX7165722It is also on what I would call a major through-street, but positioned in such a way that you can't turn left, period. But it could make a great rental, (says the person who's trying to convince friends to come rent a house closer to us) or inexpensive owner-occupant home. I'd say the location precludes an easy profitable flip.
(actually you're not physically blocked from turning left if you check the positioning with FFX county, just encouraged by yellow diagonal stripes not to do so).
And the REO that I disliked greatly is under contract in only 13 days. We'll see what the contract price ends up being. More than 5% off list seems unlikely in that time frame.
Any guesses for tomorrow's numbers?For FFX County all I'm willing to hazard is that sales numbers are still low but ever so slightly higher than January's 738, and the median in FFX Cnty may be down again MoM, but I'm guessing by less than 2%, i.e. it'll be between $343k and $357k. That would put sales way down from the 1067 last February, and the median price up 10% from the $318k. That, however will be near impossible to interpret in terms of prices of houses you want to buy versus mix of sales. (although we'll look at numbers of condos versus THs versus Detached again, which helps somewhat). I'm guessing it will primarily be driven by the mix. And only MoM really matters if you're trying to buy soon. March will be the start of the real months to watch.
FYI - there's a great article by Michael Lewis that many of you would probably enjoy in this month's Vanity Fair discussing a hedge fund manager who concluded back in 2003 that the housing market was due to implode. He made a ton of money for his clients - who are portrayed in the article as nervous and angry that he was betting on a decline in the housing market rather than just continuing to invest in equities - by convincing big banks to sell him credit-default swaps on what he'd concluded were the crappiest mortgage-backed securities. It's noted in the article that the manager was eventually diagnosed with Asperger's and that, in his case, his single-minded focus on the economic trends that he discerned allowed him to disregard all the fluff and chatter. Definitely an interesting read.
Cara,No weather issues?
Va,For February closes? Maybe delays until later in the month, but shouldn't change the month totals.For March? It could change things, but again, I think it will just shift things around by a week or two and not necessarily fall into a different month.It depends on how easy 30 day closes are right now for FHA and normal buyers. That's something I wouldn't know. I also am not sure it really did anything. Houses still went under contract in my neighborhood. Maybe the new listings were delayed, but closer to March should see a rise in listings anyway. Did you see any discernable consequences of more than a week in your area?
VA,We should however, keep an eye on the new contracts for February to look for an effect, so we're not surprised by it in the March closings. Have to click through to the MRIS to get that.
Mozart- Probably a bummer for the manager. It is clearly all about timing, if he started in 2003, I assume his fund closed down after taking losses for a couple of years. John Paulson on the other hand made the exact same bet but started in 2006 and made many billions off of the bet.
Housebuyer - I think the fund manager ended up making hundreds of millions of dollars, since he kept buying swaps on securities with extended durations. But he had to keep explaining to his skittish investors for years why he was pursuing that strategy. The article suggested that, while Paulson gets frequent credit for being prescient, this guy had it figured out well before Paulson.
"The article suggested that, while Paulson gets frequent credit for being prescient, this guy had it figured out well before Paulson."Well, it is one thing to figure "it" out, but another to successfully make money on having figured it out. As you said this guy may have made a fortune off of his bets, but Paulson may have made an equally large or larger fortune on a shorter timeline. I imagine both groups of investors were happy in the end.
Mozart- Gotcha. Yeah there were a bunch of people who bet the housing market would fail. Most of the funds either collapsed, because the people were too early or rather than using CDS, which had very little downside, people shorted the homebuilders stocks which killed many of these funds.
There's a new listing in N. Arlington for a SFH - $385,000.http://www.redfin.com/VA/Arlington/2126-N-Emerson-St-22207/home/11236122Not surprisingly, there are no pictures, but you can see the front of the house via google street view.This is one of the few neighborhoods in N. Arlington with a number of low price (relatively speaking) sales.
Va_Investor,Okay, I think your point is that in 2008 some banks put on some fire sales on foreclosures in places like Manassas Park, Sterling, Woodbridge, etc. Okay, fine. A few banks probably did panic before HAMP and other programs let them dribble out inventory.I don't think that means most of us who post here missed bargains. We were never interested in those neighborhoods. I don't think we have missed a bottom in central Fairfax County particularly in the middle range. At best, we are nearing bottom if interest rates stay in the 5% range. I'm also skeptical we'll see any notable rise up any time soon.
condo buyer saidThe only advice I could offer you is to stay in Arlington until you get married because the Starbucks on 123 and that dorky coffeehouse in Vienna are full of women like my mom and her friends.I just said I wanted to live in Vienna (among other places I'm considering). I never said I plan to socialize at Jammin Java. ;)
tedk saidFor someone looking to buy in the $530--600K range, this looks like a good value to me. Buyers can even walk to Pickett and take the CUE bus to Vienna Metro.So there is a path between that culdesac and Thaiss Park that would allow you to walk to Pickett Road? That's nice. However, realistically you will be driving to the Metro stop. Trust me. You'll plan on taking the bus but then the bus's every half-hour schedule will be grating. Then you'll have some day where you have to work late and the bus comes even less often or not at all. This also reminds me of one big minus to Mantua -- the lack of car access to Pickett Road. I don't understand why there is no connection. Was it some city-county squabble? The lack of access to Pickett Road makes it much harder to drive to the Metro and shopping.
housebuyer,AR7240452 is a great find. It warms the heart to see homes in N Arlington on sale for $110k less than the 2010 assessment and $160k less than the 2009 assessment.It being on Lee Hwy is a deal breaker for me but the interior is not. That's all fixable. I guess some people are turned off by the hoarder aspects of the current owner. And Ace will remind me I'm understimating the cost of changing that wallpaper.But I like the exterior and size of that home and location minus Lee Hwy. Pretty good for $600k. Exteriors cannot really be fixed but interiors can.
Re Arlington --Were these ~0.10 acre lots common when homes like the one Jewel found were built in the 1940s? Or was Arlington bucking the quarter acre lot trend? Anyone know when a quarter acre lot became the norm?
TBW, wallpaper is no biggie in terms of expense. You can hire a painter who will scrape it all off and prep and paint the walls so professionally that no one would ever guess what was necessary to get them to that state. Painters are reasonable in price and worth every penny. I'll be happy to whine about other stuff that's costly.And speaking of whining, I want to know from you and condo buyer exactly what is your problem with women in your mothers' age groups?! Those two places sound like places I'd like to hang out :-). And who knows? They just may have some daughters, younger co-workers, or nieces or friends of friends that could be marriage material...
TBW:"So there is a path between that culdesac and Thaiss Park that would allow you to walk to Pickett Road?"Yes. "This also reminds me of one big minus to Mantua -- the lack of car access to Pickett Road."True. But in many other areas with parkland and walking/biking trails, I have seen the same issue. For some people, such lack of easy access might give a feeling of safety and living in a quieter enclave.
Tbw,How hard is it to say "I was wrong. Base prices on reo's have gone up. The world was no longer on the verge of falling apart."?I saw a very nice colonial in Vienna sell for 340K in the fall of '08. About 50% off assessment.Now, here you go and say "well...maybe some banks were giving away houses in Hell's half acre, what do I care."No, you didn't miss s@#$ in '08. Sweet dreams.
RE: ColonialsFrom yesterday's discussion, colonials are any house with the bedrooms on the second level. This is a full level, and not Cape Cod. At least that is what people in this area identify as Colonials. Some are nicer and some are less nice. Some people like to have the bedrooms on the second floor that is why this style is so popular. If you think about it, almost any other style does not require to have bedrooms on the second floor. Such is the case with Contemporaries (sometimes bedrooms are in the lower floor), Tudors, and Craftmans, which are more about the facade, roof pitch, windows and other details. Also, most colonials have more square footage above ground than any other home style. This is why they are more expensive than split levels, ramblers and split foyers.On modern colonials: "The predominate floor plan for all of these houses is a central hall with stairs, the livingroom, two rooms deep from front to back, with the diningroom on the opposite side of the hall and the kitchen behind it. Bedrooms and baths are above. The houses often have porches and garages attached with perhaps a one or two story EL in the back for a family room." http://www.takus.com/architecture/colonial.html
Ace,Maybe it was Cara (not to be confused with cara?) who would caution about the difficulties of removing wallpaper?I have no problem with the places in Vienna. I was just noting that the atmosphere of coffee joints in Vienna is sorta irrelevant to whether I should buy there.
Va_Investor,I missed absolutely nothing in Vienna or environs in 2008. Absolutely nothing. I see no one here regretting waiting longer to buy. A few seem open to buying now (housebuyer, Jeremy) but no one says "gosh, if only I bought in 2008."
and there are still plenty of foreclosures/short sales everywhere. We are not out of the woods yet.
TBW, honey, I was just pulling your (and condo buyer's) leg about dissing the older women. I agree with you that where you live is not necessarily where you go out, especially if you really want some space and a garden.So cara and Cara are not the same person?
Ace,Not sure. cara -- can you clear up the mystery as to whether you are Cara.
tbw,all is lost and dark lords of the sith have risen again! and you could have bought your dream home (with only paint and carpet needed) for 340k in late 2008, while now you will have to pay quadrillion trillion dollars for it !
Priced out forever!
tbw,In order to sign off from follow up comments blogger made me go through some set up procedure where I then forgot to capitalize my nickname. So "cara" is Cara post me signing off the health care discussion. Wallpaper removal is a pain to do yourself, but definitely amongst the things that can be done with the right tools. It's wallpaper that's already been painted over that becomes near impossible to remove. dc2,I'm well aware of how it's used. That's the source of the complaint. But thanks for the modern architecture for kids reference. You'll notice that one of the major aspects is that the front must be symmetrical. Notice also that for the most part in these 60's houses, it's not. That and lack of a continous facade are enough for me to complain that the common RE usage of anything with all the bedrooms on the second floor and no sloped ceilings is a colonial is a bunch of baloney.And you're essentially making the same point as me, "colonials" cost more when they have more square footage. Well duh. You should pay more to get a larger house. It's not an apples to apples comparison then is it unless you convert to price per square feet.People like bigger houses? and will pay more for them? Gee, you think? If there were an actual preference for bedrooms on a separate floor, then it would still show up in price per square foot. If not, then the common wisdom is a bunch of baloney. Or rather the common wisdom that two-story boxes cost more than one-story boxes is right, but not for the commonly stated reason.
dc2, Ace,I think the real problem, and the reason I should drop it is that there is no accepted name for things like this:http://franklymls.com/FX7269648http://franklymls.com/FX7272024http://franklymls.com/FX6911047It's defined not by what it is but what it isn't. It's not colonial because it's neither symmetrical nor uniform exterior, it's not a ranch, it's not a split foyer, it's not a split level, it's just a default 1960s house.It's not a revered enough or different enough style to have gotten a name. So there's nothing to put in that blank. 60s two-color two-story is not going to catch on.
For those looking in the $250,000 to $450,000 range, here are three stone face ramblers located within a couple of blocks of each other. http://franklymls.com/default.aspx?m=R&l=125K&h=600K&s=active+quaker+parkI have walked through properties in that neighborhood and thought it was very reasonable - lots of shopping within walking distance,major library a mile away, easy access to bus lines and King Street metro station about a mile and a half away. The neighborhood dates from the 50s and sixties with the ubiquitous 1/4 acre lots.
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