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.
It looks like housing starts have been pretty flat and very low over the last year housing starts which is good. There was some talk about the housing firms creating additional speculative units because of the tax credit. With starts this low it is possible some of them were speculative, but probably not very many. I assume & hope starts will continue at a pitifully low rate so that over the next few years we can absorb the markets excess housing inventory and be better suited for a healthy housing market and economy once this is done. PS better housing market just means less distress and a more balanced market not higher prices.
housebuyer,You're right, and it's a necessary clearing step. But I've heard disturbing news as well. Permits are way up, and there's been increasing activity, including bidding wars, in going after new raw land for development.If those are coming back, we may have problems.
Xpovos- Only glanced at this report, but it looks like permits are only up a little over the past years permits So although its possible this is happening some I am not sure its a huge issue.
WaPo article on Hollin HillsJust what I needed more competition for my dream homes. Sigh. (not that I'd be moving there anytime soon).
new EPA rules for pre-1978 home renovations.Great... everything renovation-wise for our house is now going to cost more. Can't decide if I should be thanking my lucky stars we already did the windows or wishing we had waited until they would have had to do an even cleaner job than they did. (they were very neat, tarps everywhere, vacuumed everything after taking away the tarps, but still there were some surfaces we had to clean). One would think this will eventually effect prices for older homes, but I can't decide if it will make them cheaper (because buyers know the costs of renovating) or just add to the move-in ready premium for those that don't need any work done.Will this inhibit flipper purchases? I can't decide if they'll be immune because no one is living in the houses at the time of the renovations or not... from the article it sounds as if the EPA is still in the decision process on this.
Jeremy (I think you were the one looking in Oakton): this place seems to be nicer, and cheaper, than other places in the same neighborhood:http://www.franklymls.com/FX7313253
Cara, I saw that too - and there are some cool Hollin Hills homes on the market - I'd be your competition if it weren't such a bad commute to work from there.
Ace,Yeah, I'm not sure how bad it is to get to Huntington metro from there. And that only helps if the yellow line makes sense for you.
Shorter waiting period between short sale and new purchase with Fannie loans reported by Diana Olick of CNBC.IF you have 20% down, you now only need to wait 2 years not 4 before becoming eligible for a new Fannie Mae loan. So those 2008 short sales are eligible nowish, if they've miraculously saved a lot of money (possible if they went from a way overpriced bubble peak home in 2005/2006 into a rental).I say, with 20% down as the requirement, why not? But it's also possible lenders may be less lenient than the overall guidelines.
That Oakton house is listing for nearly the same amount it sold for in 2007. Talk about an indication of a bubbled market.
Thanks NoVAwatcher. I had seen that house in my Frankly email update a couple days ago and talked it over with my wife. It is in our 4th favorite neighborhood of the 4 we've decided we'll consider. However 719k is a lot and while we could stretch that far this year if we want to pay PMI, our thoughts were that for that much money it should back to parkland instead of the neighbor's house. Realistically we'll probably end up around that price eventually, but with a better lot in exchange for being a little farther from Vienna/123 (which we don't care about anyway).One of you other Oakton/Vienna people should buy it though so I don't have to bid against you next Spring!
Oh, and how much could it possibly have cost to do the rest of the wall above the garage in brick? It would have looked much better that way.
Here's another No. Arl. seller who broke free from his/her delusions (down over $260K/20% from original list to selling price):http://franklymls.com/AR7194122
Ace,Check out this active listing: List Price: $699,000PREVIOUS LISTING PRICE HISTORY4/28/2009 $950,000talk about breaking free from delusions...
oh btw,just found out i actually know the buyers of the house two doors from the Lacey Woods horder. and they appeared to have no idea of the neighbor's past issues. i'm trying very hard not to say anything...
MM, very interesting - looks as if they still have some way to fall, since it still isn't sold! I've seen other listings of that Realtor that seem very overpriced. I am not sure whether she just goes along with the seller or if she really doesn't do the comps. well enough before listing. It's too bad about the Lacey Forest house. Not much a seller can do if s/he has the misfortune to have a neighbor like that (maybe on paper the seller could act, but not in reality, or I am sure it would have been done).
MM, by the way do you or anyone else find those linked home tours with music as annoying as I do? Buyers want to be able to view photos at the MLS site directly - without cheesy Muzak in the background!
Ace - I just set my laptop volume to mute. Not an issue.
Ace- I'm with you it is annoying to have the music and its also annoying not being able to control the speed it goes through the tour. I'm much happier when they just put the pictures in a god format so I can use frankly
funny, nice beautiful houses in North Arlington are dropping in price 20%, and we don't hear any "Glug, Glug, Glug" noises from certain posters.Beautiful places, and probably the listings are approaching a more realistic price, especially for that area.
"pat said...funny, nice beautiful houses in North Arlington are dropping in price 20%, and we don't hear any "Glug, Glug, Glug" noises from certain posters."If I am delusional and list my home for 2 million dollars only to later become realisitic and list it for 500K, has my home really "dropped" 75% in price?If you look at the tax assessed history of that place, they went from pricing 250K over assessments to 3K over assessments. Total assessed value has dropped a shade under 6% from peak.When the price drops an ADDITIONAL -34% I was promised were just around the corner, I will apologize to the doomaid guzzlers who told me I was foolish to think it was "different" here. Til then, keep believing in "the quickening" Pat. http://bubblemore.blogspot.com/2008/09/quickening-is-coming.htmlIm sure that will happen any day now...
Am I too late to post my favorite delusional seller?http://franklymls.com/FX68830651.1 million initial list down to 750k. If I had known it would go for so "low" we would have bid on it too.
Jeremy,Oh, man! That's a beautiful house. 3800 sq feet for $750k in Oakton? That sounds like quite a deal in the end, maybe I'm off or missing some major flaw (since I didn't look for any). If I had a budget that size, I would totally be kicking myself that I missed out on at least submitting a bid to those clueless sellers. With price drops that large it was clear they had no idea what it was worth, high or low. They were obviously in love with it though, and all their own choices (like the interesting and probably expensive glass around the front door, that buyers were not willing to pay for).
Cara and Jeremy, I agree it's a very nice place. I do not understand, though, why so many sellers find it hard to price their houses in this market, esp. in Fairfax, which seems to do a pretty good job of assessing. 1) find comps. and identify any recent trends; 2) in the case of contemporaries or other unusual houses that may not have style comp., write down the assessed value. 3) how much $ did you put into the house that buyers will want? fabulous new kitchen? etc. Your price should be 2) plus a portion of 3) depending on newness. You can then adjust for 1). Time after time I see sellers (not the majority) who have done little or nothing (other than paint) to a 30+ year old house, or they did things 15 years ago, but they want $300K over assessment. If the house were really worth that much, wouldn't Fairfax have made sure they gotten a much bigger tax bite?
Ace,It is strange. At the very least they could look at the closest comps size-wise, and see at what percent of tax assessed value they're selling at to get a starting point. (the current tax assessments are a wieghted average between foreclosure prices and normal sales so are way under normal sale prices in some areas, probably not Oakton at that size-range though).That LA seems all over the place with their list prices. One wishes sellers would do a CRA (comparative realtor analysis) before chosing an agent. But if they knew to do that... It's not that you want an agent who gets sales closest to 100% of original list, that would indicate an agent who's pricing too low and just wants a transaction. (unless of course all you care about is quick and painless).
Ace & Cara- I generally think it is the agents fault not the home owners when the house is listed too high. Homeowners think their house is so much better than every comp when they clearly aren't. The agent needs to talk to the person and convince them otherwise and get a reasonable price so the house has a legitimate chance to sell. I guess the problem is there are tons of agents and not enough houses so agents rarely tell owners the hard truths that the owners need to hear.
hb,Or that the good agents have plenty of business that will transact quickly and easily for near the comps, and don't need to deal with recalcitrant or difficult sellers.If you're the type of seller who seeks out good agent's you're probably also the type who will listen to them. Well, okay, actually that's not true. You could be looking for an agent who gets close to list price or got the recent high water mark prices, but still unwilling to hear what they have to say.
Jeremy,I would think that an "alert" would have noticed you of the price drop. Did this not happen?
VA_Investor you are right, but their final list of $799k was out of my alert range. I've since bumped it up to $800k because of this home selling for $750k. Ideally we don't want to borrow more than about $600k (only have 100k saved so far), but we definitely would have stretched to get that home for $750k since it is in one of our top 3 neighborhoods. I'm totally going to low ball some $800k+ listings next Spring when $750k isn't a stretch anymore just because of this house.
I think this listing is the winner 4/19/2010 $1,699,000PREVIOUS LISTING PRICE HISTORY6/5/2009 $2,195,000tax assmt is less than 1MM though that seems way too low.it's just relisted today so it may go way beyond the new list...
Jeremy,I totally know that feeling. I can't count the number of houses we missed by not moving our search range up to $450k sooner. ($400k would have done it for some)(actually I could count it, but I chose not to). At the same time you hate to move the search range up to your eventual max price when you don't have the cash on hand yet. Because buying when you don't have $2k for this, and $3k for that, and can throw down a couple hundred for that other thing without completely eliminating your emergency fund would really suck. I tried to keep the philosophy when I'd see a good house go for a good price of, just yet another of the thousands of houses in FFX County that I won't own, keeping the comps down for me.
The anon:certainly California continues to exhibit all the signs of market collapse. It's also the largest real estate market in the country, so,it's really going to affect the national numbers.http://lansner.freedomblogging.com/2010/04/19/selling-o-c-mansion-wait-3-years/62985/The high end market is completely locked, and the low end market is still rotten with Option-ARMS.the issue is broadly speaking will Arlington, Alexandria, etc face the same issues as the broader market.My fundamental feeling is that "A rising tide lifts all boats, An Ebb tide lowers all boats"...The decline of the high end market merely takes longer as these people have more resources.My business partner just sold a house in Shouse Village, Vienna.Now he used to tell me "Oh, Shouse is special, it's close to Tysons, it's next to Wolf Trap, it's Immune". I told him sell in 2006 as the market was peaking and the place across the street sold for a million. He just sold and mentioned that there were 2 foreclosures in the area and 2 distress sales in the community. He was a little perturbed that his little island of perfection was also suffering from the ebb and flow of the economy.
pat,And what did he sell for relative to the high water mark in his neighborhood?
MM- I agree the tax assessment seems very low for that house. I think part of the problem is the listing claims the house is 5600 sq. ft. and Arlington says it is only 2992 sq. ft. So even if you ad the basement into the calculation there was likely a major addition done at some point that never got reported
pat,A quickly frankly check says your friend was mostly right. There were only 4 sales over $800k, and the $1million house was enormously expanded. So, today's $750k prices aren't much of a ding. Down a whopping 6%.
MM,Glory has lived there a long time. I'm thinking maybe nursing home situation - who knows. I'd never spend that much on a house, but Lorcum Lane has always been premier.If I were interested, I'd throw in a low-ball or wait and see if it goes. My parents gave away my grandmother's lake house. I didn't have the money at the time and the distance was problematic.
pat,I've always thought of Shouse Village as the poor cousin.
this one is so ridiculous it's probably not even worth posting, but here goes anyway:4/4/2010 $590,000PREVIOUS LISTING PRICE HISTORY9/28/2007 $1,099,000WTH?
MM,No, that's worth posting, because that's exactly what would have happened to pat's friend if he had deduced from the one $1m close that his house was also worth that and tried to sell at peak. (but more extreme).
Re: the Lorcom house, I have to go with MM's view that it's the overpricing winner of the day (though the other one you posted MM gets honorable mention). Arlington usually catches additions (because you have to have permits, so Arl. is notified) and counts them in its assessment because they affect square footage. Without seeing interior photos and judging from the Realtor's description, I would speculate:1) the assessment isn't too far off (relative to other properties) if the square footage is right; the Realtor may be counting garage, basement, AND attic; 2) it will need hundreds of thousands of updates.The Lorcom area is beautiful and in close proximity to DC but living right on Lorcom is not always seen as desirable as it can be busy.
Everyonethe point i was trying to make about Shouse Village is not that it's lost a little off peak, but that an area immune from economic trouble has had 4 distressed sales (2 REO, 2 Short).the people who lived there, like the people of Georgetown have always viewed themselves as immune from the ebb and flow of the economy.
"Pat said...The decline of the high end market merely takes longer as these people have more resources."Pat -- that was the argument in 2008, before you were here (and before CRT blew it out of the water with the MoCo comparison)Let me ask you something which I suspect you will not answer but here goes.Its now 2010, the big "meltdown" I was promised in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 & 2010 still hasnt happened yet. At best prices are now stagnate -- at worst they are going up as we sit here debating this. At some point, everyone but the most delusional will give up on their argument for why "it just takes longer" to hit Arl/Alex. When is that date for you? Again, thats a serious question because there is no point in having a debate if you are someone like Contrarian who likely wont admit "maybe it wont happen here" til 2025 or thereabouts.So again, whats your date? 2010? 2011? 2012? How many more years before you too decide "maybe I am just wrong?"
pat,Yeah, you have to check out the website: Shouse Village Vienna260 houses and 1 recorded distressed sale, 3 rumored but not appearing on frankly. FX + Shouse current soldThat's not a whole heck of a lot of intrusion by reality. If this is the level of reality intrusion that you think will infect other self-important areas, I say ho-hum. The percentage drop is relevant because that's all that matters for the bulk of the home-owners who didn't get themselves into economic trouble. 1.5% distress, sounds a lot like the tiny white-collar unemployment rate to me.
Shouse Village is still quite nice. The houses get snapped up quickly, since (1) they are close to Tysons; (2) in a prestige school pyramid (Colvin Run/Longfellow/McLean); and (3) actually less expensive than the other houses in the immediate area, which tend to be newer and/or larger.
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