Continuing to examine and hold a lively discussion of the Northern Virginia Real Estate market.
March 2010 Northern VA Real Estate Sales
It looks like no major surprises this month. Months of inventory continues to stay a somewhat elevated level and prices are up YoY
hb,Thanks Harriet!Raw number of sales are also up YoY in most counties. The slightly concerning looking one is Alexandria, no price increase and a drop in sales. Probably just a sample size issue, but since its active inventory is also closest to beating YoY, its worth keeping an eye on.
Yeah, This is largely in line with what I expected, but what is going on with Alexandria?
In this edition of "revisionist history weekly", I give you Leroy's response to this post, 1 year ago, just before the bottom hit:"This is largely more of the same, sellers in the inner areas, are still clinging to the idea that their area is "different.""https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=4787878578920468587&postID=2232882297031929475Of course, last month Leroy said:"I always said that the inner areas and most desirable areas would see the smallest declines."https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=4787878578920468587&postID=8852635098966594892glug, glug, glug, glug, glug, glug, glug, glug, glug, glug, glug, glug, glug, glug, glug, glug, glug, glug, glug, glug, glug, glug, glug, glug.
WowThis guy is completely out of his mind - away from reality. Many many sellers like this one, need some treatment!!
I think things look pretty healthy all -in -all (yes, I know, what else is new?).
Spider- What just because he only bought it ten years ago for 190K and did very few updates makes it worth less than 650K now?Agreed it should go for something in the mid-high 400s.
Interest rates for 30-year home loans surged this week to the highest level in eight months because of the improving economy and the end of a government push to keep rates low. The average rate on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was 5.21 percent, up from 5.08 percent a week earlier, mortgage company Freddie Mac reported Thursday. That's the highest since mid-August, when the average rate was 5.29 percent.Rates had dropped to a record low of 4.71 percent in December, pushed down by a campaign by the Federal Reserve to reduce borrowing costs for consumers. The program ended last week, but the Fed left the door open to reviving the program if the economy weakens.Mortgage rates for 30-year loans may rise to 6 percent -- a level not seen since November 2008 -- by the end of the year, said George Mokrzan, senior economist at Huntington National Bank in Columbus, Ohio. A stronger economy and increased job creation may offset the negative effect on housing demand as consumers become more confident about making large purchases, he said. This is going a little more quickly than I expected. I'm afraid to get too excited lest rates go back down to 5%.
tbw,In what manner would this "excite" you?
Here's people making the argument Ace predicted:If you’ve been humming and hawing over whether you should go ahead and buy that new home, here’s a word of advice: just do it! With interest rates at all-time lows and experts predicting potentially major rate hikes, it seems crystal clear that the best time to snag a mortgage is right now....History shows that periods of significantly low interest rates are generally followed by sky-high rates. Case in point: From 1970 to 1972, 30-year fixed mortgage rates hovered around 7.25% before leaping to 10% by the end of 1973. In 1974, rates slid back down to around 8.5% and remained there until late 1976.Then between 1977 and 1981, something major happened: interest rates began to rise and rise … and rise some more. By December 1981, rates had skyrocketed to an unprecedented 18%. If history really does repeat itself, we’re destined to see some major rate increases down the road....You may be thinking that a measly percentage point isn’t going to make that much of a difference.That’s where you’re wrong.Let’s say your lender approves you for a $200,000 mortgage loan. Every time the interest rate increases by half a point, you lose $10,000 or more in purchasing power. In other words, you could afford to buy a more expensive house at a 5% interest rate than you can at a 6% rate. So, if you can afford a monthly mortgage payment of $1,600, you may be able to get a $300,000 mortgage at a 5% interest rate. However, if the rate increases to 6%, you could only qualify for a $269,000 mortgage. And as we all know, $30,000 can make a huge difference in the quality, location and size of a home.ArticleOf course, the article assumes the decrease in buying power from $300k to $269k does not bring down the price of $300k homes to $269k whereas some of us think it would bring down the price of that $300k home.
Va_Investor,Because I think higher rates will bring down prices. I have a lot of money saved up and probably will almost certainly pay my mortgage off more quickly than on a 30 year schedule (probably not 15 years but get a 30 year loan and pay it off in 20-25 years). Hence I'm better off in a high rate environment presuming (which I believe based on listening to housebuyer) that the average buyer buys not based on price but monthly PITI and so higher rates equal lower prices.
tbw,Do you have stats from the early '80's when prices dropped considerably? If we do see higher rates in a few years, have you considered that other investments would have higher yields completely off-setting your projected lower price?
Ah yes, The Anonymous, proving once again that in a pinch you can blame anyone but yourself for your own problems...Shoot, you yourself admitted that I was never one of the doom and gloom types a little over a year ago:"Leroy said...Another year or two before that (on other blogs) we had people insisting there was no bubble or that a bubble wasn't even possible."I remember those guys. However, I also remember the blood in the streets type - the ones who said even Arlington was in for a HUGE decline - 2000 prices or bust!It was 6 years ago when I started listening to them and patiently waiting for prices to come down. I was told there is no difference between Arlington & places like Loudoun - its not different anywhere....In places out west, they were right. Out there, its better than they could have imagined. However, by my calculations, we have another 44% decline in Arlington to get down to the prices I was told was just around the corner.This is nothing against you - you have always been more restrained in your calls about price declines. However, as those "blood in the streets" types are now long gone, you can understand why I am a bit frustrated.I may get lucky and someday get within the range of the price I passed on in 2003. Then again, seeing as I will not get the last 6+ years of my life back, it looks like waiting for the bubble to burst was the biggest mistake I could have made.- The Anonymous, back in Feb 2009 before he decided to start trying to smear me for lack of anyone more suitable.http://novabubblefallout.blogspot.com/2009/02/northern-virginia-january-housing-sales.htmlCute isn't it?
LeroyDon't feel bad, in 2003, i was looking at places in Arlington andit was pretty obvious there was almost a 100% disconnect betweenrents and condo prices. I wanted a condo and these were running almost 300K for a 2BR and I could rent a 2BR for 1K. Now the condos were nice new, modern, central AC, good power, all appliances, while the apartment was straight out of the Honeymooners, but, oddly enough I like doing dishes and we endure dragging the laundry to the laundromat. i haven't been stung for a condo fee, i don't deal with much BS from the landlady, and while i wish we had a garage space, it's tolerable.so i saved a lot of money.now that it's post bubble it's rational to discuss purchases.i think things can still drop 20% but wether that shows up as stagnation and inflation or another drop I can't say for sure.
spider,I can't figure out how they fit 5 bedrooms in there? The screened-in porch is nice, though. Would be nice to have in the summer when the mosquitoes are swarming.
Fricken inventory seems to be going up in a straight line. That sucks for prices. I don't understand it. I would like to see it level off. I suppose it was impossible to predict in late 2008 that inventory would decline for 18 months in a row. Go figure.
"Don't feel bad, in 2003, i was looking at places in Arlington andit was pretty obvious there was almost a 100% disconnect betweenrents and condo prices."You should be talking to The Anonymous... he is the one that claims he was totally 100% ready to buy back in 2003 and was talked out of it by faceless people on the internet, dooming him forever. I have never been interested in buying Arlington.
Va_Investor saidDo you have stats from the early 80's when prices dropped considerably? We've already discussed this a million times. Don't you remember that you were pivotal in removing some of the why didn't it drop in the 80s concerns by noting there was a large use of assumable mortgages back then? There also was enormous salary growth in the region during those years (70%ish). Do you predict that over the next few years?Sales did suffer in Northern Virginia during those years. There were 23,043 sales in 1979 in NOVA and 12,435 in 1982. So it did remove a lot of buyers. I presume a good number of sellers refused to sell those years which was another factor in keeping prices from dropping. Now we have tons of short sales and foreclosures in the pipeline.As mytwocents would say all of this is just my $0.02. So if you don't agree we can just agree to disagree.
Here's another factor which probably helped in the early 1980s. Population growth.In 1980, Fairfax County had 596,901 people. In 1985, 668,300. That's an increase of 12%. As Robert would point out with all those new people comes home buyers.In 2010, Fairfax County has 1,056,422 people. In 2015, it's projected to be 1,094,128. That's an increase of 3.5%. Not as many people running here. [It's projected to grow 7% in Arlington so I expect that to help Arlington out.]
tbw,I believe I also mentioned ARMS, buydowns, owner financing and, basically, a frozen market. Neg Am loans also came into play.I find your population stats relevant. So, I guess we will see.I would not be jumping up and down about higher rates if I was a buyer.
meshell, I know. Most 50's homes have really tiny rooms & when you count basement - they can probably fit that many.
Some flippers are getting totally desperate with 8k getting almost over.....
Robert said - "Fricken inventory seems to be going up in a straight line. That sucks for prices. I don't understand it. I would like to see it level off."Really...I thought your demand monster would keep going forever.
Arlington prices looking very good, as usual.
The Anonymous, Robert, and others have given me some good laughs. Who would have thought that a RE blog had comedy potential.Va_Investor, c, thanks for the pointers. I don't know what that gentleman will do or on what schedule. There will be lawyers involved and hard feelings on both sides, it is a divorce. There should be enough money left to buy a small place outright. If not, his daughter is willing to help out. I liked the unit at the Thoreau. The man is over 70. The grab bars in the bathtub are a nice touch. How many cougars live there and will old man-Hefner keep out of trouble. His SIL (son-in-law) will have to have a human intimacy, now-that-you're-dating, talk with him. "Using protection is a way to say that you care."If they don't hear from him for a few days and are worried that he fell and can't get up, send one of the boys over but don't just go in, listen at the door and if they hear squealing, gasping, moaning, and the bed creaking, figure he's busy. This is how he got into the current mess with the gold-digger. He let the little head do the thinking. Thanks.
TN,Nice welcome to a new poster! I don't mind and like the discourse. If you don't, skipping it is enough.
Va_Investor, I took TN's comment as light hearted, said with a smile and fingers in his ears.This mess has been brewing for a while. The man's wife died about 10 years ago. He "cut loose" in a midlife crisis. His daughter was appalled. I know the Son-in-Law so I heard some of the stories.He had a nice SFH in a good area of Fairfax and sold before prices doubled. Then he lived irresponsibly, the worst of the HELOC/ATM lifestyle but he had sold his house so he had money burning a hole in his pocket.That attracted gold diggers. Shopping trips to good stores in New York, daily purchases at Neiman-Marcus, fancy restaurants, jewelry.When the S-I-L came to me for a shoulder to cry on, I thought the choice came down to fixing up his basement or letting the man live in a refrigerator box under a bridge.I didn't think his heart was that cold so he should start clearing out his basement.Then it occurred to me that even though the man didn't have a job and was broke, that the S-I-L had a good job and good savings. Why not buy a small place? His Social Security will cover food and utilities and condo fee. I was thinking $100K to buy but he can afford a little more.If the man lives 10, 15 years and RE doesn't crash, a 1/1 should do fine. Va_Investor pointed out that the Metro is coming to Reston. That could make this bad situation into something good.That family has to make some hard decisions.
Blogger tag said... Va_Investor, I took TN's comment as light hearted, said with a smile and fingers in his ears.Obviously....:-)
spider said... Wow This guy is completely out of his mind - away from reality. Many many sellers like this one, need some treatment!!Spider, I live literally one block from that house. I'm paying $1400/mo rent. Go figure. Notice that they bought it for $200k in 1999. Who would pay more than $400k for that now??
Regarding the debate between VA_Investor and TBW, I'm with TBW on this. I'm going to pay down the house aggressively, so I have no problem with higher interest rates. They absolutely put a downward push on prices. Of course we live in a time now when no first time buyers are putting down 20%, as compared to 30 years ago. So I don't know if that's too accurate of a comparison. In a completely leveraged market, there would have to be an eventual drop in price to meet the higher interest rate, all other things being equal.
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