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.
Quick question: is there any way to get the average income for home owners in an area? Obviously with the steep cost of living here in northern Virginia and relatively high price of housing, it can be challenging to afford a place to own. Is there any source of information that breaks down mean incomes by dwelling type? Thanks.
city-data.com can help
Katie, check out city-data.com and search for the zipcode or neighborhood you are interested in. There are lots of demographics reported there. I'm not sure if there is a table showing mean income X dwelling type, though.For example:city-data
Here's an interesting property:http://franklymls.com/AR7366718It's small but looks to be in fairly good order with an updated kitchen. While some might consider the proximity to the shopping plaza a negative, I really like that plaza and it's not like it's a rowdy or late environment.The lot is also sort of unusually shaped being on the corner of a culdesac like that, but again, I sort of like it. Plus it has a garage.My feeling is this thing holds onto a value of at least $475k but I'd probably want to bid $450k.My $0.02
Ace & Konstantin-I always get depressed when looking at that site. It really shows how much faster housing has gone up compared to incomes. In almost every zip code that I am looking at the median income is 20% or less than the median house price. I guess its possible people always bought houses at 5x their income and over extended themselves, but somehow I doubt it.
Agreed, HB. Part of the explanation is that there may be a lot of renters in those neighborhoods. They tend to be younger and have lower incomes than owners, so they will bring down the median income statistics relative to the home cost statistics. And there may be a lot of retirees in some neighborhoods, who may have lower incomes but a lot of wealth (e.g., making $80K in interest and pension income, plus SS) and who bought a house years ago that is now worth $1 mill. And, as Robert has pointed out previously, the incomes as measured in those sites may not reflect all of the income people actually have available (and they don't measure wealth, e.g., from the sale of a prior home, at all).There was a discussion about this (nationally) in the real estate subforum at city-data.com.
mytwocents, Agree, that house is adorable and seems very well cared for (though they ought to get rid of the security bars at the door, per HGTV advice). But it is sooooo tiny. I think most people living there would soon get very frustrated by how that limits what they can do, and they might be better off in a larger condo where less of their housing $ goes for the land.And who is the Realtor kidding in saying that finishing the basement would increase the value by $100K? Maybe by $20-30K depending on what was done, even though doing the work would likely cost a lot more.
http://franklymls.com/AR7366660Now 273K Assessed at 345K.Actually not a unreasonable price.a little cleanup and it'd make a decent rental
Ace,Agreed, I chuckled at the basement value upgrade comment too. To your comment though, most of the nice high end, 2 bedroom condos are going for the same price if not more. I specifically considered this when buying. Why pay the same price for a box when I can also have a yard? And in the case of this place it also has a garage.My $0.02
$0.02, Ace, its 5/29/2008 sold price was $485,000. it's essentially the same house just two years older with new paint. the new library keeps the Westover RE market afloat, not the houses themselves.
I think the last time I was in a library it was 2002 to pick up tax forms...My $0.02
the underlying notes need to be rolled back and cleaned up.it's a long goat screw of unF^&*ingbut it will get done.The length of time may be a year or 5 years.
Ace-I agree it is probably based on wealth (either savings or from previous houses). Most of the zip codes I am looking at do not have many renters (or people below 30 based on the data). Although you are right the retirees could bring it down.I agree with Robert that a lot of places understate income, but I think city-data is pretty good. They show the breakdown from salary, dividends, interest, capital gains, and business income.
MM, not sure what you mean about the library keeping the real estate market afloat? The Westover area is really nice. I like the beer garden ;).I can't comment rationally on that house b/c I have an irrational hatred for parquet floors.
Meshell-I am with you I find them very ugly. Although you almost don't need to look at the house to value it. With a house that small in that price range, clearly almost the entire value is the land.
Meshell,i'm actually not too familiar with Westover, but my thinking is Westover wouldn't have held its value in the last couple years had the library not opened. it's already nice in '08.i could be wrong, and probably am.
north arlington is high ground.The outer burbs imploded with SubPrime.The inner burbs are riding the Prime collapse.North Arlington, GeorgeTown, Chevy Chase, that's the ultimate high ground, where the wealthy are.They are seeing stagnation and foreclosure, but will have enough resources to hang on for a very long time.
MM, Meshell, I also agree with Meshell. It's a nice area, not too far from DC (and certainly close, in comparison with many other neighborhoods in NoVA), mostly SFHs, and kids go to good schools.Unless you're a parent or senior or someone else who participates in the library programs, I think most people view it as nice to have a new library but not a reason to buy or not buy in a given area.
Interesting news: House Bill Would Force Lenders to Decide on Short Sales in 45 Days
MM The Westover Library has been in Westover since the 1960s. It just moved to a new building in 2008. Meshell By the beer garden, do you mean the area between the Korean grocery and the Post Office or the alley behind the notorious Black Forest Inn where eggs, beer and shots are served at breakfast.
newbie-I hope they are actually able to pass the bill. It really is absurd how long it can take to get a short sale approved. Although I fear that if banks need to make quick response without doing enough due diligence the response will likely be no. I also imagine that if the process starts taking less time and banks actually are saying yes regularly we may see some additional inventory hit the market.
LOL, I don't think the Black Forest Inn is around any more. The beer garden is attached to the little market. Here's the website:http://www.westovermarket.com/_BEER_GARDEN.html
Konstantin & Ace - thanks.mytwocents - I visited that house at an open house when it was in the $520s and wasn't at all impressed. The Westover Village area is lovely (and the schools are well-rated), but homes in Arlington Forest of a similar size are often much nicer. Pictures are deceiving on that listing. That said, the current list price is closer to what it will need to be to sell.
Speaking of libraries I saw an interesting metric the other day. Fairfax County was dead last!The card quotientWhich is our area's most library-loving county? I performed a calculation: the number of library cards issued divided by residents. The result is the LCQ: the library card quotient. Alexandria came out on top, issuing more library cards (172,504) than there are residents (150,006). That's possible because, as with most Washington area libraries, you needn't be a resident to get a card. The results:Alexandria: 1.15Howard County: 0.92Prince William County: 0.71Montgomery County: 0.66Arlington County: 0.54Loudoun County: 0.54District of Columbia: 0.49Prince George's County: 0.49Fairfax County: 0.47 One question would be how often the various systems purge people from the system. Fairfax though has never asked me to prove I still live there or live in a nearby jurisdiction (live in any DC area locality and you can use any of the other DC area locality libraries) so I find the number even more embarrassing low.
Katie,Arlington Forest is the area around Lubber Run, correct? Those homes do have a larger footprint.My $0.02
is $150K enough to add a family room and a full bath (20x20?) to the back of that Westover doll house? that might work for us...
TBW-Thats interesting. I wonder if the fact that Fairfax has the most people has anything to do with it. If something like 10% of people sign up for all of the local library systems you would end up with that significantly increasing the cards/person in the smaller counties.I would also think that areas that have more renters would also have higher cards/person. Renters tend to move a lot more often and if the libraries do not purge their systems often the additional turnover would boost cards per a person.I guess what I am saying is I find it very hard to believe that people in Fairfax and Loudoun really read significantly less than these other counties.
MM-I have no experience dealing with major construction, but I would be shocked if you could not add ~500 sq.ft. for $150K. $300/sq.ft. seems very high to me considering most of the space is a living room, which should be a fairly inexpensive room.
mytwocents - you could be quite right - I hadn't remembered a big difference but the homes I've visited are blurring a bit in my mind. The Arlington Forest base home is a bit under 1100 above grade, the ones with finished basements usually list at around 1500. Many of those have been added on to, though.
MM, HB,The only way you'll know is by getting estimates from a contractor who might actually do the work. HB, I contacted multiple types of firms and all of them quoted prices much, much higher than $150 per square foot. It was (to me) truly shocking how expensive it is to add on if you want a high quality job done that matches the current house, and all of them complained about the cost of conforming to Arlington requirements as well, though that might have been overkill. But a friend who does some work on his own house says that there are some complexities in retrofitting that make it more costly than building from scratch.I have other friends who want to build on their lot. They told prospective contractors that they were primarily interested in basic square footage, not in granite and other expensive bells and whistles. They couldn't get a contractor to even give them an estimate, and I know they told them they expected to pay more than $100 per square foot but I don't know how much more.Of course everyone's experience may be different, and it may be a matter of persisting until you find the right match with the right contractor.It seems that there is still enough work around here for builders and contractors to make a very nice living.
oops, sorry, I just realized that I misread your posts. $300 (not $150)/square foot for a fairly basic room? That you should be able to get done.
Katie,There's a definite difference. I have a home with the footprint typical in Arlington Forest and a friend of mine has a home near that Westover shopping plaza. The difference is primarily the depth of the house. If you look, the larger footprint homes all have 2 windows, or 1 window and 1 door on every side of the house. (A very square footprint.) The smaller style only has a single window in the middle of the shorter side (more rectangular footprint).The difference is most noticeable on the upstairs where you'll find 1 bath and 2 bedrooms in the smaller footprint, and 1 bath, 3 bedrooms in the larger footprint. Granted that third bedroom isn't very big.My $0.02
mytwocents - thanks for the info.
Ace-I agree with your comments that $150/ sq.ft may be hard, without a lot of bells and whistles $300 should be good. So unless the bathroom was going to be huge $150K should be enough.
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