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.
Seeing that housing season is just starting to ramp up I was curios if anyone went to open houses and what the general feelings was at these open houses. I went to dunn loring house I didn't really have any interest in the house, but I like the location so it is always nice to get a feeling for what is on the market and pricing. Although well updated the house had a lot of major issues. First the layout was very odd, the basement was very short, there was a old age home right behind the house, and there were a lot of bedrooms all of which were small. So although I didn't like the house I talked to the realtor just to see what she saw. She implied that most people agreed the layout was odd, but there were a couple of people interested. She also said she got a lot of heat from the neighbors, because they thought the house was priced to low $790K. The house had been on the market $899K for 4 months with a different agent with no action. I always find it funny when neighbors get mad that someone lowers the price of their house when it didn't sell at the first price.
I visited this Alexandria townhome over the weekend. Stayed for awhile and there was a good amount of foot traffic the entire time. Layout was nice and spacious, but there were a lot of stairs. The biggest drawback was two gigantic electrical towers right behind the property (visible from the satellite view in the link). From talking to the agent, this is why the house is priced lower than others in the same community. I'm curious to see how much the house eventually sells for.
Well CS came out and although the index was down 1% nationally DC was up 0.3% (it was the only city where prices increased).When you look at the tiered index low priced homes (0-290K) were down 0.4% mid priced homes (290-465K) where up 0.7% and high priced homes (465K+) where up 0.1%. Over the last year it looks like housing prices increased going into the tax credit, but have been basically flat (+0.2%) since June
HB -- what is the thing with the ceiling fan above it? A bar?Im assuming so, but the pic with the fireplace (possibly in the same room) also shows a wet bar.2 bars? In the same room?
WSJ Article: "Realtor Group May Have Overstated Number of Existing Houses Sold Since 2007"The National Association of Realtors, which produces a widely watched monthly estimate of sales of previously owned homes, is examining the possibility that it over-counted U.S. home sales dating back as far as 2007.The group reported that there were 4.9 million sales of previously owned homes in 2010, down 5.7% from 5.2 million in 2009. But CoreLogic, a real-estate analytics firm based in Santa Ana, Calif., counted just 3.3 million homes sales last year, a drop of 10.8% from 3.7 million in 2009. CoreLogic says NAR could have overstated home sales by as much as 20%. While revisions wouldn't affect reported home-price numbers, they could show that the housing market faces a bigger overhang in inventory, given the weaker demand.NAR said the data, which are used by economists, investors and the real-estate industry to gauge the health of the housing market, could be revised downward this summer. Lawrence Yun, chief economist at NAR, wasn't specific about whether and by how much the revisions could reduce reported sales, and he raised the possibility that the CoreLogic estimates have understated the number of home sales. "This is a very important issue, and we are looking at it carefully right now," Mr. Yun said.http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704476604576158452087956150.html?mod=WSJ_hp_LEFTWhatsNewsCollection
hb,Is that spiral staircase the only access to the loft? IMO those things are a big negative - dangerous for old and young.I had a house once where the owner had removed a wall to make a large 2nd bedroom. I had an estimate to put one back up for $800. I don't know if this is feasible here.I thought (from the pics) that some things were a little wierd but it looked like a nice place. What's up with the second kitchen? A separate living space can be nice if you have a live-in nanny or in-law.I lived in DL for about 6mos in the 80's and I liked it alot (I worked on Gallows in Tysons).Not surprised the nabes are pissed. This "low" price is called "killing the comps".
I didn't go to any opens but I did put an offer on a short (with 4 others) that came on Friday night and was uc Sunday.Well located, well priced places should move quickly now if we are to have a good Spring Market.Re: CS. I'm not too surprised about the lower end because prices were artificially high during the 8K time-frame. From my perspective, many were paying 20 or 30K to get that 8K. And the lower-end was quite obviously the segment most affected by the 8K.
Anon-The room with the fireplace and small wetbar looked like a living room. The room with the big wet bar and the celing fan appeared to be more of a room for a party. It was just a large room with the bar, although it was also the room with the spiral stair case to the loft.VA-I am not sure what the purpose of the spiral staircase or loft was. It was the only spiral staircase and the loft was tiny and in a room that looked like it was meant for parties. Maybe the loft was where you put the DJ and turn table for when you want to use the room as a dance floor.The house had a lot of very unique (mostly negative) features.
I’ll go out on a limb and predict tomorrow’s headline: Attempting to disprove common wisdom and oft-cited phrase, Yun proclaims that “NAR is, in fact, entitled to its own set of facts.” “Numbers and data do not tell the entire story,” Yun said. The NAR reports reflect a multi-dimensional analysis of the housing market that is not found in other traditional housing statistics. “We take into account not only actual sales,” Yun explained, “but also the sentiment and aspirations of our Realtors, and the sales that would have occurred had the former resulted in the latter.” He added, “it’s a great time to be a homebuyer.” [sorry, couldn't resist.]
Mike,I don't really care what Yun says. Fortunately, we no longer have to rely on the NAR for data.I only care about LOCAL market conditions and Months of Inventory tells us supply and demand. I forgot how far behind CS is. I'll go even further and say that I only care about the places I own and how those micro-markets are doing.Do you really care about more than the area where you want to buy?
HB -- thanks for that description of the house.Regarding CS (for DC), im actually a bit skeptical of the MOM increase, largely because it came in the winter (often declines due to seasonality). They sometimes revise these numbers in sucessive months, and I would not be surprised if they revise it to slightly down. We shall see.
Pat -- I dont remember the point you were trying to make the other day, but at the time you were suggesting "zero population increase" for the area. Others suggested you were "way off" for assuming zero population growth. I was reading an article today about population changes, and it linked to the latest census data http://www.census.gov/popest/counties/CO-EST2009-05.htmlIndeed, it does look like you are off in assuming zero population growth. Even at the worst of the housing bust, try 6K annual increase for the district, 58K+ annual increase for the VA burbs and 22K annual increase for the MD burbs. Not sure where they are going to fit all those people. Sounds like alot more competition on price...
I got the short. Half of 2005 delivery price. 180K with current renter paying $1,700 and wants to stay. Sought after community across the street from RTC. Time to "step away from the pen".
Don't know if I missed it here, but the FFX Co. assessments are now online. My assessment is up 5% from 2010, but 8.7% below what it was appraised for in October when we refinanced. And I thought it was a conservative appraisal. Still 13% below the top in 06/07.
Watching geopolitics. I know it's easy to get trapped into doomsday/domino scenarios, but it seems more serious this time.
Robert,It seems to be all about oil and the affect that will be seen on prices of virtually everything.Makes me more pissed about our lack of agressive drilling - a decades long situation.How does this affect Defense cut-backs?
Robert,I feel the same way.
Fred,I am somewhat skepical about whatever the assessor's office does. Revenue generation or valid increases? From my perspective, zero increases are welcome.
Thanks for the heads up about Fairfax tax assessments. Ours is down about 13k from last year. My friend's, who lives in a townhouse about 2 miles away, is up 40k. I'll gladly take the lower assessment since we don't plan to sell any time soon - especially since assessments for the county are up for 64% of houses according to the website. I'm hoping that means they won't have to increase the rate so my tax bill will actually go down this year.
Jeremy-I think the tax rate increased from 1.04% to 1.09% according to this page tax rate This is for fiscal year 2011, which I think is the most recent year although I know the fiscal years change at odd times. Either way a ~5% increase in tax rate coupled with a ~2% drop in home assessment shouldn't leave you with a large increase.
Jeremy-My parents assessment was flat, but my brothers assessment was up over 20%...
HB,According to this page it looks like the rates were already 1.09% for 2010 and the current proposed rate for 2011 is still 1.09%. I'm just hoping they keep it that way and don't increase it at the meeting in March.
Jeremy-It looks like you are correct. I think the web page I was showing was fiscal year 2011. It appears that Fiscal 2011 is mostly over so the tax increase was for last year.
contrarian,Indeed you predicted civil unrest. However, even a broken clock...
Contrarian-I agree that you were predicting civil unrest, although I think you had the reasons wrong. Most of the civil unrest is because people can not afford food because of the inflation.
Sorry Contrarian - I mostly kept your posts that painted you in the most foolish of lights (such as chastizing MM for holding stocks at the bottom, telling me DJIA would break March 09 lows by Oct 2010, telling us may 10 was the peak of the market), etc. Too bad you deleted everything you ever wrote cause now there is no evidence you were ever "right"*** about anything.As an aside, Im curious, do you follow The Automatic Earth? If not, it seems just like your cup of tea.http://theautomaticearth.blogspot.com/Over there, they have been predicting imminent massive deflation (for 10 years), peak oil, preparations for a nuclear attack, etc -- all very glug glug glug stuff you would lap up with wild abandon. Moreover, theve got guys there who left the US because 9/11 was an "inside job", others predicting imminent die off of millions of people (even in the US), others still eating their store of food left over from Y2K!!!If you havent, I suggest you get yourself acquainted with that blog. This blog will not go on forever, and I worry you will not have a home anymore. Over there, they will welcome you with open arms. Many of them have been predicting the big KABOOM for over 20 years now. Thus you can continue to insist "it just hasnt hit DC -- YET" for the rest of your natural life!!! ***in the broken clock twice a day sense
Va., fourth in the US in new jobs in 2010 per the Governor. Where do you suppose those jobs are?
Contrarian said...You seem to be fully capable of using the wayback machine when it benefits YOU!Yep -- guilty as charged.Anyhoo, serious question about The Automatic Earth. Why arent you a regular there?
VA_Investor:This is in response to your question, “do you really care about more than the area where you want to buy?” All things being equal, no, I probably do not care. But, these are unique times, to say the least. We are going through a *national* housing bust. Yes, even in DC’s toniest neighborhoods, you can find real-world examples of this bust. Has the DC area weathered the storm better than most/all? Yes, of course, this is indisputably the case. But, as today’s C&S report demonstrates, the bust *continues* throughout much of the nation. Why? Because, in my opinion, the government’s ability to manipulate the housing market has reached an apex. I and others have listed here before all of the truly remarkable and unprecedented actions the government has undertaken to place a floor under housing. Other than keeping rates artificially low, there is little else the government can do, assuming it had the political-will or finances in the first instance. DC undoubtedly has been and will continue to be helped by the presence of government money (both directly and indirectly). As we enter into an era of austerity, however, will this help be of sufficient quantity and duration to offset another downward trajectory in housing? In other words, if the rest of the nation has a double-dip in housing, can you really expect that DC be spared? Can you really envision a situation where all or most major metro areas reach new C&S lows, but DC remains unscathed? We live in interesting times. Things are happening at such speed and frequency that it’s virtually impossible to intelligently process their implications, not to mention their interconnectedness. For what it’s worth, I actually do *not* believe that the geo-politics of the Middle East will have long-term negative effects for our economy; I’m actually quite optimistic on that front. But, one thing seems certain: the next few days, weeks and/or months will bring uncertainty. The market loathes uncertainty. Add to the mix government austerity, a potential government shut-down and state budget messes, and who knows what will happen … perhaps nothing. One thing I do not take-away from any of this, though, is that “now is the time to buy.” I see absolutely no penalty for keeping my powder dry.
Mike,You make a good argument.
"contrarian said...Another servingof DEFLATION:"And yet, despite your numerous parade of clueless doomers, the actual DATA (which you used to gleefully show us when there actually was deflation) shows that inflation continues unabated:http://www.inflationdata.com/inflation/Consumer_Price_Index/CurrentCPI.aspJust think, when you first decided wait out the massive deflation you just "knew" was coming, CPI was around 200. Now, to your horror, CPI is now OVER 220 - a full 10% higher than your original starting point!Thus, even if you do somehow see CPI drop -10% (the worst drop since the great depression), all that would do is put prices EXACTLY where they were when you first decided massive deflation was just around the corner. Meaning your waiting has gained you nothing. Thats the whole problem with your elliot wave idiocy and its unimportance of timing. You wouldnt buy something at $100 (cuz deflation is "just around the corner), watch it rise for 10 years to $150 (all the while muttering deflation is "just around the corner"), see deflation knock it down 10% to $135, and then gleefully shout "I told you so!!!", oblivious to the fact that its still $35 more than what it was when you first decided deflation is "just around the corner"Waiting years and years, just to pay more. So sad...so sad.
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