Housing Inventory Snapshot – April 2016

We hope you will find the following snapshot of April’s inventory statistics for the various regions and property types/values in our Northern Virginia Real Estate market informative.

This snapshot features new data points that we introduced last year. They show the trend of changes across several categories from 30 days prior. This can be a good way to lend some perspective to the numbers, bearing in mind that the natural life-cycle of the seasonal markets influence statistics heavily causing some months to be inherently more active than others as we have discussed previously.

2016-0511-housing-inventory-snapshot

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Housing Inventory Snapshot – August 2014

We hope you will find the following snapshot of August’s inventory statistics for our local Real Estate market informative. Please let us know if you need our help with anything real estate related.

I am optimistic that we will have a strong Fall market based on the Days On Market through August. You will notice that, for the most part, the more affordable homes aren’t languishing on the market and in many cases the DOM for active listings is below that of the sold listings. I take that to mean the number of days homes are staying on the market is trending down, indicating that the supply of appealing homes is sufficient to meet the demand.

Housing Inventory Snapshot for August 2014
Housing Inventory Snapshot for August 2014

Our Native Camel Cricket is Under Siege from it’s Asian Cousin

Invading Camel Cricket Species
Invading Camel Cricket Species

According to Wikipedia, “Diestrammena is a cricket genus in the family Rhaphidophoridae. It is native to Asia, including Japan.

The United States is currently undergoing a camel cricket census conducted by researchers and citizen scientists at North Carolina State University. Citizen scientists were asked to survey their homes for presence or absence of camel crickets such as those of this genus and return photos and/or specimens to the lab for further research. Researchers have found that introduced Diestrammena camel crickets were reported much more commonly than the native North American camel crickets of the genus Ceuthophilus.”

Check out this article from Discovery News to learn more about this species that appears to be here to stay:

Nightmarish Cricket That Eats Anything Is Now Invading the US

Support Our Troops with Confidence

Support Our Troops BannerI was speaking with my father during his visit this past fall and mentioned that I was considering donating my horse to the PATH Intl. Horses for Heroes Therapeutic Riding Program which prompted a discussion about how much of the donated proceeds raised by the several Wounded Warrior type organizations actually go towards helping veterans and their families versus paying for administrative costs.  I am from a strong military family and my father serves as the Chairman of the Air Commando Association (ACA) Board of Directors, and is writing a book that is due to be published soon. It’s particularly exciting for our family because he has promised to donate the proceeds to the Air Commando Association Foundation.  Thus began a lengthy discussion and comparison between the three organizations that our family has donated to – Wounded Warrior Project (WWP), Special Operations Warrior Foundation (SOWF ) and the Air Commando Association Foundation Endowment (ACAF ).

Charity Navigator is an independent charity evaluator providing free ratings and evaluations of nonprofit corporations, http://www.charitynavigator.org/. Below are their assessments of the three foundations mentioned above.

http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/
http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/

WWP was founded in 2005 in Roanoke, Virginia and spends 57.9% of the charity’s budget on the programs and services it delivers and 41.9% on fundraising and administrative expenses. They employ officers, directors, trustees, and their highest compensated employees at a cost of $2.197 million.

http://www.specialops.org/
http://www.specialops.org/

SOWF was founded in 1980 and spends 84.4% of the charity’s budget on the programs and services it delivers and 15.5% on fundraising and administrative expenses. They employ 14 full time staff members at a cost of $1.162 million.

http://www.aircommando.org/?q=Foundation
http://www.aircommando.org/?q=Foundation

ACAF Endowment is a much smaller organization, but is quickly growing and helps Air Force Wounded Warriors and their families.  100% of the foundation funds go to helping veterans and their families. The fundraising and administrative costs are funded by the parent association “ACA”.  Their board of directors is exclusively pro-bono.  Another major difference in this foundation is that their agility allows them to react to circumstances at a moment’s notice.

Giving to any of these organizations is a fantastic demonstration of your support for our many men and women in uniform, as well as their families, who have sacrificed so much to secure our freedom and way of life. My only advice would be, do a little research and know how your contribution is being used. When you are comfortable with an organization, knowing about the services they provide and structure of their foundation, then you’ll sleep well assured that your charitable contribution is helping those who have given so much for us.

Silver Line Announces a “Start of Revenue Service” Date

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Wiehle-Reston East Station

At long last the Silver Line has a “planned” opening date, in an announcement from Metro General Manager Richard Sarles made today. The Silver Line plans to be open on Saturday July 26st for service to the general public. Sarles warned that this date is not guaranteed because there are items that need to be completed in order to achieve that goal. Read the entire article here. http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trafficandcommuting/silver-line-service-will-begin/2014/06/23/54a04860-fa2d-11e3-b1f4-8e77c632c07b_story.html

Cost and Travel Time

Riders originating from the Wiehle-Reston East and ending at the Pentagon station will have an estimated 44 minute ride and pay $5.90 during peak times or $3.60 during off-peak times. If you want to plan for your first trip, go to the following link and enter your starting point and destination for cost and an estimated travel time. http://silverlinemetro.com/sv-service/

Locations

There are 5 stations completed in this Phase of the Silver Line build out, I have provided a link to their map showing the locations of the stations. http://silverlinemetro.com/sv-neighborhoods/

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The Silver Line brochure can be viewed at the following link and provides a good overview of pertinent information for prospective riders.

http://silverlinemetro.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/SilverLineBrochure.pdf

Parking

I am sure you have already heard that parking is limited at the stations that provide it and nonexistent at those that don’t, unless you count private parking options. Wiehle-Reston East offers 2047 unreserved parking space and McLean has 9 motorcycle spaces and access to a privately run lot with 700 spaces (for which I couldn’t find a price). The rest offer no parking. I was able to find the following link that quotes the daily parking rate for Wiehle-Reston East at $4.75 per day. http://166.94.9.135/connector/routes/silverline/wiehlerestoneaststation.htm

Airport Access

If you are interested in using the Silver Line to reach Dulles Airport, the good news is you can, the bad news is you will need to board a bus from Wiehle-Reston East to the airport. The plan is that Phase II will be completed by 2018 which will provide riders with a direct connection to Dulles.

30 Things Every Homeowner Should Know

30 Things Every Homeowner Should Know

 

Bob and Norm knew how to get it done.

 

I don’t know about you but I grew up watching Bob Vila on “This Old House”. Bob has put together a really good list of helpful tips for homeowners, some more than others. I recommend you take a few minutes to read his suggestions, numbers 12 and 23 should probably be together in the list but I plan on trying them none the less.

Click on the link above to check it out.

Spring of 2014 Could Mark the Closing of a Window of Opportunity

An overview of the elements that are aligning that could result in 2014 being possibly the last good opportunity to buy or sell for years to come.

Rising home values will reduce your buying power

One Person’s 2014 Predictions

Spring of 2014 could end up being the optimal window to purchase real estate for the foreseeable future. Take risky economic policies that artificially suppress mortgage rates, couple it with the long-awaited recovery from the 2008 national real estate crisis, and add the tightening mortgage qualification practices with the looming end of QE4, and you have a formula for possibly the last strong Spring real estate market for years to come.

Home Values

By all accounts 2013 showed increased strength in the housing sector, and 2014 is expected to build off of the successes of 2013 and be even stronger. With a strengthening real estate market we can expect housing prices to continue to increase. The unintended consequence is that as prices rise, our buying power is diminished – but that isn’t the only thing to watch.

What Else to Watch

You have probably heard that the unemployment rate was last reported at 6.7%, which could lead to further reducing your buying power. You may be saying “how does the unemployment rate impact my ability to buy?” The answer is the raising of mortgage interest rates. Back in 2012 when Ben Bernanke announced QE4 he broke new ground by setting the trigger for the end of the policy to economic factors, the key being “until the unemployment rate falls below 6.5%”. (Historically the trigger had been a calendar date.) Once the unemployment rate passes that threshold there will be compelling cause for the Fed to cease the buying of bonds which will lead to increased interest rates. Just in case you aren’t able to see how that reduces your buying power, a 1% increase to an interest rate can raise the monthly principal and interest payment you make on a $400,000 home by $244, if the rates increase by 2% that jumps up to $501, which is nearly a 25% increase. Add this to the limits that most lenders have adopted on January 10th to comply with the Dodd-Frank Act known as Qualified Mortgages which will generally require that the borrower’s monthly debt, including the mortgage, isn’t more than 43 percent of the borrower’s monthly pre-tax income. This new guideline is 2% less than the previously used ratio for determining buying power. What that means is that a borrower making $8,000 per month can’t have more than $3,440 per month in debt payments including their new mortgage, a reduction of $160 from previous policies. Bottom line – you will qualify for less of a monthly mortgage, at a higher interest rate.

Be Aware

There are millions of Americans who wish they had been given some notice of the potential collapse of the housing bubble back in 2005 when they were striking through appraisal clauses and writing escalation clauses on properties that only a year later would drop drastically in value, ultimately leaving them upside down. There is no way of predicting if all of these circumstances will align in such a way as to make 2014 your last chance to buy the home you want or need, but at least now if they do you can’t say it never occurred to you.

We have owned & operated Williams Realty since 2004 and selling real estate since 1987. The reason we started our own brokerage was so that we would have the flexibility to put money back into the pockets of our clients.

When you think of Northern Virginia Real Estate experts, think of Williams Realty.
Williams Realty can be reached at 703-980-4045 or SpikeandJulie@williamsrealty.us or www.WilliamsRealty.us we look forward to helping you assess your options and plan for your future.