The Wethman Group’s Real Estate News – December

December 2017


In the News 
  • Local Market Update
  • Tax Bill Update
  • Fed Increases Rate
  • New Loan Limits
Local Market Update:
November was a busy month for sellers and buyers! While we are approaching a slower time of year, serious buyers are still out looking, in hopes of taking advantage of lower interest rates.
There is about 11% less inventory on the market, compared to November 2016, with the majority of the difference tied to a decrease in available detached/single family homes. Sales are about the same for townhouses, condos, and coops. Almost all areas are experiencing fewer days on market, compared to the same period in 2016. The average days on market for sellers in November/December can take a bit longer than the spring, but serious buyers are still out looking!
The average sales price has increased about 7.5%. This is good news for owners, even if their home takes a bit longer to sell.

As expected, the fed increased short-term rates for the 3rd time in 2017, but left their rate outlook unchanged for the upcoming years. Interest rates were hovering around 4.25% earlier this year, but have remained lower this Fall at around 4%.
Thinking about selling your home in 2018? Don’t wait for Spring! The serious buyers start looking as early as February, and we typically see higher prices and multiple offers for our sellers *very* early in the season! Contact us today to get a free consultation for your home and updated market analysis of your neighborhood!
( Data & graph from SmartCharts by Showingtime)
Fed Rate Increase
As expected, the Fed raised interest rates.  Mortgage (long term) rates came DOWN in the first 2 days following the increase because the increase was expected, and indicates the markets are taking cues from the Fed, but with the economy improving in jobs and tamed inflation (so far), we can expect steadily rising rates in 2018.

Tax Bill Update

As you may know, both the House and Senate passed different versions of the tax bill, and the bill has now emerged from committee with some compromises.  We’ll have more extensive commentary if and when the final bill passes, but here are the key real estate-related provisions to date:
– The bill allows a “pass through” deduction of 20% of income to an LLCs, S-Corps, and partnerships for income up to $315,000 (phases out completely at $415,000).  It appears that if you own rental real estate in an LLC, then 20% of the income (up to the limit) could be tax exempt.  Maybe it’s time to buy that rental property?!  (This part of the bill remains under intense scrutiny and may face adjustments before passing.)
– The reconciled bill allows mortgage interest on the first $750,000 of debt to be deducted.  (This is a compromise from the House limit of $500,000 and Senate version of the current $1,000,000).
– Both versions increase the standard deduction and eliminate personal exemptions.  This means that for many homeowners, it will no longer make sense to itemize on Schedule A, especially since the state and local tax deduction is also capped (currently at a combined $10,000), further limiting the tax advantage that homeowners typically enjoy over renters.  The reconciled bill allows homeowners to deduct a combined state and local tax PLUS property taxes but CAPS the combined deduction at $10,000.
– Both versions had altered the “2 out of 5 years” rule for tax free gains upon the sale of a principal residence. But the reconciled version does NOT have any amendments to this part of the tax code.  So the capital gains exclusion of $250,000 for singles and $500,000 for couples filing jointly, if you’ve lived in the property 2 out of the last 5 years, appears to remain intact for now.
Stay tuned!
New Loan Limits
The conventional conforming loans limits have been increased for 2018, making it easier to get an affordable mortgage at a slightly higher price.  For the DC metro area, our loan limits are $453,100 and $679,650(significant increases from the previous $424,100 and $636,150.)
Client Appreciation Program and Events 
As always, we’re so appreciative our all of our clients and their referrals!  We loved seeing everyone at our Thanksgiving Pie Day party and our Breakfast at the Movies with Santa.
Stay tuned for more details about our new “Wethman Group Perks” program launching in 2018!
LOANER PROGRAM ADDITIONS: You probably know we have a free moving truck, but we’ve also now added 2 warming buffets, a large coffee urn, and a 4 foot table, available for your short-term use. Yard full of leaves? We have a leaf blower and shredder, too.  Need to clean the gutters?  Ask us about our ladder!  Just email us to reserve an item for pickup.
First Time Home Buyer Classes – Coming Soon ONLINE!
In 2018 we are taking out popular First Time Home Buyer Classes online! Beginning in February, we will be offering a free online webinar that covers: deciding to buy, financing, your home search, and trends in the local market, among other topics. Register here and we will keep you in the loop when the dates are set, or forward this to a friend who is thinking about starting their search!
As always, if you or someone you know has a real estate need please reach out. We’re here to help!
The Wethman Group