The Wethman Group’s Real Estate News – November

November 2017

Greetings!

We may sound like a broken record, but October followed the suit of the trends we have been seeing in the local market across this year: low inventory, but continued sales and price increases. October marked the 18th month of year-over-year decrease in inventory with active listings down 2.8% from October last year. New contracts were up 2% from this time last year and the median sales price was up over 3%. For this time of year, properties are still moving relatively quickly, with the average Days On Market (DOM) at 17, down 6 days from the 23 in October last year, but still up from the low of 11 we saw in the summer months.
Still thinking of selling this year? Now is the time to act! If you’ve been considering a change, let us work with you on the best strategy to make the most of the current market conditions.
How Will the Tax Bill Affect Area Housing
 

If you have been following the two versions of the proposed tax bill,you know that homeowners could be adversely affected by several of the changes. Because of the high prices in our area, we have the potential to feel the changes more than a lot of the country. This article does a good job of summarizing the two plans, and concludes the House bill would increase home-related tax liability for 18.5% of current homeowners. Buying would still be a better deal than renting, but for home buyers looking in the $500k-$1M range, that margin would shrink by 8-13%. The Senate bill does away with the deduction for property tax, raising the tax liability for homeowners, but with potentially less pronounced affect. The increase in cost of homeownership is projected to make current owners more likely to make do with current living situations than “move up”, which would lead to further strain on already low area inventory.
Wethman Group in the News
 
Katie was quoted this week in this Trulia article about the best area neighborhoods for first time home buyers. Check it out!
Client Appreciation Program and Events 
As always, we’re so appreciative our all of our clients and their referrals.  Our latest “Thank You” events:
 
Pie Day Party: Tuesday, November 21
Movie with Santa at Tysons: Saturday, December 2
 
Postcards and email invitations are out! Clients, let us know if we missed you and we will get you the information ASAP.
Stay tuned for more details about our new “Wethman Group Perks” program launching in 2018!
LOANER PROGRAM ADDITIONS: You probably remember 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.  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
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Stop Renting! Here’s Where You Should Buy a Home in Washington DC & Northern Virginia

Conventional wisdom dictates that is better to buy than rent.  However, in many of the nation’s most expensive markets, like DC, the decision to buy is increasingly more difficult.  The metro’s renters are conflicted, on one hand their monthly rent is more than $2,200, yet DC home prices are rising yearly making it ever more challenging to enter the market.

 

In May, it was 31 percent cheaper to buy than rent nationally, according to Trulia, and It is still cheaper to buy than rent in DC today.  With the Federal Reserve threatening another interest rate hike in December, now is the time to buy a home in the DC metro.

 

Here are six areas in the area where renters can save substantial money by choosing to purchase a home in Washington, DC or Northern Virginia.

 

Adams Morgan, Washington, DC

It is 22 percent cheaper to buy than rent in this multicultural neighborhood with a diverse restaurant scene for the average foodie. The median sales price for Adams Morgan DC real estate is $560,000 and the median rent is $2,875. Renting costs average $2,745 per month while buying costs average $2,154 per month. Choosing to buy in Adams Morgan would save a renter close to $600 per month.

 

Mount Pleasant, Washington, DC

Located north of downtown, Mount Pleasant is a short metro ride from the heart of the District.  Its nearness to shopping and Rock Creek Park make it one of the District’s most desirable neighborhood.  This may account for its lofty median rent of $4,650 per month.  Renter’s in this neighborhood should become owners.  Despite the median home sale price of $890,000, it is 24 percent cheaper to buy a home in Mount Pleasant. Renters could save $12,000 annually by choosing to own.

 

Columbia Heights, Washington DC

Just east of Mount Pleasant, Columbia Heights is another one of the District’s more sought-out neighborhoods.  Its median rent is $3,625 while the median sales price of homes is $625,000.  It is currently, 28 percent cheaper to buy than rent in this District neighborhood.  In seven years, a renter could potentially save $60,000 by investing in Columbia Heights real estate now.

 

Arlington, VA

Arlington with its many office buildings, is popular with both young adults and families seeking a shorter commute.  Those living in Arlington VA spend $3,056 per month renting whereas homeowners only spend $2,265 per month.  Making it 26 percent cheaper to buy than rent.  Renters could save over $66,000 in a seven-year period by choosing to invest in Arlington real estate.

 

Falls Church, VA

Falls Church, just west of Arlington, offers a great suburban experience. It is 21 percent cheaper to buy than rent in this Northern Virginia community.  The median sales price of a home in Falls Church $540,000. Renters spend $2,650 per month while homeowners spend $2,081 per month.

 

McLean, VA

The choice to buy instead of rent is a slightly tougher choice for residents of McLean, VA.  Buying offers a 10 percent advantage to would-be homeowners. In McLean, the cost of rent is $3,296 per month while buying costs are $3,653 per month.  The savings per month is $357.  After seven years, McLean rents could amass close to a $30,000 nest egg.

 

The numbers tell a compelling story.  DC renters should be encouraged to jump on the home-buying bandwagon.  With impending interest rate hikes, the time to start a home search is now. Call us today so you can find a home here and reap the benefits.

 

Methodology: Rent vs. Buy pricing assumes a 20 percent down payment, a 30-year fixed loan, a 4.35% interest rate, an income tax rate of 25%, and ownership for 7 years.

 

Katie Bassett is a freelance blogger who covers a wide array of topics within the real estate industry as well as the overall lifestyle for millennials.

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The Wethman Group’s Real Estate News – October

October 2017

Greetings!

In September we typically see a flurry of market activity following a bit of a lull in August, and this year was no exception. New listings were up over 18% from August, and new pending sales were up from September last year. Inventory remains tight, with the 17th consecutive month of year-over-year decline in active listings. September saw the 12th consecutive month of year-over-year price increases, and the highest September on record in a decade.
As you can see from the table above, the price changes vary greatly by the jurisdiction within the region and then even within neighborhoods within those jurisdictions. Contact us for specific data by zip code or price point to strategize your best approach.
Still thinking of selling this year? Now is the time to act! If you’ve been considering a change, let us work with you on the best strategy to make the most of the current market conditions.
0% Interest Loan Program
NASA credit union is offering a 0% loan program with 0% Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI), even on jumbo loans. This is a great program, and basically anyone can apply, no NASA affiliation required.
Client Appreciation Program and Events 
 
CLIENT EVENT SAVE THE DATES:
Pie Day Party: Tuesday, November 21
Movie with Santa at Tysons: Saturday, December 2
Postcards and email invitations will go out to clients later this month.
LOANER PROGRAM ADDITIONS: You probably remember we have a free moving truck, but we’ve also now added an electric lawn mower and hedge trimmer to our inventory, available for your short-term use. We also have a leaf blower/shredder for Fall cleanups!  Just email us to reserve an item for pickup.
 
Ekko Title Providing Relief in Puerto Rico
We were thrilled to loan the Wethman Group moving truck to help Sara Mendez Rodriguez and Ekko Title with their Puerto Rico donation drive!  They sent two VERY full trucks down to Florida on October 13th. The supplies will be sent on a chartered flight to Puerto Rico this week. Sara, who is from PR, will be going to Florida too, and then on to PR, to oversee distribution of food, water, diapers, cleaning supplies, feminine products, and much more, directly to people who still desperately need help. If you or a group you know could use our moving truck to aid the community or collect donations for this or another worthy cause, we’d love to help!
First Time Home Buyer Classes
 
We are gauging interest for hosting our popular class for first time buyers on a few dates this fall. Curious about the process of searching for your new home? Is buying one of your goals for 2018 but not sure where to start? We cover these topics and more in our class and consistently get rave reviews for the usefulness of the content. Drop us a line to let us know you are interested in attending and we will keep you posted as we add dates.
Love us? Review us! Your reviews drive our business. To show our appreciation, if you share your experience online at Yelp, Zillow, Angie’s List, or on Facebook, and you will be entered into a quarterly drawing for a $100 gift card. Plus, you will instantly receive our deepest gratitude!
As always, if you or someone you know has a real estate need please reach out. We’re here to help!
The Wethman Group
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The Wethman Group’s Real Estate News – September

September 2017

Greetings!

August is known to be a slow month in DC generally with the congressional recess and end of summer vacations. In our local housing market, we had just a little more pep than historical averages. September numbers won’t be out for a few more weeks, but we have also seen a bit of a pick up in our own office here in the short time following Labor Day. The season isn’t over folks!
New listings were up 7.2% from August last year, but down from last month, which is fairly typical seasonality. On our team, we had a couple of buyers who were looking all summer finally get a contract on the right place for them when a new listing popped up, and a couple of sellers match up with buyers after longer than anticipated on the market. The numbers show a mixed bag overall. The market is still active, but with prices leveling off slightly, and homes sitting a little longer, it is too soon to tell if what we are seeing in the market is seasonal or part of a larger shift.
As always, these are general trends. Contact us for specific data by zip code or price point to strategize your best approach.
There is still time to think about selling this year! Our area experiences another flurry of activity between September and the end of October, so if you are on the fence, it is time to move. Not able to move that fast? It is never too early to start planning for spring of next year–we see buyers out as early as February! If you’ve been considering a change, let us work with you on the best strategy to make the most of the current market conditions.
DC Recordation Tax News
First time home buyers in DC may soon be eligible for significant savings on closing costs! Beginning October 1, 2017, qualified buyers may receive up to 50% off the recordation tax (from as much as 1.45% down to .0725%) on eligible property purchases. The property value cannot exceed $625,000 and buyers must apply for eligibility, but this is great news for buyers looking in the District. We will share more information as the program is rolled out and we see it in action.
Client Appreciation Program and Events  
CLIENT EVENT SAVE THE DATES:
Pie Day Party: Tuesday, November 21
Movie with Santa at Tysons: Saturday, December 2
Postcards and email invitations will go out to clients next month.
VENDOR GUIDE: Be on the lookout in the mail for our newly updated Recommended Vendor Guide!
LOANER PROGRAM ADDITIONS: You probably remember we have a free moving truck, but we’ve also now added an electric lawn mower and hedge trimmer to our inventory, available for your short-term use. We also have a leaf blower/shredder for Fall cleanups!  Just email us to reserve an item for pickup.
First Time Home Buyer Classes
 
We are gauging interest for hosting our popular class for first time buyers on a few dates this fall. Curious about the process of searching for your new home? Is buying one of your goals for 2018 but not sure where to start? Are the low interest rates attractive, but still not sure if renting or buying is best in your situation? We cover these topics and more in our class and consistently get rave reviews for the usefulness of the content. Drop us a line to let us know you are interested in attending and we will keep you posted as we add dates.
Love us? Review us! Your reviews drive our business. To show our appreciation, if you share your experience online at Yelp, Zillow, Angie’s List, or on Facebook, and you will be entered into a quarterly drawing for a $100 gift card. Plus, you will instantly receive our deepest gratitude!
As always, if you or someone you know has a real estate need please reach out. We’re here to help!
The Wethman Group
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The Wethman Group’s Real Estate News – September 2017

September 2017

Greetings!

As summer winds to a close we are seeing some changes in the market, but it is too soon to tell if this is part of a seasonal cooling or a bigger emerging trend. The year-over-year July median price in our area inched up 1% from last July, but was down 3% (just over $15,000) from last month’s record median price. July new pending sales were down 3% from last year’s record July high, and down 14% from last month. Houses are sitting on the market a bit longer, with average Days on Market (DOM) up 2 days from June. Our team has seen some great listings of our own sellers sit longer than anticipated, even when priced competitively, and in great showing condition. Is this the beginning of a tip in the favor of buyers? Time will tell and we’ll keep you informed.
Inventory is still low, with July marking the 15th straight month of month-over-month declines in active inventory. New listings were in line with previous July averages, but were quickly absorbed by buyers. New listings are actually up 1.5% year to date over last year, but increased buyer activity earlier in the season accounted for the continued decline in active inventory.
As always, these are general trends. We are seeing more variation among neighborhoods and price bands. Contact us for specific data by zip code or price point to strategize your best approach.
There is still time to think about selling this year! Our area experiences another flurry of activity between September and the beginning of October, so if you are on the fence, it is time to move. Not able to move that fast? It is never too early to start planning for spring of next year. If you’ve been considering a change, let us work with you on the best strategy to make the most of the current market conditions.
In the News
Fannie Mae joined Freddie Mac in announcing this week that appraisals will no longer be required on certain properties with low Loan to Value ratios, saving buyers (and lenders) both time and money. The majority of loans will be unaffected, but if the property is in a hot area, likely to hold or appreciate in value, and the buyer is putting down a large down payment, a waiver of the appraisal could save the buyer $500 in fees and potentially 10 days in closing time.
VOTE FOR US: Best of Arlington
Voting for Arlington Magazine’s Best of  Arlington survey is open and we’d love your vote for Best Real Estate Agent. Go to vote.wethmangroup.comand write in Katie Wethman. A vote for Katie is a vote for the entire Wethman Group team! Choose winners in at least 5 categories, and include your name, address (no requirement that you live in the area), and email for your vote to count. Your support means the world to us!
Love us? Review us! Your reviews drive our business. To show our appreciation, if you share your experience online at Yelp, Zillow, Angie’s List, or on Facebook, and you will be entered into a quarterly drawing for a $100 gift card. Plus, you will instantly receive our deepest gratitude!
As always, if you or someone you know has a real estate need please reach out. We’re here to help!
The Wethman Group
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The Wethman Group’s Real Estate News

July 2017

Greetings!

We’ve seen cooler temperatures in our area here recently, and a bit of a cool down in the housing market. The spring market may have just peaked–June saw the most homes sold in a single month in our area since 2005. The median sales price, however, dropped slightly from May’s all-time high. As you can see from the chart below, it was still a June record, and the second highest monthly median price on record.  Despite June’s aggregate numbers, on the ground we’re starting to see certain price points and locations level off, and there are some disappointed sellers.
Buyers remain active. The market saw an influx of new listings in June, up 4% from June last year, but down 3.5% from the number of new listings we saw added the previous month in May. The number of listings that remain active and available to buy is still down 7.3% from this month last year, for the 14th consecutive month of year-over-year decreases in active listings. With interest rates remaining low, and pricing trending upward, buyers are out finding their homes among the inventory that is available.
As mentioned above, those buyers are starting to have more leverage in the market. We’ve recently seen less competition over individual listings, listings sitting on the market slightly longer, and buyers able to negotiate some favorable terms. Certain pockets of DC and Arlington remain fairly strong, but in other areas, the market is becoming less competitive. Perhaps it is just the annual seasonal lull, or we may be beginning to see a bit of a leveling off of the frenzy. As always, contact us for more specific data by zip code or price point to strategize timing.
Thinking of selling? Start a conversation with us now about timing. Inventory is still low and the market in our area experiences a nice little pop of activity most years around September. If you’ve been considering a change, let us work with you on a strategy to make the most of the current market conditions.

Client Appreciation Day at the Nats Game
On Sunday, July 9th, clients and friends who’ve referred us shared a gorgeous day at the Nationals game. The sun was shining, the temps were in the high 70s, and the Nats beat the Braves 10 to 5! Smiles all around. Want to join us next year? Buy or sell with us, or refer your friends our way. We have an amazing group, and we’d love to add you!
Love us? Review us! Your reviews mean so much to our business. Share your experience online at Yelp, Zillow, Angie’s List, or on Facebook, and you will be entered into a quarterly drawing for a $100 gift card. Plus, you will instantly receive our deepest gratitude!
As always, if you or someone you know has a real estate need please reach out. We’re here to help!
The Wethman Group
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The Wethman Group’s Real Estate News

June 2017

Greetings!
The temps are hot and so is the market! The median sales price in our area reached the all-time high for any month on record, topping the previous high of $446,000 reached in June 2016. New contract activity was up over 4% over last May’s record.
May finally saw a nice increase in new listings, up 8.7% over last year, and 5.5% over last month, but it wasn’t enough to make up for the already low level of inventory we have been seeing. A lot of new listings are snatched up within days of entering the market. Median Days on Market (DOM) at 10 days- the second lowest mark in a decade (9 days in 2013). Which means active listing (those available to buy) in May were still down 10.9% from this time last year and at the lowest May level since 2013.
We’re seeing multiple bids on most properties that are priced to sell, and significant offers over asking in a few pockets of DC and Arlington. Even though the market is competitive, we have a lot of happy buyers right now! Making the most attractive offer isn’t just about competing on price. There are many components that play into the strategy of an offer. If you are thinking of buying, let us guide you on how to put your best foot forward in this hot market. Set up a conversation with one of our buyer agents to come up with a strategy that is tailored to your goals.
Thinking of selling? Now’s the time! Inventory is still at the lowest level we have seen in 4 years and prices are reaching record highs. Buyers are well informed and ready to move. If you have been considering a change, start the conversation with our listing team to figure out your how to position your property to maximize your return.

Upcoming Event: Client Appreciation Day at the Nats Game
To show our appreciation for our business, we’d love to take you out to the ballgame! Join us as the Nationals take on the Braves, Sunday, July 9th at 1:35pm. Tickets are on us, but you must RSVP. If you are a current or past client, or have referred clients to us, and haven’t yet received your invite, reach out to us at baseball@wethmangroup.com and we’ll get you squared away!
Love us? Review us! Your reviews mean so much to our business. Share your experience online at Yelp, Zillow, Angie’s List, or on Facebook, and you will be entered into a quarterly drawing for a $100 gift card. Plus, you will instantly receive our deepest gratitude! This quarter’s winner: Meghan Hurley! Meghan got 3 entries for her awesome reviews on Yelp, Zillow, AND Facebook. Thanks, Meghan!
As always, if you or someone you know has a real estate need please reach out. We’re here to help!
The Wethman Group
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