The Wethman Group’s Real Estate News

January 2017

Greetings!

The New Year is off to a quick start in the real estate world.  Is buying or selling a home one of your New Year’s resolutions?  It’s time to get started!  December median home prices in our area were the highest on record, up 4% from last year, but relatively stable since November, up only .08%. Inventories are typically low in the winter months, which is compounding the already very low inventory trend we are seeing in this area. Inventories are still 15% above the all time low in 2012, but below the 5 and 10 year averages.
Buyers are still quite active. We have several clients right now waiting for inventory to hit the market in the next few months to make a move. Buyers and sellers alike may be feeling the pressure to move while interest rates have, perhaps temporarily, leveled off since the increase that began in late October.
I know we have been saying this for months now, but it’s a great time to sell! If you are able to be flexible with your move plans, don’t wait until spring- talk to us about getting ready to go on the market now. Sellers, our experience shows that February is a great time to list – often resulting in multiple offers!
Buyers, get ready for the spring pop in inventory by educating yourself about the home buying process, and getting pre-approved with a lender. We are hosting our popular First Time Home Buyer Class next month, details below and work with some fantastic lenders, so ask us for recommendations based on your goals and circumstances.
We need reviews!  If you’re a past client, don’t forget to leave us a review to be entered into a drawing for two free Caps tickets (they’re doing great, by the way)!
Upcoming First Time Home Buyer Class
Tuesday, February 21st, Capitol City Brewery Register Here
As always, if you or someone you know has a real estate need, we’re here to help.
The Wethman Group
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How Interest Rate News Affects Your Home Search

With the interest rate in the news, I wanted to provide some perspective on what that might mean if you are considering buying a home. The Fed declined to raise the rate, but is projected to make a slight bump in December. While rates probably wont skyrocket soon, any increase does affect your buying power when it comes to house shopping. We would never advise you to buy a house based on fear or market pressure. The decision to buy should be made considering many factors, including your lifestyle, desires, and general readiness, in addition to financial considerations. To look at the financial picture, a rent versus buy calculator, like my favorite from the New York Times, can help you get a better sense of whether or not it makes sense for you.

If you are already considering buying a home, the projected bump in interest rates, and the estimated additional 5.4% increase in housing prices over the next year, may be reasons to consider looking in earnest now, versus waiting until next spring or summer. As an example, below is a snapshot at the average housing price for a first time home buyer in our area. If you are looking at homes priced higher, the difference will be even more pronounced.

The difference of $185 a month, may not look like much, but it adds up to almost $67,000 across the life of the loan for the same house. If you are ready to buy now, that difference could make it worth starting to look seriously this fall versus waiting until next year. The good news is that if you aren’t ready to buy, next year’s projected rate of 3.71% is still VERY low compared to historical averages.
As always, we want to lead with information and help you make the decision that is right for you. Feel free to contact us with any questions, we’d love to hear from you.
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The Wethman Group’s Real Estate News

August  2016

Greetings!
This month, the DC housing market saw a new record, the lowest inventory since 2009! Prices were up from this time last year, but down slightly from last month. Sellers, it’s a good time to talk about listing. If you are thinking about getting on the market, but worried about the season, don’t be. There are a lot of interested buyers still looking that aren’t tied to the school year. With inventory and interest rates this low it’s a good time to list. If you are interested in learning more about the market from the seller’s perspective, how to think about improvements, staging and marketing, and how to buy a new place while selling your current house, join us for our Seller Class
at the Shirlington Library on Tuesday, September 13th. If you can’t make that date, I’m always happy to answer your questions one-on-one, just reach out.
For those considering buying, rent in the District continues to rise double the national average. Interest rates are low, but still projected to rise by the end of the year.

Did you know we provide FREE educational seminars on home buying and selling to offices, alumni associations, community groups, and others. Attendees love these!  If you know a group who might benefit, let us know, we’d love to set something up.

If we can help you or someone you know with your real estate needs, please do reach out. We always love to hear from you!
The Wethman Group
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Falls Church First Time Homebuyers Program

falls church logoThe City of Falls Church offers closing cost and down payment assistance of up to 20% of the purchase price of a house (less than $450,000) for first time homebuyers. The assistance is a second interest-free loan, with repayment due at the sale or refinance of the home, or if the buyer rents the home out (it is no longer the buyer’s primary residence). One caveat: the City wants an interest in any appreciation in the property for the use of the money. If they loan you 20% of the purchase price of the home and it appreciates, when you sell the home, they want 20% of the new sale price.

Requirements to qualify:

  1. Income restricted to 120% of the area median, which for a household of 1-2 people is $120,000.
  2. Credit score of 620 or better.
  3. Be able to qualify for a 30 year loan.
  4. Be able to contribute at least 2% down.
  5. Buy a home within Fall Church City that is less than $450,000

Ask us for more information about how this program stacks up to others on offer in the area, or a recommendation on getting started in your search or working with a lender.

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Buyer Resources: VHDA FHA Plus Loans- No Down Payment

VHDA logoIf you have 1% cash and can otherwise qualify for a FHA loan, you may be able to get a second loan for the amount of your down payment from VHDA Plus Loans program. The income and sales price limit on this VHDA funded, FHA insured second mortgage are slightly more generous than some other first time homebuyer programs. You can qualify if your household of 2 makes less than $122k a year and you are looking to buy a place that is under $500k. There are other qualifications, including having good credits (above 620) and taking a buyer education course, but this program can help bridge the cash gap to get your into your new home. Let us recommend a great lender who can help get you pre-qualified.

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Buyer Resources: Arlington’s Moderate Income Purchase Assistance Program (MIPAP)

arlington logo

If you are looking in Arlington and haven’t yet saved up the money for a down payment or closing costs, Arlington County has a program that may help. Arlington’s MIPAP program offers a deferred 0% interest rate loan to first-time homebuyers to help cover a down payment or closing costs of up to 25% of the purchase price. You make no monthly payments on the subordinate loan from the County until you sell or refinance. The County does get a shared interest in any potential appreciation of the property down the road when you go to sell or refinance. At the sale, you split any appreciation, up to 25% (determined by an appraisal), proportionally with the county in addition to paying off the original loan. If the property hasn’t appreciated, you simply repay the original loan, interest free.

Requirements:

  • Moderate income, currently limited to $62,100 for 1 person or $69,920 for a household of 2
  • Property must be located in Arlington County
  • Buyer must contribute at least 1% as a down payment
  • Maximum purchase price is $362,790, maximum loan amount is $90,700.

If you are interested in learning more about this or other programs available to homebuyers, please do reach out. We are happy to help you understand your options and find the right place for you.

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New York Style – Micro Condos Hit DC!

Do you love the idea of DC metro living, but your wallet disagrees? Or want to live in some of the top areas in DC, but don’t want to rent anymore?

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The brand new Manhattan inspired “Micro Condos”, Adam’s Morgan might be your answer. This new development: Moda 17 is fresh change to the condo market, for younger buyers who want the city life style, and convenience, without the heft price tag! These units range from 350-680 square feet, but offer streamline construction and design to help maximize the space. These units are also more affordable than other units in the area, ranging from $249K for studios, up to $549K for two bedroom units.

The units are designed with space saving features like pocket doors, built in storage and shelving, frost glass and even build in beds to help maximize every foot. The builder also designed many units without hallways to create a more open and efficient layout.

Other highlights of Moda 17 include:

-Roof top Terrace with City Views
-Low condo fees ($191-383/mo)
-Wireless
-Bike Storage
-Private Storage Space

These units are in an unbeatable location, across the street from Harris Teeter and just steps to a number of restaurants, retail and night life in Adams Morgan, Logan Circle, Dupont Circle And U St/14th St corridor. The areas also has a 93 walk score!

For renters in the area, this more affordable option versus paying higher rent prices!

Moda 17 is located at 2424 17th St. NW, Washington.

Contact us today, if you are interested in learning more about these micro units, and buying in DC! Most of our team is licensed in DC, VA and MD!

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The Wethman Group’s Real Estate News

January 2016

Greetings!

Happy 2016 —  hope everyone is dug out (or nearly dug out) of blizzard and is getting back in the swing of things!
Our final 2015 numbers are in and the Wethman Group is excited to announce we helped over 100 families buy and sell homes last year!  We’re thrilled to have helped so many of you and your friends and colleagues you referred.  Thank you!

No sitting around for us though…the 2016 real estate market has kicked off early this year, despite the snow.  We’re already seeing buyers out and about, and have 5 settlements on the books for January, and several scheduled for February, too.  It seems that lots of unknowns about interest rates have buyers out earlier than usual this year.  Our townhouse listing in Falls Church received EIGHT offers in the first week on market!  If the past few weeks are any indication, we are in for quite a busy Spring.

What else will the 2016 market bring?  After consulting our crystal ball, we have a few predictions:
  • Mortgage rates will rise slowly but surelythroughout 2016 as long as the economy improves, but it would be surprising if rates rose higher than 5%.  Freddie Mac is predicting 4.7%.  So while an increase in rates absolutely hurts purchasing power, we expect the impact to be only moderate, especially given high salaries in our area, and any impact could very well be offset by an accompanied increase in consumer confidence if the economy improves.
  • Inventory will remain low in our area, as it has been for several years.  This will helps support our continuing high prices, and expect multiple bid situations particularly in the Spring.
  • We expect prices to rise slightly this Spring as buyers come out in full force and try to beat anticipated interest rate hikes later this year, combined with our still too-low supply.
  • As the election gets closer, uncertainty may create buyer skittishness, so we are preparing for a potentially slower than usual fourth quarter.  Interestingly, a change in administration has historically not had a *significant* impact on our local real estate market.

If you or someone you know is looking to buy or sell this year, NOW is the time for us to start!  Early February is the perfect time to start prepping for the Spring market; buyers need to start getting paperwork in order, and sellers need to start de-cluttering (it takes longer than you think!) and schedule necessary repair work. We’ve scheduled our next few FREE first time home buyer classes:

Monday, February 1 at 7 pm – Cap City Brewery in Shirlington
Sunday, February 28 at 7 pm – Arlington Central Library

As always, don’t hesitate to call us if we can help with your real estate needs.

Fingers crossed for sun and melting!

The Wethman Group
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