The Wethman Group’s Real Estate News – November 2018

November 2018

 

We’re taking a break from our usual newsletter format to provide an analysis of the Amazon HQ2 announcement. The Washington area and more specifically the newly christened “National Landing” area of Crystal City (comprised of parts of Pentagon City, Potomac Yards, and parts of Alexandria) will be the home of 25,000 new jobs, providing a boost to the local economy and tech ecosystem.
What We Know
  • Amazon has committed to 25,000 jobs over a 10 year period. They chose this area in part because of the extensive talent pool already here (emphasis added). Jobs are expected to be mostly in accounting and tech with incomes of about $150k. Of course, a ‘new’ business with such a significant presence is also expected to create jobs in supporting industries like retail, construction, and service businesses nearby (with lower incomes.)
  • Amazon has made a commitment to STEM education investments, including a new Virginia Tech campus focused on Computer Science as part of National Landing, and investments at George Mason. The idea here is that Amazon is hoping to hire some homegrown (and local) talent years down the road.
  • Incentive payments to Amazon are dependent on the actual number of jobs created.
  • Arlington and Alexandria have committed to investing $570 million in transportation improvements, and Virginia has committed to an additional $195 million. Planned investments are additional entrance(s) to the upcoming Potomac Yard metro station, improvements to Rt 1, pedestrian bridges. Additional funding is available if Amazon creates more than 25,000 jobs.
Much has been said about this number of employees creating havoc in our already strained real estate market. We’re advising our clients to take a wait-and-see approach on the real estate market impacts. Our area is more than capable of absorbing these jobs, but market impacts will be uneven both economically and geographically.

Job Absorption

This area is well positioned to absorb the expected 25,000 jobs to come over the next 10+ years. The region already annually adds 34,000 jobs on average; in 7 of the last 17 years we absorbed one FULL (50,000) Amazon’s worth of jobs! (See graph at left.) This could end up being a ‘blip’ in the greater regional area.

 

Companies whose talent is being poached may or may not backfill hiring, and those companies are scattered throughout the region. Many employees hired locally will not relocate because it just won’t make financial sense and/or the situation will be complicated by a spouse’s commute or kids in school. Consider a hypothetical tech worker making $150k and living in the Reston area. If hired by Amazon (and remember, they’re coming here for the existing talent pool), is this person likely to sell their current home and relocate to Arlington? It’s possible, but it’s more likely this person will just factor in their new commute as an opportunity cost in taking the job. That employee’s current employer will then need to hire someone, who may or may not live in Arlington. See graphic at right for expected distribution of housing for HQ2 employees.

Rising commercial rents in the area may push some existing companies out and/or discourage others from locating there; in fact, other companies that had been considering relocating to Northern Virginia may now choose not to come at all because of the upcoming fight for talent. Similarly, some companies located in the greater metro region may choose to leave because of the expected increase in competition for employees or may choose to locate further out so that their employees will be able to afford more (potentially giving them a recruiting advantage.) Bottom line: the net job increase for the area may not be 25,000, and the jobs-to-household ratio is far from a 1:1 correlation.

Traffic

It’s no surprise that traffic is expected to be worse as workers move to Crystal City and nearby businesses grow. It remains to be seen how much the transportation investments from the County, City, and State will help. Work from home trends may also spread out the hiring and ease commutes–Amazon is one of the top ‘work from home’ companies. Additionally, the high speed (15-minute commute) trains being developed between DC and Baltimore over the next 10 years–the time frame of Amazon’s growth here–could significantly alter the housing landscape of the region.
Housing Inventory – Sales and Rentals
We can certainly expect an inventory shortage for buying, but also a more significant rental shortage in the short term (first few years) of the deal. Speculators will swoop in hoping for to find a cash flow positive deal—they’re unlikely to find one currently. As always, buy and hold is a much safer strategy, and especially now.
Longer term, builders can build condos and/or convert existing apartments and office buildings to condos for quicker delivery. There isn’t much (any??) land left to build developments, so expect prices on townhouses and single-family detached homes to rise disproportionately vs, condos in the immediate vicinity. There is a strong pipeline of multi-family development already planned for the DC area (see graph). Tear-downs will swooped up by builders at breakneck speed.
Once the employees arrive, the segment most likely to see increased competition is the $400-600k range, which is the likely purchasing power of someone in the salary bracket Amazon is hiring.
Certainly, this will speed ongoing gentrification of South Arlington and affect nearby pockets of relative affordability that currently exist. With our current affordability crises, even a small increase in prices may have a disproportionate ‘push out’ effect for lower-income workers and renters, and any increase in property taxes resulting from higher valuations will also hurt longtime homeowners on fixed incomes.
Summary
  • These jobs are coming over time, and our area is easily capable of absorbing them.
  • Expect a short-term psychological bubble – sellers should take advantage of this, buyers need to not panic, and investors should proceed cautiously. Think rationally and don’t get caught up in the hype.
  • Expect dramatic rent increases as a result of the trifecta of this area being the ‘next big thing’, eventual students at the new VT campus, and new hires relocating (who will rent for a least a while before buying, if they buy at all.)
  • Housing impacts will be dispersed throughout the area and gradual. Inventory shortages will be most severe in the segments and locations we already have them: entry level townhouses and detached homes in close-in Arlington and Alexandria.
  • Appreciation in property can only be realized if you’re selling, and is a double-edged sword—expect higher property tax assessments (and remember that deductions for state and local taxes like property taxes are now capped in the new tax law.)
There ARE opportunities here, if we don’t lose sight of the fundamentals.
We’re trying to give you a realistic view of market conditions, and not just trumpet the hype. We’ve seen some excellent opportunities in parts of South Arlington and the northern end of Alexandria. Contact us to discuss your buying or selling strategy.
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The Wethman Group’s Real Estate News – October 2018

October 2018

Market Update
The October real estate market is holding firm, and not letting up! In the DC Metro area the average sales price is $508K, a 3.3% increase compared to 2017. The average days on market has declined 7% which likely has to do with limited inventory. Popular neighborhoods in Arlington, Falls Church, Fairfax County and Washington DC are all averaging 35 days on market or less. Inventory remains tight and there is roughly 9.3% less inventory compared to the same period in 2017. Despite lower inventory, buyers are still looking for nicely updated homes that are move in ready! Contact us today to find out market specifics in your neighborhood.
Interest Rates
Many people are focused on interest rates and for good reasons. In September, The US Federal Reserve raised short term interest rates for the third time this year. We are on track for one more increase in 2018. While rates are historically low, compared to 6-8% mortgage rates in the early 2000’s, an increase to 4.9% for a 30 year fixed mortgage feels like a pinch to many current buyers. While the hype of low rates from internet lenders may seem attractive, working with a reputable lender is still key to ensuring your contract makes it to settlement.
What are buyers looking for?
Real feedback from our listings and clients:
-Buyers are looking for move in ready homes with updated kitchen and bathrooms.
-Most buyers prefer hardwood floors or light colored carpet.
-When touring a home, if there is sign of wear or lack of maintenance, buyers question the condition of the major systems and appliances.
-While big ticket items are important, most buyers are interested in the cosmetic updates in a property.
-If a home is not updated, buyers are looking for a discounted price.
-Many buyers would rather pay for the upgrades through the sales price/mortgage than handle renovations after closing.
-Even with limited inventory in the fall, buyers are not rushing to purchase right now.
If you need assistance prepping your house for sale, call us!
Thinking of buying? It’s better to start sooner than later, even if your target move date is months away…with a lot of buyers ‘waiting until next Spring’, it’s a great time to find a great home with less competition from other buyers!

       ENTER OUR COLORING CONTEST!         

This month, we’re trying something a little different — a coloring contest! We’ll have 4 age groups, and the winner of each group will win a $25 Target gift card.

Age groups are 5 years and under, 6-10, 11-15, and 16+. Click here for a downloadable PDF of the picture to submit, and be sure to sign the picture and add the participant’s name and age.

 

 

This month, we’re trying something a little different — a coloring contest! We’ll have 4 age groups, and the winner of each group will win a $25 Target gift card.

Age groups are 5 years and under, 6-10, 11-15, and 16+. Click here for a downloadable PDF of the picture to submit, and be sure to sign the picture and add the participant’s name and age.

 

Just post your entry on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter and tag theWethman Group or your agent. You can also email submissions or drop off at our office. Register by October 25th for your chance to win!


HOME CARE CORNER

Fall is here! That means plenty of leaves and limbs are falling too. Make sure to check out your gutters and clear any leaves or debris to ensure your gutters drain properly!

 

 


CLIENT APPRECIATION EVENTS

Save the Date: Pie Day – Tuesday, November 20th
Our annual pie day open house will take place the Tuesday before Thanksgiving at Katie and Kenny’s house. Clients, save the date on your calendar to stop by for a bite and a drink and bring home an apple or pumpkin pie for your Thanksgiving celebration. It’s one of our favorite events each year, and we look forward to sharing it with you! Clients, check your email or our postcard for the link to reserve your pie!

Also, Save the Date for:

Breakfast at the Movies with Santa – Saturday, December 1st

As always, if you or someone you know has a real estate need, please reach out. We are here to help!
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The Wethman Group’s Real Estate News – September 2018

September 2018

The kids are back to school, and we’re back to the hot real estate market!
Activity picked up after Labor Day, and we’re seeing more of the same this month. August stats appear to be in line with prior years’, and no worse. The Median sales price is up ever-so-slightly, and inventory year over year remains about the same. Typically in September we see a little pop in inventory as sellers try to get a deal done before the holidays and year end.
Anecdotally, we’ve been seeing some softness in certain market segments, particularly the $1.2M+ single family detached market. It’s too soon to say whether this is a blip or the start of a larger trend, but market dips typically do start in the upper brackets, evidenced by longer days on market. Builders largely target this market at the expense of the mid-range single family market, adding insult to injury. We’re seeing similar pockets of relative ‘softness,’ and an increase in listings selling for just slightly below list price, unlike the bidding wars of the Spring.
Our local wild card, with 3 jurisdictions in the running, continues to be the Amazon HQ2 search. Rumors abound as the Amazon Board dined at the Renwick Gallery last week. Our inventory issue would be wildly exacerbated if our area ‘wins’.
Want a more in depth discussion of your targeted area? Just give us a shout!
Thinking of buying? It’s better to start sooner than later, even if your target move date is months away…with a lot of buyers ‘waiting until next Spring’, it’s a great time to find a great home with less competition from other buyers!

 

 

 

 

HOME CARE CORNER 

Zillow has come out with a report on the ‘paint colors that sell’ and the verdict is that black or charcoal front doors sell better. Reach out to us for painting advice, whether it’s on colors or contractors, before painting for a sale!

 

CLIENT APPRECIATION EVENTS

Save the Date: Pie Day- Tuesday, November 20th

Our annual pie day open house will take place the Tuesday before Thanksgiving at Katie and Kenny’s house (we know, we can’t believe it’s time to plan for fall already either!). Clients, save the date on your calendar to stop by for a bite and a drink and bring home an apple or pumpkin pie for your Thanksgiving celebration. It’s one of our favorite events each year, and we look forward to sharing it with you!

Also, Save the Date for our Breakfast at the Movies with Santa -Saturday, December 1st

As always, if you or someone you know has a real estate need, please reach out. We are here to help!
The Wethman Group
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The Wethman Group’s Real Estate News – August 2018

August 2018

MARKET UPDATE
Up, up, up! Prices and sales volume increased like the temperature in July for the local area housing market. Each year the DC housing market tends to peak in volume and price in June, with July starting to show a taper down to a lull in August and then a nice little pop again in September into October before quieting down significantly at the holidays for winter. Each month represents some seasonal differences (for more information on WHY, join our next first time home buyer webinar to learn about the factors that affect the real estate calendar year) which is why you’ll always see us comparing figures from the same month in the previous year.
Median home price reached the highest July price of the decade, up 3.4% from July last year, but down a seasonal 3.4% from the June all-time high the month before. As you may remember, we reported last month that sales volume (new pending sales and closed sales) was down in June from the previous year, which is somewhat out of sync with current trends. July saw the uptick in sales volume from last July we were expecting to see, with 3.2% more new pending sales in July this year over last July- again the highest July in over a decade.
If you’ve been following our newsletter for a while now, you may be able to guess what is at play AGAIN here: inventory! Our quick explanation (and what we are seeing play out with our clients) is that in June many buyers frustrated with the low inventory, just didn’t buy.
July inventory saw a few more new listings- up 1.6% over July 2017 (but down a seasonal 13% from June). However, active inventory for July (the properties remaining available for purchase) decreased again year-over-year for the 27th straight month, down 6.4% from July last year, meaning buyers scooped up all those new listings plus some. We are still 14% above the lowest inventory of the decade in 2013, but buyers are feeling the lack of choice and what we are seeing is some creative deal making and buyers revising what their “dream” property looks like rather than continuing to wait on inventory that just isn’t increasing.
We are helping buyers understand the current market, how to approach the search and prioritize trade-offs and walk away with the keys to their new home all the time! With interest rates holding steady, many of our buyers are gearing up for the little pop in inventory we usually see each September.
Thinking of selling? With near historically low inventory, it’s a great time. There is still time to get your house ready for the September shoulder season before buyers go into hibernation. Regardless of whether you are thinking of buying or selling, get in touch to start the conversation so we can come up with the best strategy and outline a potential timeline for you!
CLIENT APPRECIATION EVENTS
Save the Date: Pie Day- Tuesday, November 20th
Our annual pie day open house will take place the Tuesday before Thanksgiving at Katie and Kenny’s house (we know, we can’t believe it’s time to plan for fall already either!). Clients, save the date on your calendar to stop by for a bite and a drink and bring home an apple or pumpkin pie for your Thanksgiving celebration. It’s one of our favorite events each year, and we look forward to sharing it with you!
As always, if you or someone you know has a real estate need, please reach out. We are here to help!
The Wethman Group
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The Wethman Group’s Real Estate News – July 2018

July 2018

MARKET UPDATE
Is the summer housing market as hot as the weather? It is if you measure by price! June set a new all-time high for median price in our area at $471,000, up 3.5% compared to June of last year. But sales volume, closed sales, and new pending sales were all down from June of last year. By now you can probably guess what is driving these market behaviors: inventory!
New listings were down 6% from June last year and down 11% from May. The lack of new listings coupled with continued quick absorption meant active inventory was 6% below June of 2017, which was already low. We are still above the all-time lowest active inventory seen in our area in 2013, but significantly below the 5 and 10 year averages. Without properties to buy, the desirable properties that DO come on the market are either priced at a premium or may get bid up, which is why we see the rise in median price. Sales volume is down simply because there are fewer properties to buy or would-be buyers are getting priced out.
Properties that are well priced are still moving quickly! Average Days on Market (DOM) for June was 10, up from 9 in May, but down 2 days from June of last year.
Interest rates are holding steady, which is good news for buyers still hoping to make their move by the end of summer. Despite the competitive market, our clients are still finding places they love! Thinking of buying? Even with all of the competition, we think many buyers will be better off buying now than waiting until next year (when interest rates will likely be higher and inventory will likely be even more squeezed). We are always happy to talk through your plans and see if that is true in your circumstance.
With the continued emphasis on inventory, and seasonality in your favor, if you are thinking of selling, get in touch now to have us create the best strategy for you!

CLIENT APPRECIATION EVENT

Annual Baseball Game
We had a wonderful time with clients at the Nats’ game on Sunday, July 8th as the Nats took on the Marlins. The weather was perfect and the company even better! We are so grateful for everyone who works with us or sends us business. Your support is everything to us and this is one way of showing our thanks! If you’d like to join us for our next event, use us when you are buying or selling your home, or refer a friend who is looking! We’d love to have you be part of the tribe!

As always, if you or someone you know has a real estate need, please reach out. We are here to help!

The Wethman Group


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The Wethman Group’s Real Estate News – June 2018

June 2018

MARKET UPDATE
May was another record-breaking month in the DC Metro housing market. Prices ticked up to the highest in a decade, but not by much, rising just 1.1% $5,000 over May last year, but up a seasonal 3% or $15,000 over just last month. This is correlated with the lowest active inventory we have seen in May since 2013, despite new listings being up a seasonal 3% from last month, those new listings are being absorbed in record time. Median Days on Market (DOM) is down to just 9! Half of the homes that come on the market now are under contract in less than 9 days! This is 1 day fewer than last year and in line with the 9 day average we saw in 2013.
Interest rates bounced up and down over the past month, but have ended up back in the same starting point, which is good news for buyers still hoping to make their move by the end of summer. Despite the competitive market, our clients are still finding their home of choice and we are handing over keys all the time! Thinking of buying? Let us walk you through what this market means for your search strategy, or get started by attending our upcoming free webinar THIS WEDNESDAYJune 20th (registration details below). For many buyers, depending on your individual circumstance, we still think buying this year, even with all of the competition, will be better than waiting until next.
With the continued emphasis on inventory and seasonality in your favor, if you are thinking of selling, get in touch now to have us create the best strategy for you to sell for top dollar! The market is hot, but taking advantage of that competition requires the right marketing strategy and team to optimize your exposure to buyers. Check out our listing highlights below- 2 recent listings sold within days of hitting the market!
CLIENT APPRECIATION EVENTS
Baseball Game- Sunday, July 8th– Clients, it’s that time of year, you’ve received your invitation to our annual baseball game and you’ve responded! The event has proven so popular we are already on a waitlist for tickets, but we are determined to make sure we can get as many clients in a possible, so DO sign up for the waitlist if you are interested and root, root, root for the home team with us! If you haven’t received your invitation, please email us at events@wethmangroup.com and we’ll get you sorted out.
UPCOMING CLASSES
First Time Home Buyer Webinar: THIS WEDNESDAY, June 20th at 7pm
Our popular First Time Home Buyer class covers deciding to buy, financing, your home search, trends in the local market, and even the implications of the new tax law! If you want a refresher before diving into the Spring market, join us for this free class and send your friends who are thinking of buying! Register here to join.
Senior Seminar: Downsizing and Preparing Your Home for Sale
We joined TAD relocation last Thursday at Grand Oaks Assisted Living for a special seminar for seniors preparing to downsize and thinking about selling their long-time home. We had a great response and would love to share this information with any groups who are interested! Let us know if you have a group (or individual) who would benefit from downsizing information. We’d be happy to reach out!
As always, if you or someone you know has a real estate need, please reach out. We are here to help!
The Wethman Group
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The Wethman Group’s Real Estate News – May 2018

May 2018

MARKET UPDATE
Remember when we said last month that the market had slowed slightly in March? Well April made up for it! We are seeing bidding wars and lots of activity across the board, but particularly in DC and close-in markets in Virginia and Maryland. The weather may be damp, but the housing market is hot.
Despite lower inventory than April last year, sales volume is up 10% from last April. Consequently, prices are up in all locations, but particularly in DC proper, which saw a median price increase of 13.5% from April 2017 (from a median sale price of $519k in April 2017 to $590k in April 2018). We are seeing that prices in neighborhoods that were previously considered a “good deal” have also risen, meaning prices are acting more flat across the district, regardless of where a property is located.
New listings were up almost 9% from April last year, but active inventory was down 9% from last April, meaning those new listings are being absorbed, plus some. This also marks 2 years of year-over-year decline in inventories, though it is worth noting that historically we are still 21% above the 5-year-low seen in 2013.
Still, our own clients are still finding their home of choice and we are handing over keys all the time! Thinking of buying? Let us walk you through what this market means for your search strategy, or get started by attending our upcoming free webinar Tuesday, June 19 (registration details below). For many buyers, depending on your individual circumstance, we still think buying this year, even with all of the competition, will be better than waiting until next.
With the continued emphasis on inventory, and seasonality in your favor, if you are thinking of selling, get in touch now to have us create the best strategy for you to sell for top dollar! The market is hot, but taking advantage of that competition requires the right marketing strategy and team to optimize your exposure to buyers. Check out our listing highlights below- 2 recent listings sold within days of hitting the market!
CLIENT APPRECIATION EVENTS
Picnic at the Winery
We had a great time with our clients, Saturday May 12th at our 2nd picnic at the Winery at Bull Run. The unseasonably 90+ degree weather meant the bottles of Rose went down easy in the shade! We loved seeing so many of you and look forward to catching up again at the baseball game in July!
Baseball Game- Sunday, July 8th– Clients, watch your mailboxes and inboxes for your invite to our Annual Baseball game, Sunday, July 8th as the Nats take on the Marlins at home! Enjoy a quintessential DC summer afternoon and root, root, root for the home team with us!
UPCOMING CLASSES
First Time Home Buyer Webinar: Tuesday, June 19th at 7pm
Our popular First Time Home Buyer class covers deciding to buy, financing, your home search, trends in the local market, and even the implications of the new tax law! If you want a refresher before diving into the Spring market, join us for this free class and send your friends who are thinking of buying! Register here to join.
Senior Seminar: Downsizing and Preparing Your Home for Sale
Grand Oaks Assisted Living at Sibley Hospital
Thursday, June 14 1-3pm
We are excited to be partnering with TAD Relocation and Grand Oaks Assisted Living to offer a seminar on downsizing and preparing your home for sale at Grand Oaks at Sibley Memorial Hospital. If you or a loved one is considering downsizing, or would just like more information about process of selling your home, join us! RSVP to mbuckl10@jhmi.edu, or call (202) 660-7882.

As always, if you or someone you know has a real estate need, please reach out. We are here to help!
The Wethman Group
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