The Wethman Group’s Real Estate News

May 2017

Greetings!

The Spring market is in full swing, with lots of activity on the buyer side, but the real story is still low inventory. The median sales price in our area reached the highest on record  for the second month in a row, easily beating last April’s record by 4.1%, and up 3.9% from last month. However, new pending sales were down 8.3% from this time last year, and down 2.5% from last month, coming in under the 5 year April average. So what gives? Inventory!
April new listings were down 13% from April last year and down 6.7% from last month! This is below both the 5 and 10 year April average, but still above the 10 year low we saw in 2012.
This low inventory means the market is moving FAST as buyers are competing for the listings that DO hit the market. Average Days on Market for April was 10! That’s down from 14 days last April and from 15 days last month.
We’re still 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 declining now at the peak of the spring market is huge. Buyers are out and ready to move, but not finding many options. 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.
House it Going? Real Estate Q&A Happy Hour: Tuesday, May 23rd in Clarendon
 
Questions about Buying or Selling? Just want more information about what we are seeing in the housing market? Join Katie for an informal chat over drinks at Spirits of ’76 Tuesday, May 23rd. Stop by with your questions any time between 5-7pm.

Clients and Friends Who Have Referred to Us
SAVE THE DATE: Baseball Event, Sunday, July 9th
Mark your calendars for Sunday, July 9th, and watch your mail for more details on reserving your tickets.
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

April 2017

Greetings!

The Spring marketing is kicking in, with very slight increases in inventory, and multiple offers.  The March median sales price in our area reached the highest on record (since 1997) up 5.3% from March last year. Sales and pending sales were at the highest level in a decade and the inventory level declined for the 11th month in a row (but is still above the 5 year average). Median Days on Market (DOM) in our area for March was 15. That is down 12 days from this time last year!
We’re seeing multiple bids on most properties that are priced to sell, and significant offers over asking in a few pockets of DC. Properties are moving FAST and often competing with other offers on terms.  But not everywhere…why is that?
As the Stephen S. Fuller Institute reports, the main driver is the local job market. While we have enjoyed low unemployment in our area for many years, we have not seen an aggregate increase in real wages in some time. The already large gap in affordability in our area doesn’t leave much room for price growth when wages are not growing as well. If you are looking to buy, this is potentially good news. Mortgage interest rates have retreated again to the lowest rates since last November (if perhaps temporarily) despite the Fed’s increase in the benchmark rate in March.  Even though the market is competitive, with the right strategy and team of negotiators (that’s us!) you CAN be successful in this market.
We continue to urge our past clients who have been on the fence about selling to make a move. Inventory remains tight, even now, entering the peak of the housing market. Buyers are out and ready to move! If you have been considering a move, start the conversation with our listing team to get an idea of what this market means for your specific property.
Client Appreciation Event: Afternoon at the Winery
On April 1, we were joined by a great group of clients and referrers for a wine tasting and picnic at the Winery at Bull Run. Over the course of the afternoon, we tried 10 wines (some many times!), and lots of great food. This was our first event at the winery, but we are already talking about next year. If you aren’t on our event list yet, it is easy to get an invite- buy or sell with us or refer a friend!

Clients and Friends Who Have Referred to Us:
Save the Date: Baseball Event, Sunday, July 9th
Our next client appreciation event is our annual trip to a Nats game. Mark your calendars for Sunday, July 9th, and watch your mail for more details on reserving your tickets.
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

March 2017

Greetings!

Whether it is the weather, or stabilized interest rates, the 2017 DC Metro housing market is off to a roaring start! January closed sales in our area were up 11.5% over last year, to the highest volume in a decade and median sales prices was up 3.9% over last year.
Inventory remains low, which means we are seeing new listings move FAST! We had two of our listings go under contract the first week this month- one in just 2 days! Overall in our area, Median Days on Market for January was down 10 days from January last year. New listings saw an increase of 12.8% over January of last year, but active listings (those remaining available on the market) were down 12.7% compared to last year and 3.1% from last month, meaning those new listings were gobbled up quickly. January inventory levels reached the lowest since 2014.
I know we have been saying this for months now, but if you are considering selling this year and have some flexibility in your move plans, now is a GREAT time! Buyers are looking and inventory is low. We are seeing big turn outs at our open houses and fast offers on our listings. Start the conversation with our listing team to decide on the best time to list given your goals and circumstances.
Buyers, over the next month or so we are expecting a seasonal uptick in inventory (though based on data we’re seeing, you should still expect the market to move quickly), which means the property you’ve been waiting for could come on the market. Get ready by learning about the home buying process ahead of time, and getting pre-approved with a lender. We are hosting our popular First Time Home Buyer Class in a few weeks, details below, and work with some fantastic lenders, so ask us for recommendations. If you can’t make the class, reach out with your questions- we are here to help!
Past clients, the best thanks we can get is your reviews and referrals! Leave us a review on zillow, yelp, or facebook to be entered into a drawing for two free Caps tickets (they’re doing great, by the way)!
Client Appreciation Event: Afternoon at the Winery
Wine Tasting and Picnic for Wethman Group clients!
Saturday, April 1st 12pm-3pm
Join us for an afternoon at a local winery to sip and learn about a variety of wines and enjoy our warm spring weather. Clients, watch for your invitation this week or contact us for your free tickets.
Upcoming First Time Home Buyer Class
Tuesday, March 21st, Capitol City Brewery Register Here
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

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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The Wethman Group’s Real Estate News

December  2016

Greetings!
Despite increasing interest rates, November closed home sales reached the highest November level since 2009, up 16.5% over last year and reached the highest median price since 2005. Inventories saw a double-digit decline for the fifth month in a row, to just slightly below the 5 year average, but well below the 10 year average, and 14% lower than this time last year. This shows buyers are still out and active, but have less to choose from. It’s a great time to sell! We expect this low inventory trend to continue through the winter months.
Interest rates have been creeping up steadily since the election, from 3.47% in late October to 4.16% this week. The long-predicted benchmark rate increase by the Federal Reserve was confirmed on Wednesday, December 14th, but has not yet affected home loan rates, which are more closely tied to long-term Treasury bonds. Last year following the only other bump in the benchmark rate in the last 10 years, we saw home loan interest rates drop after an initial increase. However, as Sean Becketti, Freddie Mac chief economist noted to the Washington Post, the uncertainty following the election makes the future hard to predict. “The consensus of the committee points to more rate hikes in 2017. However, the experience of this year combined with the policy uncertainty that accompanies a new Administration suggests a wait-and-see outlook… If rates continue their upward trend, expect mortgage activity to be significantly subdued in 2017.” We don’t have a crystal ball, but our bet aligns with a few experts that interest rates will continue to climb, but the ascent will remain slow and steady for the near future. If you’ve been considering buying in the next few years, please contact us so we can help think through the best strategy and timing for your needs.
Client Appreciation Event: Breakfast Movie Party with Santa
It was so wonderful to see all the clients and their little ones who joined us for Breakfast with Santa and Disney’s Moana. This is quickly becoming our favorite new holiday tradition.
As always, if you or someone you know has a real estate need, we’re here to help.  Wishing you all happy holidays and a bright start to the new year!
The Wethman Group
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Katie Wethman’s Real Estate News

October  2016

Greetings!
The record streak continued last month with the most closed sales in a decade in September. Median prices dipped 5% from the August high last month, and came in just in line with the median of September 2015. New listings saw a 23% increase over August, which we are feeling in our own office. If you are looking to buy, this is the time to get out there before sellers decide to stay put until spring. While new listings were up month-over-month, active inventory is actually down 14% from this time last year, which means a lot of those new listings are being absorbed quickly. Inventory overall remains low, even compared with last year, but is near the 5 year average for this area. In short, the market remains steady and active.
Still debating about continuing to rent or buy? Trulia just declared buying in the DC area works is 36% cheaper than renting! Of course this determination depends on your circumstance (including how long you plan to keep the place- Trulia is assuming 7 years, though break even in our area is around 4), so run your numbers on a rent versus buy calculator to get a sense of whether buying will save you money. Or give us a call to talk through the way we would think about it in your situation.
Two Upcoming Client Appreciation Events
To show our appreciation to our clients for your business and referring your friends and family, we are hosting two upcoming events. We’d love to see you!
Pie Day
As an expression of our thanks for YOU at Thanksgiving, come by and pick up a pie (your choice of apple or pumpkin) on us.
Monday, November 21, from 12pm-5pm at our McLean Office
6820 Elm St, McLean, VA 22101
or
 
Tuesday, November 22, from 2pm-8pm at Katie’s House
313 N Irving, Arlington, VA 22201

Reserve yours at thankful.wethmangroup.com.
Breakfast Movie Party with Santa
Save the date: December 3rd, at 10 AM we are hosting a Breakfast Movie Party with Santa at the Tysons AMC Theaters. Join us for breakfast, prizes, and a screening of Disney’s Moana.
As always, if you or someone you know has a real estate need, we’re always 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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Katie Wethman’s Real Estate News

September  2016

Greetings!

August was another record-breaking month for the DC metro area housing market. Sales volumes were up 16%from the same time last year and the median sales price was the highest it’s been since August 2007. Inventory declined for the fourth month in a row, down 16.4% from this time last year, yet still slightly above the the 5 year average and 23% higher than the low in August of 2013. This is consistent with what we are seeing in offers. Properties are selling, buyers are buying, and prices are healthy, but not super inflated.

An ever so slight interest rate increase last week  caught attention, but rates are expected to stay nearly this low for the remainder of the year, with bets placed that next year we may see a more substantial uptick. If you are considering buying, but uncertain about what financing options are best for your situation, just ask. We work with a lot of great lenders and can help you find the right one for you.

Interested in buying your first home? Or need a refresher while thinking about your next move? We are hosting a free Home Buyers seminar Tuesday, October 11th, at 7pm at Capital City Brewery in Shirlington. You will learn about the entire process from searching for your dream house to closing on it. We will discuss the current housing market, how to decide if renting or buying is best in your situation, financing, and more. Register here to join us.

Mark your calendars for our upcoming Client Appreciation Event, Sunday,October 23rd at Williams-Sonoma and Pottery Barn in Clarendon. We have arranged a PRIVATE shopping event with tablescape demonstrations for the upcoming holidays, refreshments, plus a chance to shop to contribute to Care for Kids benefiting Children’s National Health System. For Wethman Group event attendees, when you buy a $50 gift card, the hospital program gets $50, YOU get $50 that can be used in either store or many other stores and restaurants AND 20% off at those participating stores through October 30th. We’re excited to be part of this great partnership between local businesses and this great cause.  Join us!

File under: Neat House, Sears Catalog Edition. Listed (and already sold) for the first time in our lifetime, this“gingerbread house” in Cleveland Park is a charming reminder of the simpler times in home acquisition. Can you image just ordering and putting it together following a guide with numbered parts?
Things are slightly more complex these days, but we are here to help! If you or someone you know has a real estate need, we’d 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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