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

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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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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