The Wethman Group’s Real Estate News – December

December 2017

Greetings!

In the News 
  • Local Market Update
  • Tax Bill Update
  • Fed Increases Rate
  • New Loan Limits
Local Market Update:
November was a busy month for sellers and buyers! While we are approaching a slower time of year, serious buyers are still out looking, in hopes of taking advantage of lower interest rates.
There is about 11% less inventory on the market, compared to November 2016, with the majority of the difference tied to a decrease in available detached/single family homes. Sales are about the same for townhouses, condos, and coops. Almost all areas are experiencing fewer days on market, compared to the same period in 2016. The average days on market for sellers in November/December can take a bit longer than the spring, but serious buyers are still out looking!
The average sales price has increased about 7.5%. This is good news for owners, even if their home takes a bit longer to sell.

As expected, the fed increased short-term rates for the 3rd time in 2017, but left their rate outlook unchanged for the upcoming years. Interest rates were hovering around 4.25% earlier this year, but have remained lower this Fall at around 4%.
Thinking about selling your home in 2018? Don’t wait for Spring! The serious buyers start looking as early as February, and we typically see higher prices and multiple offers for our sellers *very* early in the season! Contact us today to get a free consultation for your home and updated market analysis of your neighborhood!
( Data & graph from SmartCharts by Showingtime)
Fed Rate Increase
As expected, the Fed raised interest rates.  Mortgage (long term) rates came DOWN in the first 2 days following the increase because the increase was expected, and indicates the markets are taking cues from the Fed, but with the economy improving in jobs and tamed inflation (so far), we can expect steadily rising rates in 2018.


Tax Bill Update
 

As you may know, both the House and Senate passed different versions of the tax bill, and the bill has now emerged from committee with some compromises.  We’ll have more extensive commentary if and when the final bill passes, but here are the key real estate-related provisions to date:
– The bill allows a “pass through” deduction of 20% of income to an LLCs, S-Corps, and partnerships for income up to $315,000 (phases out completely at $415,000).  It appears that if you own rental real estate in an LLC, then 20% of the income (up to the limit) could be tax exempt.  Maybe it’s time to buy that rental property?!  (This part of the bill remains under intense scrutiny and may face adjustments before passing.)
– The reconciled bill allows mortgage interest on the first $750,000 of debt to be deducted.  (This is a compromise from the House limit of $500,000 and Senate version of the current $1,000,000).
– Both versions increase the standard deduction and eliminate personal exemptions.  This means that for many homeowners, it will no longer make sense to itemize on Schedule A, especially since the state and local tax deduction is also capped (currently at a combined $10,000), further limiting the tax advantage that homeowners typically enjoy over renters.  The reconciled bill allows homeowners to deduct a combined state and local tax PLUS property taxes but CAPS the combined deduction at $10,000.
– Both versions had altered the “2 out of 5 years” rule for tax free gains upon the sale of a principal residence. But the reconciled version does NOT have any amendments to this part of the tax code.  So the capital gains exclusion of $250,000 for singles and $500,000 for couples filing jointly, if you’ve lived in the property 2 out of the last 5 years, appears to remain intact for now.
Stay tuned!
New Loan Limits
The conventional conforming loans limits have been increased for 2018, making it easier to get an affordable mortgage at a slightly higher price.  For the DC metro area, our loan limits are $453,100 and $679,650(significant increases from the previous $424,100 and $636,150.)
Client Appreciation Program and Events 
As always, we’re so appreciative our all of our clients and their referrals!  We loved seeing everyone at our Thanksgiving Pie Day party and our Breakfast at the Movies with Santa.
Stay tuned for more details about our new “Wethman Group Perks” program launching in 2018!
LOANER PROGRAM ADDITIONS: You probably know 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.  Need to clean the gutters?  Ask us about our ladder!  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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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 – 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

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

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

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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