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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The Wethman Group’s Real Estate News – April 2018

April 2018

MARKET UPDATE
With taxes on everyone’s mind, we’ve been getting lots of questions about the mortgage interest deduction and how things may change under the new tax laws. For most owners, the majority of their mortgage interest (up to $750,000 worth of debt) is still very valuable. The limitation on State and Local Tax Deductions does temper the effect a bit though. IF you are thinking about buying or selling and want a more detailed discussion of the potential impact on your taxes, contact us to arrange a meeting.
The market in our area in March actually slowed slightly, compared to this time last year. Prices are still increasing (up 3.5% from the March median last year to a March high for the last 10 years), but sales volume, new contracts, and closed contracts all were down in March from this time last year. Active inventory was also down 13% from March last year, making it the 23rd consecutive month of year-over-year declines in inventory.
From what we are seeing with our own clients, demand from buyers is still high, but with less out there to buy, sales numbers are starting to reflect the low inventory.
With the continued emphasis on inventory, if you are thinking about selling, now is the time to start a conversation. Even if you won’t be ready to move until summer, contact us to take photos of the exterior of your house while spring is in full bloom and everything looks beautiful! And let us plan how to utilize coming soon marketing to get buyers interested in your property before you are even ready to move!
 EVENTS
Picnic at the Winery
Clients, join us Saturday, May 12th from 12-4pm as we enjoy a picnic at The Winery at Bull Run. We will have games, foods, and of course, wine! All ages welcome, so bring the kiddos!
Clients, Save the Date:
Sunday, July 8th– Annual Baseball Game- Nats vs. Marlins
2 Upcoming First Time Home Buyer Classes
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!
**TONIGHT** Webinar, Wednesday, April 18th at 7pm
In Person, Tuesday, May 1st at 7pm at Reliable Tavern in DC
 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 – 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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