D.C. home prices see modest rise for 7th straight month

Interesting article from the Washington Business Journal - by Tucker Echols Staff Reporter

The Washington housing market took another step on the road to recovery in October as median prices rose for a seventh consecutive month, according to the S&P/Case Shiller Home Price Index.

The October gain was a modest 0.2 percent compared to the national advance of 0.4 percent, but the cumulative effect of the Washington market's improvement helped it outperform most of the country in year-over-year comparisons. Median prices in the Washington market were just 2.8 percent lower in October than one year ago, while nationally prices fell 7.3 percent.

You can read the remainder of this article at the link below. As you've probably heard before, real estate is a very "local" business. So price changes can be tracked by neighborhood and by price range. Even in the DC area some price ranges have seen some improvement, while others have not. Generally the higher valued properties have not seen an increase.


Looking at your house through the eyes of potential buyers.

If you are thinking of putting your house on the market for sale, you would probably benefit from looking at your house through the eyes of potential buyers. There are a couple of websites which you might find useful in employing this thought process. These sites relate to "staging" a property for sale. Staging is often thought of in conjunction with vacant houses, but these sites I mention below also have ideas for furnished properties...rearranging your furniture, adding plants and flowers, moving wall hangings, etc. Hope this is helpful.

www.Homestagingbook.com ("Homestaging for Dummies")

Why can foreclosure assistance help Georgetown?

I've quoted an article here regarding Fannie Mae foreclosure help. It may seem totally unrelated to Georgetown real estate, but the fact is that our market will improve when the "move-up" market improves. Helping people avoid foreclosure will not only those individuals, but will also keep their properties off the market, and thereby help reduce overall inventory. As inventory is reduced, the competition for purchasing properties will increase, more people will want to buy, and from the entry level part of the market, there will be push upward on house purchasing. While we are fortunate to be in an area where house values are high, and those values have not been affected quite as much as many other areas, we still suffer from the overall low number of sales.

For example if our current President brought someone with him from Chicago, that person probably has a house in Chicago to sell. While that person might very well want to buy a house in Georgetown, it is difficult to do so without selling the house in Chicago. Until there is a move-up buyer in Chicago to buy that house, our "person" won't be able to sell there and buy here.

Here is the article...

Fannie Mae offers help to buyers of foreclosed homes
Washington Business Journal - by Barton Eckert Contributing Writer

With a large inventory of foreclosed homes acquired during the housing slump, D.C.-based

is offering up to 3.5 percent in closing-cost assistance to potential buyers.
Fannie Mae (NYSE: FNM) is the largest U.S. mortgage finance company. As an alternative to a closing-cost credit, Fannie Mae is offering an equivalent amount in the buyer's choice of appliances.
"Attracting qualified buyers to the market and reducing the inventory of vacant homes is critical to stabilizing neighborhoods and helping the market recover," said Terry Edwards, executive vice president of credit portfolio management. "Many families are taking advantage of the federal homebuyer tax credit to buy a new home, so this is a great time for Fannie Mae to offer some additional help."
The offer is available to any owner-occupant who closes on the purchase of a property listed before May 1, 2010. Properties eligible for this incentive are listed on HomePath.com.


History of Georgetown Homes

Dumbarton House:

History Lecture with Breena ClarkeSaturday, February 6, 1:30 p.m.
Dumbarton House (2715 Q Street, NW) hosts best-selling African-American history writer Breena Clarke. Author of Oprah's book club selection "River, Cross My Heart," Ms. Clarke will be sharing her research on enslaved and free African-Americans who made their homes in businesses in the Georgetown community for generations. 202.337.2288

Housing Trends - 2009

Trends in Housing Year End 2009 provides an in-depth look at the statistics and issues which shape the mid-Atlantic housing market. Released on January 28, Trends in Housing reveals information about the region such as:

* Prices are showing signs of a moderate recovery.
* Days on Market continue to decline compared to both Q3 2009 and a year ago.
* The ratio of inventory to sales continues to decline in most jurisdictions from one year ago.
* The gap between buyer and seller demands is closing with the average sales price in Q4 2009 at 93.7% of list price, the highest share in more than two years.

Let me know if you would like more information from this report. darrell@lnf.com


Georgetown Property Sales Statistics


There are currently 107 properties for sale in Georgetown...43 condo/co-op and 64 houses.
The condo/co-ops range in price from $199,990 to $6million.
The houses range in price from $599,000 to $39.5million.


12 total. 6 C/C and 6 houses.
C/C range is $239,000 - $2.295million
Houses range is $739,000 to $4.995million


4 total. 2 C/C and 2 houses.

1531 31st Street $500,000
2501 Pa Ave 2,200,000
3414 Prospect St 1,650,000
1621 31st Street 2,225,000


Prices go up, but sales go down (Nationally)...

Existing home sales declined almost 17 percent in December, the largest in more than 40 years — and the latest sign that the economy and the housing market continue to struggle.

Despite the larger-than-expected decline, the nation’s median home price increased 1.5 percent to $178,300, the first increase since August 2007, according to the national association. Nationwide, home sales have increased 21 percent from a year ago, but are off 25 percent from the housing peak in 2006.

December’s existing home sales plummeted 16.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.45 million, or almost 1 million fewer than the 6.54 million in November, according to the National Association of Realtors on Monday. Thomson Reuters economists expected a much lower 10 percent decline last month compared to November.

A federal program to encourage first-time homebuyers with an $8,000 tax credit was extended to April 30, and established a $6,500 credit for existing homeowners who move into another house. But the concern is the glut of homebuyers who scrambled to buy homes in recent months has declined and is putting pressure on the housing market to find new buyers without the benefit of a federal tax credit in less than four months, unless lawmakers approve another extension.

Excerpt from the Sacramento Business Journal, January 25, 2010

DC one of 10 top cities for people who want to own a home...

For people who want to own a home, the premium to buy-the spread between what they'd spend to rent and what they'd pay for a mortgage-is much lower than the 15-year average in many cities. To determine what cities are smart buys, Forbes magazine computed the premium and also identified locales where economists predict home prices will go up the most over the next five years. Here are the top 10 cities the magazine chose as the best places to buy right now. 1. Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Mass. 2. Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord, N.C.-S.C. 3. Chicago-Naperville-Joliet, Ill.-Ind.-Wis. 4. Cincinnati-Middletown, Ohio-Ky.-Ind. 5. Denver-Aurora-Broomfield, Colo. 6. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minn.-Wis. 7. Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, Pa.-N.J.-Del.-Md. 8. Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, Ore.-Wash. 9. San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, Calif. 10. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, D.C.-Va.-Md.-W.V. Source: Forbes, Francesca Levy (01/21/2010)