What's New in New Housing Design

Here are the products grabbing the attention of the home building and remodeling industries, according to Bill Millholland, executive vice president of sales and marketing at Case Design/Remodeling in Maryland, and Jamie Gibbs, a New York-based interior designer:

· Appliance Drawers. Small warning drawers, modest-sized dishwasher drawers for small loads, refrigerator drawers and microwave drawers.

· Counter-depth refrigerators. Some are only 24 inches deep.

· Motion-detecting faucets. Like you'd find in the restrooms of businesses.

· LED (light-emitting diode) lighting. These are used under cabinets and in ceiling fixtures as a longer-lasting, more efficient alternative to compact fluorescent lamps and incandescent bulbs.

· Electric heated floors. A nice touch in bathrooms,

· Showers with multiple heads and body sprays. Bathtubs are out.

Source: The Washington Post (09/25/2010)

Georgetown Stats - Week of September 20 - 26

According to the MRIS (Multiple Regional Information Systems, Inc), the following real estate transactions have taken place in Georgetown real estate during the week September 20 - 26.

11 new listings: 10 Single Family-SF ($789,000 - $7,850,000) and 1 Condo/Co-op-C/C ($999,000)
3 properties came under contract: 1 SF ($1,845,000) and 2 C/C ($359,000 - $499,000)
3 properties went to closing during this time frame: 1 SF ($939,000) and 2 C/C ($454,900 - $581,000)


Who Is Saying It is Time To Buy a Home? EVERYONE!

by R. Scott Shaheen, Regional Vice President, Long & Foster

“Enough with the doom and gloom about homeownership.” – WSJ 9/16/2010

WOW! The Wall Street Journal is calling for the end of the ‘doom and gloom’ talk surrounding real estate.

Who else is jumping on the bandwagon?
The Wall Street Journal

In an article last week, 10 Reasons To Buy a Home, Brett Arends reported:

Sure, maybe there’s more pain to come in the housing market. But when Time magazine starts running covers that declare “Owning a home may no longer make economic sense,” it’s time to say: Enough is enough.

He then posted 10 reasons to buy a home today:

1. You can get a good deal.

2. Mortgages are cheap.

3. You can save on taxes.

4. It will be yours.

5. You’ll get a better home.

6. It offers some inflation protection.

7. It’s risk capital.

8. It’s forced savings.

9. There is a lot to choose from.

10. Sooner or later, the market will clear.

The Nation’s Real Estate Pricing Expert

Karl E. Case is a professor emeritus of economics at Wellesley. Professor Case is also co-creator of Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller House Price Index and is recognized as the one of the foremost authorities on real estate today. In a New York Times op-ed piece earlier this month titled, A Dream House After All, he said:

I have never quite understood what the American dream really means when it comes to housing. For some people, it means having a solid and fairly safe long-term investment that is coupled with the satisfaction of owning the house they live in. That dream is still alive.

Others, however, think the American dream is owning property that appreciates by 30 percent a year, making a house into a vehicle for paying bills. But those kinds of dreams have become nightmares for the millions of foreclosed property owners who have found themselves sliding toward bankruptcy.

But for people with a more realistic version of the American dream, buying a house now can make a lot of sense.

The Wealthy

The only segments of the housing market that are showing sales growth are the price points over $1 million. That market is up 6.1 % in the second quarter of this year vs. the second quarter last year. A recent survey showed that over 30% affluent buyers are planning to either build/buy a new primary residence or a second/vacation home in the next twelve months. It appears the wealthy believe now is the time to buy!

Everybody Else

Fannie Mae just released their National Housing Survey. The survey reported:

• 82% of respondents consider homeownership important to the economy, up two points from January.

• 70% of respondents think it is a good time to buy a house (of which 36% think it is a very good time to buy), up six points from January. This is also four points higher than the 2003 survey – well before home prices peaked – when 66 % said it was a good time.

Bottom Line

Our iconic financial newspaper, our nation’s real estate pricing expert, the wealthiest people in the country and 70% of everyone else think now is the time to buy a home. It probably makes sense to listen to them.


Georgetown Stats - Week of September 13 - 19

According to the MRIS (Multiple Regional Information Systems, Inc), the following real estate transactions have taken place in Georgetown real estate during the week September 13 - 19.

5 new listings: 3 Single Family-SF ($745,000 - $1,845,000) and 2 Condo/Co-op-C/C ($655,000 - $1,750,000)

4 properties came under contract: 3 SF ($579,000 - $1,995,000) and 1 C/C ($314,500)

2 properties went to closing during this time frame: 1 SF ($13,450,000) and 1 C/C ($775,000)

Housing Affordability

Here is an in-depth look at the affordability index and how it might change in the coming months.  Affordability is near an all-time high based on mortgage rates and house prices.

Read more....  Affordability


The resurgence of home buying!

With all the fear-inducing talk of foreclosures and short sales, there has not been much positive press in the past many months.  However, while that coverage has pointed out a real issue in the housing industry, it has ignored another part of it...namely that owning a house is still worthwhile.  There is a great article in the New York Times written by Karl Case of the Case-Schiller Report.  It is quite insightful and worth reading.  I'm sorry I can't provide a link here, but I encourage you to read it.  The title is “A Dream House After All”.

In that article he discusses several good points:

  1. Housing has never been cheaper, and is a great buy today.
  2. Prices will soon start to rise.
  3. Tax-free capital gains when we sell a property
  4. That we can deduct mortgage interest and real estate taxes.

One other thing he talks about is "imputed rent". He says, "you live in a house and so it provides you with a real flow of valuable services. This part of the yield is counted as part of national income by the Commerce Department. It is the equivalent of about a 6% return on your investment after maintenance and repair, and it is constant over time in real terms."; i.e. if you rent, you pay a landlord.  If you own a house, you pay yourself.


Some reason for hope in the economy

From an article in the Washington Post, September 2nd by Neil Irwin:  Five reasons for economic optimism.
  1. Higher savings rate:  More money to spend in the months ahead
  2. Credit is easing, supporting growth
  3. Manufacturing sector holding up
  4. Housing may have hit the bottom
  5. Trade:  with other world economies doing better than the U.S., domestic growth could be helped.

Georgetown Stats - week of September 6 -12

According to the MRIS (Multiple Regional Information Systems, Inc), the following real estate transactions have taken place in Georgetown real estate during the week September 6 - 12.

19 new listings: 13 Single Family-SF ($815,000 - $5,450,000) and 6 Condo/Co-op-C/C ($499,000 - $1,130,000)

5 properties came under contract: 3 SF ($950,000 - $2,195,000) and 2 C/C ($549,000 - $575,000)

3 properties went to closing during this time frame: 3 SF ($1,095,000 - $1,895,000) and 0 C/C

Georgetown Stats - week of August 30 - September 5

According to the MRIS (Multiple Regional Information Systems, Inc), the following real estate transactions have taken place in Georgetown real estate during the week August 30 - September 5.

9 new listings: 5 Single Family-SF ($579,000 - $1,749,000) and 4 Condo/Co-op-C/C  ($499,000 - $925,000)

2 properties came under contract: 2 SF ($999,000 - $1,795,000) and 0 C/C

4 properties went to closing during this time frame: 4 SF ($880,000 - $1,490,000) and 0 C/C


Just got back from Florida....

I just returned from Florida where I helped my parents celebrate their 70th (!) wedding anniversary.  It was a great time with them, but seeing the real estate market there made me grateful for being here. 

The market there is really suffering from the poor economy, lack of jobs and tight mortgage money.  My gratitude for living and working in this area is not about schadenfreude, because I know there are plenty of people suffering here as well.  But we are doing better!