[FoRK] What's that sound???
Adam L Beberg
Mon Jul 25 17:38:52 PDT 2005
It's like a loud whooshing of air... must be a storm coming.
Rent = 2k, value = 1.5M, that's only a multiple of 750. It should be in
the range of 80-120, guess which one will adjust ;)
I've been to DC, driven through parts, so who in their right mind would
pay 1.5M (or even 300K) to live there??? It made the south side of
ghettos of Chicago seem like Beverly Hills. An effect of being
Congress's plaything of course.
D.C. Area Housing Market Cools Off
By Kirstin Downey and Sandra Fleishman
Washington Post Staff Writers
Mon Jul 25, 1:00 AM ET
Washington area temperatures may be sizzling, but the once-torrid real
estate market seems to be cooling off as houses stay on the market
longer and the number of homes for sale rises.
Home sales tend to slow in the summer, but the number of houses for sale
in the Washington area has climbed by 50 percent in recent months. The
available inventory has risen to about 35,300 homes, up from an average
of about 23,000 in the past three years, according to Metropolitan
Regional Information Systems Inc., which runs the local multiple-listing
The average number of days a house stays on the market has crept up by
two days in Fairfax County, to 16 days in June from 14 days a year
earlier. In Montgomery County it has risen to 20 days from 18 days,
according to MRIS. Those are, however, still short turnaround times by
Meanwhile, the number of houses sold in Northern Virginia's inner
suburbs fell by 9.6 percent in June, compared with a year earlier. In
the District, the number of houses sold dropped by 8 percent, while in
Montgomery County they dropped about 1.6 percent.
Local real estate brokers say they are seeing signs of a change.
"The market has slowed for sure, especially at the high end," said Wes
Foster, chairman of Long & Foster Real Estate Inc.
Foster said the market is returning to "normalcy" after a frenzied era
of multiple contracts, bidding wars and desperate buyers waiving their
right to property inspections or appraisals.
"It's very healthy," he said. "It worried the pure hell out of me the
numbers we were seeing. I remember Boston in 1982 to 1989, when [prices]
went up 25 percent a year for six years, and then in one year [they]
fell 87 percent. The ride up for everybody selling was wonderful but the
ride down was awful. . . . It was very painful and I don't want to see
Foster said the recent manic market has been fueled by what he called
"crazy fools running around buying houses as investments," with "bad
loans, interest-free loans."
"They'll get hurt, and I think they should," as prices inevitably
correct themselves, he said. A slowdown is needed because so many
average people have been priced out of homes or compelled to pay high
prices, he said.
Real estate broker Susann H. Haskins of the Long & Foster office in
Potomac, president of the Greater Capital Area Association of Realtors,
cautioned that the down-tick may simply be summer-related.
"Is it a major shift? Not necessarily. . . . I don't think we should
raise the red flags and send up the alarms yet. . . . We don't have
enough data to definitively say the expansion has ended," she said.
The Washington region remains strong, compared with other markets, said
Ken Wenhold, regional director for Metrostudy, a housing research firm
based in Houston. "Although the resale inventory and days on the market
have increased slightly, it is still overall a very tight resale
market," he said.
Many area real estate agents said that good houses in good
neighborhoods, realistically priced, still sell well and that sales are
faster in less-expensive areas. In Prince William County and its largest
cities, including Manassas and Manassas Park, the median price is
$380,000 and sales rose 10.7 percent in June, compared with the year
before. In Prince George's County, where the median sales price in June
was $300,000, the number of sales rose 3 percent.
"I still see prices rising and the market is very strong," said real
estate broker Donald L. Frederick, with Re/Max International Inc. in
Camp Springs, who cited Prince George's County's affordability as the
reason for its strength at a time real estate agents from other areas
said market activity "is way off."
But in many of the region's inner suburbs, where prices have about
doubled in four years, some sellers who expected results within days of
posting a for-sale sign have been disappointed. Some are cutting their
At the beginning of the year, buyers were frantically grabbing at
anything. Now some have the time to pick and choose among neighborhoods,
line up home inspections before buying and carefully consider the lofty
prices they are paying.
Computer consultant Will Gibson, 39, put his red-brick Bellevue Terrace
duplex, just off Wisconsin Avenue in Northwest Washington, up for sale
in the spring. His wife, Jeep, was hoping to move to the suburbs. Gibson
listed it at $895,000, but it did not sell. After two months, he took it
off the market and stored the for-sale sign in an upstairs hallway. He
said he will try to sell it again "after we fix a few things up."
Liza Potter, 31, who owns a townhouse in Burke, has been monitoring the
market since March because she wants to move to a larger, single-family
house. In March, she said, homes listed for sale on the Internet lasted
two days. She often could not drive to them quickly enough to make a bid
before they went under contract.
Now, she said, attractive listings are lasting two weeks and the prices
seem to be slightly lower. Two weeks ago, she and her husband, Darrell,
41, a computer specialist for the Defense Department, bought a house for
$650,000 in a nearby neighborhood they had thought they could not
afford. They now are listing their townhouse for sale at $439,000.
"More houses are on the market, so people have a little more time to
look around and see what else is out there," Potter said.
Neighbors, for whom watching the home-sale market has been a favorite
parlor pursuit, are noticing the slowdown, too. Dimetra Panagakos, 81,
who lives next door to Gibson in Northwest Washington, chortled as she
discussed the market.
"They used to sell in a week, these houses here, but now no more," said
Panagakos, who has lived in the neighborhood since 1948. "Ha, ha, ha,
they went crazy in my neighborhood, my neighbor asked $900,000 -- and
now no more."
Some renters are also watching with interest. Sabrina Daly, 26, a
research analyst who shares a $2,000-a-month rental house in Arlington's
Lyon Park with two other young women, said the renovated bungalow next
door went on the market three weeks ago for $1.5 million. It has not sold.
"I'm surprised," she said. "Maybe people don't want to pay $1.5 million.
Maybe they can't pay $1.5 million."
In Falls Church, Josefina Villegas, 71, thought her house would sell in
just a few days when she put it on the market in late June and that she
would soon be winging her way, carefree, to visit her grandchildren in
Houses in her woodsy neighborhood had been selling in the $900,000s, so
she priced hers at $925,000 and waited for the bids to come in. She
waited some more -- no bids. She dropped the price to $899,00. Three
weeks later, still no bids.
"I think houses are going slower now," she said, as she worried about
getting the lawn mowed once again to keep up its pristine market-ready
appearance. "Send me somebody to buy."
Deborah Davenport, 50, listed her single-family house in Fairfax County
last week at $569,000. Her husband, an echocardiographer who does heart
ultrasounds, was offered his "dream job" with pediatric cardiologists in
Tucson. In the past week, her home has been visited by just one set of
"We haven't gotten any nibbles, unlike a month ago, when people put
their houses on the market, and poof, they'd be gone," she said. "I
figured it had to slow, it had to stabilize; but I hope it hasn't
completely stalled -- for our sake."
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