Tax Reform for Homeowners

Now that the House and Senate have passed their own versions of tax reform, homeowners are wondering what’s next?  There’s no reason to panic just yet because we don’t know which version will be adopted. Furthermore, the majority of mortgage interest deductions won’t be affected anyway since the majority of mortgages are under $500,000. For the higher priced areas we certainly hope that the Senate version will prevail.

Here’s a breakdown on the legislation:

Deductions Senate Version  House Version
Capital Gains Exclusion Owner must have lived in the property for 5 of the last 8 years Same
Property Taxes Deduction limited to $10,000 Same
Mortgage Interest Deductions on loans up to $1-million Deductions on loans up to $500,000
State & Local Taxes Not deductible Same
Second Home Mortgages Not deductible Same
Moving Expenses Not deductible Same
Home Equity Line of Credit Not deductible Same
Interest on Student Loans Not deductible Same

The next step is for both sides to come to an agreement on a final bill. And then that bill needs to be voted on. It’s not too late to make your voice heard. Let your congress member know what you’re thinking! Click here for an easy way to contact them.

The Evers & Co. 2014 End of Year Real Estate Report

National Cathedral

National CathedralIn 2014, sales in Northern Virginia and Montgomery County trailed behind 2013 sales with a 5% decrease in dollar volume of sales, and a less than 1% increase in average price compared to a 7% increase in average price in 2013. The District of Columbia, which had a 5% gain in sales volume and a 5.5% gain in average price was the only jurisdiction to show significant gains, which kept the performance numbers for the close-in Metro area from dipping below the 2013 levels.

January numbers this year were much better than January 2014, with the close-in Metro area experiencing a 9% gain in dollar volume of sales and a 4% gain in average price. So, despite the cool 2014 market in Northern Virginia and Montgomery County, the overall January 2014 numbers bode well for the spring real estate market.

*Statistics are taken from the Metropolitan Regional Information System for three areas: Washington, D.C.; Montgomery Country, Maryland; and Fairfax County, Arlington and Alexandria in Northern Virginia.

Bethesda Chevy Chase Real Estate Stats

As of this posting (January 13, 2015) there are 196 active listings within the Bethesda Chevy Chase marketplace (zip codes 20812, 20814, 20815, 20816, 20817 & 20818).  The median asking price for a single family or townhome is $1,595,000.  The median days on market is 109. When you average the numbers they both go up.  The average asking price for a Bethesda Chevy Chase listing is $1,749,006 and the average days on market is 134.

The least expensive house to be had currently in BCC is located at 8318 Brook Lane, listed at $550,000.

The most expensive listings share an asking price of $7,200,000 and are located at 7700 Oldchester Road and 6801 Hillmead.

Of course, we would be happy to show you any of these properties!



DC Area 35% Cheaper to Own than Rent

I’m not going to reinvent the wheel, here.  Trulia just came out with a report that promotes ownership over renting for those planning on staying in the same place for 5+ years within the DC area. In Montgomery County that figure is 36%, while in DC proper it’s 27% cheaper to own than rent.

Click here to see the full article.

Oh, and if you’re looking to save some big bucks and buy a place, give us a ring. There are a lot of programs out there to provide first time buyers with down-payment assistance. Don’t go it alone We are here to help!

The Evers & Co. 2013 End-of-Year Real Estate Report

The Capitol At NightThe end-of-year numbers were impressive and showed a dramatic improvement in the close-in Metro area marketplace. The average price in this area is now within 5% of what it was at the peak of the last boom year in 2005, and dollar volume of sales is within 16% of the peak of the market.

While we are experiencing a strong sellers’ market with high demand and limited inventory, buyers should know that most of the price increases take place between January and June, so it is better to make the purchase as early in the spring as possible. Although buyers can expect stiff competition because of the low inventory, they should meet with their real estate agent and lender now in order to be better prepared to make a strong offer when they find the property they want to buy. Sellers can do very well in this market if they take the time and care to make their properties look good, and price according the latest comparable area sales.

On another positive note, Evers & Co is happy to report a 27% increase in sales over 2012, reaching a stunning $535,000,000 in sales volume for 2013!

Donna Evers, owner and broker of Evers & Company Real Estate, has a bit more to say on the subject. Click here for her thoughtful update on the state of the market.

* Statistics are taken from the Metropolitan Regional Information System for three areas: Washington, D.C.; Montgomery County, Maryland; and Fairfax County, Arlington and Alexandria in Virginia.


How ’bout those Rising Interest Rates…

doom and gloom

doom and gloomThe talk of the town these days is rising interest rates, and what it all means for home buyers and sellers.  In the last month or so interest rates on a 30-year fixed mortgage rose 3/4 – 1% within a 9 day period.  That’s a pretty astonishing hike, not to mention fast.

In the simplest terms, for those purchasing a $500,000 home with a 20% down payment, you will now pay @$4,000 more per year on your mortgage than you would had you settled on your home in May.  That’s $333 extra a month.

While a lot of folks are screaming doom and gloom, I’m not so sure it’s a bad thing.  Historically, rates haven’t dipped below 5% in the last 40 years until about 2008- the start of our latest recession.  The housing crisis along with low rates created opportunities for many buyers previously shut out of the market.  With the housing market (especially in our local market) decidedly in recovery mode, the feds are raising rates.  They can’t prop up the housing industry forever.

Freddie Mac Chart

Anyone familiar with the close-in DC marketplace knows that we’ve seen the return of “irrational exuberance”.  Those wishing to purchase property in the “under-$1-million” range are seeing an abundance of competition and multiple bids.  If the rising interest rates tamp down the degree to which homes are being overbid, then this is a good thing for buyers.

It may not happen all at once.  We continue to suffer from a lack of inventory, with absorption rates under a 2-months supply (a 5-6 month supply is considered healthy and balanced). But over time I would expect things to even out a bit more, making it a friendlier place for buyers.

Sellers, have fun while it lasts! Buyers, too!

Owning in DC 43% Cheaper than Renting

Trulia just published a report citing that buying a home is cheaper than renting in the DC real estate market.  The average monthly cost of rent is $2,098.  The average monthly cost of home ownership is $1,205, or a difference of $893 (-43%).  These figures are based on average prices during the summer of 2012.

Now, there are a few caveats to consider.  First off, these figures are based on owning the home for more than 7 years.  It assumes that you qualify for a low mortgage interest rate, and it also assumes that you itemize your taxes.  Under this scenario, home ownership is cheaper than renting.  Interestingly, it turns out that buying a house is cheaper than renting in all of the one-hundred largest metropolitan areas in the United States.  Seems to me that some DC types have already figured this out, given the very low inventory of homes for sale in the area.

All said, this isn’t a slam dunk.  Borrowers need to have 20% down payment to qualify for these loans.  That can take years.  Furthermore, a lot of people have suffered from job losses, or home losses.  Repairing credit, or just catching up on savings doesn’t happen overnight.  There is still a huge swath of people who can’t qualify for a mortgage and will find home ownership out of reach for many more years.

If you’re thinking that it might be time to take that leap, please fill out the form below.  We also take phone calls! Marcie 301-758-4894 or Cati 202-487-7177.  We look forward to hearing from you.

The Cheapest House In Chevy Chase

House for sale in Chevy Chase MD

House for sale in Chevy Chase MDAfter you got a glimpse at the “lower end” of listings in Bethesda, here is a new bargain in Chevy Chase, MD (zip code 20815): This house at 2701 Ross Road in the Rock Creek Forest neighborhood just hit the market a couple of days ago. It’s offered at a sweet price of $499,900 — about a third of both the current average ($1,553,736) and median ($1,550,000) list price of houses on the market in Chevy Chase (on the MD side).

Of course, with its 3 bedrooms and 1.5 baths it’s a smaller house as well, and it’s in need of some updates. But it also has been in the same family since it was built 61 years ago, and it has a bunch of nice features: a screened front porch, table-space kitchen, fresh paint, refinished floors and a flat, fenced-in backyard. You can see more photos in this MRIS slideshow.

Click here to see a list of all homes currently for sale in Chevy Chase, MD, or here to learn more about the Rock Creek Forest neighborhood.  Or if you would like to see the home, just let us know!

Interested in buying a home in the Chevy Chase area? We’ll be happy to help!


A Tale of Two Springs

The Spring market has been brisk and busy.  We’re all complaining about a lack of inventory.  Interestingly, the number of units sold hasn’t changed all that much from last year… rather, the buyer pool has changed. There are more of them.  This can be attributed to increased consumer confidence, a strong job market in the DC region, and super low mortgage rates.  Combine it with a rental shortage, and you’ve got a strong sellers market.

Most of our buyer clients have been feeling rather frustrated.  The well-priced and well-appointed homes are attracting a lot of attention, and often, multiple offers.  The only thing to do is to keep on top of the new inventory, take a look at listings as soon as they hit the market, and be prepared to jump… fast.  Even the older inventory is getting scooped up.

The table below compares the spring market of 2011 and 2012.

*20814:  Bethesda/Edgemoor; 20815: Chevy Chase; 20816: Bethesda/Brookmont, Glen Echo  20817: Bethesda/Wyngate, Bradley Hills, Palisades; 20818: Cabin John; 20012: DC/Shepherd Park, Colonial Village; 20015: DC/Chevy Chase, Friendship Heights; 20016: DC/AU Park, Palisades.

As you can see for yourself, there hasn’t been a whole lot of change, at least, nothing significant.  According to the recent stats, we’ve got about a 3-month supply of homes available to sell.  A 5-6 month supply is considered normal and healthy.  Anything below the norm reflects a sellers market, and above a buyers market.

As always, if we can help you with your search or sale, please let us know!

“How Is The Market?”

market stand--sketch--catarina bannier

market stand--sketch--catarina bannierOne of the big real estate trainers of America has suggested for years that there is only one possible answer to this question, ever: “It depends on where you live.”

Of course, he is right. And for the market we live in, this is one very lucky truth right now. While in some parts of the country property values have dropped more than fifty percent, prices in the DC metro area generally have not, at least not in the very close-in neighborhoods.

But it’s more complicated than that: overall market activity and inventory remain low. Many sellers seem to hold back for more lucrative times, while many buyers have a hard time finding a house.

Want to chat with the experts? Tune in tomorrow at noon to the Washington Post online for a live talk with expert demographer Lisa Sturtevant, who will chat with readers about “why the inventory is so low, what impact it might have on the region and where pockets of affordable inventory remain.”

Sounds interesting, doesn’t it?  I’ll definitely stop by–perhaps I’ll learn something new as well!