Tag Archives: South Salem Luxury Homes

The D.C. real estate market | South Salem Real Estate

D.C. experienced considerable growth in 2013 and 2014, surpassing national averages. But in 2015 and the first half of this year, most major indicators — including averages sales price, median days on the market and sales to list price ratio — slowed to a pace only slightly ahead the national market as a whole, according to data from Rockville-based multiple-listing service MRIS.

Here’s a snapshot of how the D.C. market performed in the first half of the year:

Average sales price 

On the whole, the average sales price — the average price at which a property sells — of all homes of any type in Washington are up 1.44 percent year to date in 2016 — $646,640 this year compared to $637,452 last year. This is certainly well above the median sales price of a home nationally, which hovers just below $250,000.

In particular, the highest average sales prices year to date in the District are in Zip codes 20007, primarily for Georgetown and Burleith ($1,067,347); 20016 for Cathedral Heights and American University Park ($1,042,904); and 20015 for the area around Friendship Heights and Chevy Chase ($1,017,269).

However, the biggest gainers in average sales price are a mixture of high-priced neighborhoods with developing areas outside the city center. The largest gainer in average sales price through the end of June was American University Park and Cathedral Heights, rising 19.9 percent to $1,042,904 in 2016 from $870,046 in 2015.

Notable growth also occurred in the far reaches of Southeast and Northeast Washington. The second- and third-biggest gainers in average sales price so far in 2016 have been seen around Zip codes 20020 for Anacostia and Hillcrest (up 17.7 percent to $292,159) as well as in 20019 for Deanwood and Benning Heights (up 17.3 percent to $256,417).

Median days on market 

Unlike other leading indicators, median days on the market — the number of days it takes a property to go from active on the market to under contract — is measured in how it shrinks not grows. A low number of days on market often corresponds to a higher sales price and vice versa. For the District, the average days on market as a whole are 39 days for 2016, down one day from 2015.


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Great outdoor spaces | South Salem Real Estate

Perfect Outdoor Spaces

Nothing compliments your outdoor space like indoor style and comfort. Introduce relaxed luxury to your home’s exterior with these four outdoor living space solutions.

1. Pump up your patio.Upgrade the look of your patio with stylish outdoor furniture. Lounge chairs, love seats and sofas are comfy additions to any exterior space. Accent your furniture with throw pillows, potted plants and fashionable side tables. Finish off your patio décor with quirky details like string lighting, vintage candelabras and fun arrangements of succulents.

Include a chimenea or patio-safe fire pit in your plans. A cozy fire will offer mood lighting, warmth and even a place to roast marshmallows.

Design must-haves: Outdoor furniture, chimenea, potted plants, string lighting, throw pillows, succulents.

Find ProsTiki Torch

2. Perfect your pergola. Pergolas are the picture-perfect outdoor living space. Fill your pergola with comfy seating for an outdoor lounging area. Or, open up the space with a beautiful outdoor dining set. Include an antique bar cart or coffee table for a boost in looks and functionality. Wrap up your design with string lighting or a candle chandelier.

Gardens are a wonderful pergola accent. Tall, flowering plants like hibiscus or lilies will give your pergola extra privacy and a stunning aesthetic. Creeping vines are also perfect for an added dash of style and privacy.

Design must-haves: Outdoor dining set, privacy garden, candle chandelier.


3. Kick off your outdoor kitchen. Outdoor kitchens bring the quality and convenience of indoor cooking to summertime grilling. If you have a large backyard, consider adding a full kitchen layout. A grill-smoker combo, refrigerator, prep station and washing area will boost the ease and enjoyment of your summertime cooking.

Introduce an outdoor dining room to complement your kitchen. Keep it basic with an outdoor table, chairs and a stylish cantilever umbrella. Or, go with a full dining set for larger gatherings.

Design must-haves: Grill or smoker, outdoor dining set, food prep areas, refrigerator.

Find ProsDeck

4. Outfit your outdoor fireplace. An outdoor fireplace is the ultimate gathering spot during nice weather. Situate your fireplace near your patio or devote a separate part of your yard to fireside get-togethers. Accentuate your fireplace with comfortable outdoor furniture — wrap around sofas are great for larger spaces —and several small coffee or side tables. If your fireplace is near your home, hang lighting or small lanterns over your seating area.

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Nearly Half of Homes in Top Markets are Losing Value | South Salem Real Estate

Despite market reports of strong median home price appreciation this spring, gains are very uneven and nearly half of homes in ten of the nation’s largest markets actually lost value in May. On a house-by-house basis, about one-third fewer homes in the largest markets gained value during the heart of the spring buying season this year compared to last, according to Weiss Residential Research’s Indexes.

Only 54 percent of homes in the markets appreciated during May compared to 81 percent in May 2014, a sign that the downward trend may continue in the coming months.  In Denver, the hottest market in the nation, 84 percent of houses appreciated in May compared to 95 percent last year.  In the Washington, DC market, weakest of the top ten, only 34 percent of houses gained value in May compared to 57 percent in May 2014.

“Don’t be fooled by averages,” said Allan Weiss, founder and CEO of Weiss Residential Research.  ‘All of the largest metro indexes are rising more slowly than they were a year ago though market reports give the impression that values are rising across the board.  However people don’t own the entire market, they own one house.”

Larger homes are having a harder time than smaller homes with two bedrooms or less.  In Denver, larger homes appreciated 5.8 percent on a year over year basis in May compared to smaller homes.  In Washington, DC, larger homes actually fell -0.7 percent.  Smaller homes declined less, -0.2 percent year over year.


Same Pattern as the Housing Crash

In a metro like DC with a median price increase of 1.2 percent in the past year according to Case-Shiller, 60 percent of the houses are rising and the other 40 percent are stagnant or falling.  Since the ones that are appreciating outnumber the ones falling the average is a low positive number, Weiss said.

“The same pattern occurred before the great housing meltdown ten years ago.  The percent of houses rising in DC declined from 100 percent to 60 percent while the metro index showed a slowdown but did not go negative.  Once the population of houses that had been rising fell below 50 percent, the index began its descent,” Weiss said.


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US construction spending up 2.2 percent in April | South Salem Real Estate

U.S. construction spending climbed in April to the highest level in more than six years, fueled by healthy gains in housing, government spending and non-residential construction.

The Commerce Department says construction spending advanced 2.2 percent in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1 trillion, the highest level since November 2008. Spending had risen a more modest 0.5 percent in March.

The gain included a 0.6 percent rise in residential construction and a 3.1 percent jump in non-residential activity such as office buildings, hotels and shopping centers. Government projects increased 3.3 percent, reflecting the biggest jump in spending on state and local projects in three years.

Economists are looking for construction to provide solid support to the economy this year.


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Housing Affordability Posts Solid Gain in First Quarter | South Salem Real Estate

Lower interest rates and home prices contributed to a solid boost in nationwide affordability in the first quarter of 2015, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI) released today.

“Consumers benefitted from continued low mortgage rates and some fall in the price of homes sold in the first quarter, as these conditions offer a great time to buy,” said NAHB Chairman Tom Woods, a home builder from Blue Springs, Mo.

“The past two quarters have seen an improvement in affordability as mortgage rates remain low,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “Eighty-five percent of the metropolitan areas measured experienced an increase in affordability. Along with favorable home prices and pent-up demand, this broad improvement should help encourage more buyers to enter the marketplace.”

In all, 66.5 percent of new and existing homes sold between the beginning of January and end of March were affordable to families earning the U.S. median income of $65,800. This is up from the 62.8 percent of homes sold that were affordable to median-income earners in the fourth quarter.

The national median home price declined from $215,000 in the fourth quarter to $210,000 in the first quarter. Meanwhile, average mortgage interest fell from 4.29 percent to 4.03 percent in the same period.

For the second straight quarter, Syracuse, N.Y. remained the nation’s most affordable major housing market, as 95.6 percent of all new and existing homes sold in the first quarter of 2015 were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $68,500.

Also ranking among the most affordable major housing markets in respective order were Toledo, Ohio; St. Louis; Akron, Ohio; and Harrisburg-Carlisle, Pa.

Meanwhile, Sandusky, Ohio topped the affordability chart among smaller markets in the first quarter of 2015. There, 96.3 percent of homes sold during the first quarter were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $69,600. Other smaller housing markets at the top of the index included Cumberland, Md.-W.Va.; Elmira, N.Y.; Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, Iowa-Ill.; and Kokomo, Ind.


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New and Existing Home Sales Increase in February | South Salem Real Estate

Builders signed contracts on more homes last month than any time since early 2008, according to figures released by the Census Bureau and HUD. February seasonally adjusted annual new home sales topped out at a 539,000 annual pace, up 7.8% from a healthy 500,000 rate in January. In percentage terms, sales increased the most in the Northeast (153% over the January rate) due to prior weather-related declines. Inventories dropped slightly to 210,000, which with the increased sales rate, lowered the months’ supply measure to 4.7 months. Lower inventories suggests optimism about construction growth for the year ahead.

Although reporting smaller gains, existing home sales shook off winter-related declines in February as well. As reported by the National Association of Realtors, sales increased 1.2% in February (up 4.7% from a year earlier), and the share of sales for first-time buyers registered its first gain since last November. Supplies of existing homes for sale are also diminished, with the current inventory representing only a 4.6-month supply.

However, the lingering regional effects of the tough winter for the Eastern part of the U.S. were seen in disappointing construction data for February. The pace of housing starts fell 17% to its lowest level since January 2014.

The decline was across the board in building types and regions. Single-family starts were down 14.9% and multifamily starts fell 20.8%. Single-family starts decreased the most in the weather sensitive Northeast (-60.7%) and Midwest (-32.4%) but were also down in the less weather affected South (-5.9%) and West (-9.1%).

The declines mirror the NAHB/Wells Housing Market Index (HMI), which fell two points to 53 in March. The drop marked the third consecutive decrease in this measure of single-family builder confidence. However, the HMI has been above 50 since July of last year, suggesting that the outlook for construction growth is good, not great. Similarly, fourth-quarter market data from the Census Bureau and HUD Survey of Market Absorption of Apartments suggest ongoing strong rental demand and positive prospects for maintaining current levels of multifamily development.


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Hollywood Founder’s Spectacular Mansion | South Salem Real Estate

The stately, 23 room Mediterranean Revival mansion that Joseph Young, who developed Hollywood in the 1920s, built for himself on Hollywood Boulevard, can be yours for $2.19 million. The over-6,000 square foot house is one of the grandest (if not the grandest) home in the neighborhood, and embodies the dreams that Young had for his city, which in its day was similar to other swanky South Floridian cities like Coral Gables in a lot of ways. That included extensive master planning. Grand thoroughfares, like Hollywood Boulevard, connected elegant public amenities like Young Circle and the Hollywood Beach Resort. Even though Hollywood has certainly proven to be a successful and inviting community, it never quite became as ritzy of a locale as Young envisioned it, which might explain why the house has been on the market since 2012. People looking for this kind of spread don’t tend to look in Hollywood.


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Foreclosure Inventory Fell 36% in November: CoreLogic | South Salem Real Estate

The number of homes in some stage of foreclosure dropped 36% in November compared to the previous year, according to a report Wednesday from CoreLogic.

The Irvine, Calif.-based data firm said in a press release that roughly 567,000 homes were in foreclosure, compared to 880,000 homes in November 2013.

The number of completed foreclosures fell 10%, to 41,000. Compared to a peak in September 2010, completed foreclosures were down 64%.

“While the national level of foreclosures may normalize in the next two years, there will always be the potential for some pockets of distress in the mortgage market,” said Molly Boesel, a senior economist at CoreLogic, in a press release.

Florida reported the highest number of foreclosures for the 12-month period ending in November, with 118,000 homes completing the process.


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Will Low Down Payments Bring First-timers Home? | South Salem Real Estate

Suddenly More first-time buyers are buying homes.  More are making down payments even as lenders rush to sign up for the new 3 percent down programs launched by Fannie and Freddie in November.  Coincidence or can we connect the dots?

It’s too soon for the new programs to have an impact on sales, but the odds are good that when they do the first-timer spike in sales may turn into a trend.  Loosening standards, improving incomes, soaring rents–whatever the cause, as the New Year begins there’s a refreshing new wind blowing throughout housing markets coast to coast.

According to the National Association of Realtors, first-time homebuyers accounted for 31 percent of existing home sales in November (29 percent in October 2014; 28 percent in November 2013.  Initial December data indicated a pickup of purchases from first-time buyers in November, likely a result of the improving job market and the decline in interest rates to 4 percent.

Zillow predicts that first-time buyers who stayed out of the market – either for demographic reasons or because they just couldn’t find the right entry-level home – will have a breakthrough year in 2015.rding to Zillow.  Zillow’s predictions are based on data showing rents continuing to skyrocket while the for-sale market levels off. That economic reality, increased inventory, and millennials getting married and having children after delaying those choices, will give buyers more negotiating power.  In fact, Zillow predicts the millennial generation will overtake Generation X as the biggest group of home buyers in 2015.

Meanwhile the majority of first-time home buyers making a low down payment appears to be uptrend. Among first-time buyers reported to be obtaining a mortgage in the months of September through November, about 66 percent made a down payment of 6 percent or less.  This is a decline from the 77 percent figure in early 2009, but an improvement from the 61 percent figure at the beginning of 2014.  In 2014 the average down payment for first-time buyers was

On December 8, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced the acceptance of loans originated with a 3 percent down payment under certain qualification guidelines to increase credit availability to first-time buyers meeting eligibility standards. In the case of Freddie Mac, borrowers will be required to participate in a borrower education program. In the case of Fannie Mae, borrowers will still have to meet the standard eligibility underwriting requirements such as those relating to income, employment, and debt, and borrowers will be required to purchase private mortgage insurance. Borrowers making a low down payment may still face higher costs for risk adjustment (called loan level pricing adjustments) in the case of GSE-backed loans.

Within weeks, mortgage lenders—all non-banks—began lining up to announce they were going to participate.

First out of the box to sign up for FHFA program were 360 Mortgage Group and ditech, both with 97% LTV into their product offerings.   Guardian Mortgage Company, Citywide Financial in San Diego, Houston lender AMCAP Mortgage and Michigan-based United Wholesale Mortgage were among of the first to announce they would participate in the GSE programs.

Meanwhile, before the details were even announced, Bank of America came out saying that it does not plan on easing its mortgage standards or offering 3% down mortgages, despite regulators seeking to expand lending.  Wells Fargo said it is currently in the process of examining the new product.


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Historic Philadelphia Victorian with 1920s Addition | South Salem Real Estate



Location: Philadelphia
Price: $1,750,000
The Skinny: An unusual historic home in the Northwest Philadelphia neighborhood of Chestnut Hill is on the market for the first time ever, or at least since H. Louis Duhring, Jr. acquired it. Duhring, who designed many of the homes George Woodward commissioned for the neighborhood, had a four-story wing in the Arts and Crafts style added to the home in the 1920s. This new back end to the stone-clad, circa-1860 Victorian brought the total square footage to about 10,000, which counts two apartments reached via a “grand, skylit stairwell,” and a “library/music room” with an original stone fireplace. There’s also a greenhouse and a pool in back.

First brought to market back in June, the dwelling is listed for $1.75M with design store proprietor and Kurfiss Sotheby’s associate broker Virginia Baltzell, whose family owns the property. She thinks it would make a great B&B.


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