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Getting Creative with DC’s Housing Inventory

Anyone looking for a place to live in the District already knows:  housing inventory is extremely low. Competition for properties is active. And average Days on Market is in some neighborhoods less than a week!  Check out DC Urban Turf’s compilation of the fastest-selling neighborhoods in DC.  And if you’re renting, you’ll notice Petworth, known for its spacious lots and reasonable rates, has rising rents, reported by Curbed DC.

But DC developers are always creative!  The Grimke School near U Street is getting 50 residential units. And if you thought you didn’t stand a prayer of finding a place, Capitol Hill is home to a church-turned-condo.  In Petworth, there is a newly-designated “Hop-Back” — units in the rear of a property. In areas of more traditional properties, check out the new designs for future housing at Walter Reed. And DC Urban Turf has reported that NoMa is announcing 4500 new residential units coming soon. Busy!  For interesting reading, check out Greater Greater Washington’s report on the Hopscotch Bridge, H Street over the tracks at Union Station. That area is undergoing dramatic transformation.

If you are already in DC and can’t take all the extra development, you will love CurbedDC’s map for introverts. Very cool.

MovinInDC is not complete without a qualified (experienced!) restaurant review. The Faulkner Team (Diane, Lynn, Steve) celebrated the spring real estate season with a terrific dinner at the 14th Street Tuscan restaurant, Ghibellina. We highly recommend their Halibut, and for a non-traditional wine, we had an upscale Umbrian red that was outstanding. Nice place! Faulkner Team at Ghibellina

The Week in Real Estate 3/16/2017

The Faulkner Team

RATES.  Those of you in finance and tracking mortgages realize the Fed is coming around on its pledge to raise basis points interest rates intermittently. The first one of 2017 (second in three months) just arrived. And although the increase is moderate to minimal, the expected cumulative increase over time will certainly impact mortgages. Check out details in these links from HousingWire and CalculatedRisk. There is a parallel rise in the CPI. And the bottom line at this point:  the economy is solid, and if you are looking for a mortgage, the rates are still quite reasonable.

Speaking of rates, and continuing an earlier reported trend, home prices in the DC area reached a decade-long high in February. This is both good news and bad, ie, good and good. If you are listing, your home values are generally strong, especially if you have kept your property in excellent condition. If you are buying, it does not mean the market has peaked, but it does reflect both the tight inventory in the close-in parts of Greater Washington and the strength of the market to a new homeowner.

RIDES. Are you a Bikeshare rider? You’ll be interested to know, as just released by the National Association of City Transportation Officials, through CurbedDC, that Bikeshare ridership has expanded by 825% since 2010. This reflects the creative capacity of the region to provide alternate ways of getting around and that the program is working. 825% is awesome!

Georgetown has hired a designer to restore a 1-mile stretch of the C&O Canal. For details, check this link.

ROOFS. April is Architecture Month in DC. There are a ton of relevant and exciting events and programs slated for next month provided through the AIA that will highlight the trends and award-winning architecture throughout the City.

Finally, what’s MovinInDC without a quick review! The Faulkner Team (Diane, Lynn and I) were thrilled to attend the Environmental Film Festival at the Carnegie Institution last night in the Logan Circle area. Great film called Sea of Hope which you can find on the National Geographic Chanel. Prior to the film, as always, happy hour — at Logan Tavern, great food, nice service, awesome drafts! Lynn Diane Steve 2016

“Winter is Coming” but Housing is Heating Up

Game of Thrones is famous for many reasons, not the least of which is the phrase on everyone’s lips, “Winter is Coming” — yet for real estate, the ominous winter is not to be dreaded. Indicators in home construction, lending, buying and yes, even listing, is far from pessimistic. True that traffic in home sales drops off in winter (great for buyers), but also true:  If you are in the DC market, and listing or buying is on your agenda, think of it as “almost-spring”!

The Case-Shiller report is out on the National Price Index, which is up, as expected, on a year-over-year basis (September stats). There are 20 cities in their index….all of them gained. Eye on Housing (a dot-gov publication) interprets the index gain as 10.4%, seasonally adjusted, the fastest growth in three years. And although mortgage rates are on the rise, they are still very market-friendly. In fact, AD&C lending (a strong marker for how the financial sector sees construction) continues to move in a favorable direction.

Locally, construction and inventory in the District is highly competitive. Curbed DC reports that DC home values are “heating up,” and with such low inventory, we expect values to increase over the coming months. And according to Redfin, housing demand leveled off nationally, but in DC, the demand is up significantly. Also — beneficial to realtors and movers — DC ranks nationally as the 4th most transient city in America. This means the market is very dynamic, ie, tight for inventory, competitive on price, and highly active.

stanton-park-ebenezer-coffeehouse-2nd-f-sts-neIf you are a first-time home-buyer, check out GreaterGreaterWashington’s article on buying your first home. Keep in mind that local jurisdictions have some incentives. We are seeing larger down payments and smaller first-time condos and single-family properties, and you’ll see better values in the outer suburbs (if you can tolerate “SafeTrack” on Metro!).

Our recommendation:  The Faulkner Team. Diane, Lynn and I can show you properties in your preferred range and area, and we can give you solid advice on how to prepare your home for listing.

But what if you are neither buying or listing this winter or spring? How should you add value to your home? First, before “winter comes,” you should shore up anything externally on your property that could be damaged by winter storms….dangling tree limbs, loose railings, etc. And consider a remodel of your kitchen or bathrooms, always a great use of your hard-earned money! I loved the article in Wired on thten-penhe Smart Kitchen.

Finally, what’s a MovinInDC blog without a restaurant review!  One of our favorite restaurants years ago was Ten Penh (on 10th & Pennsylvania). It is now reopening in Tysons (7900 Westpark, free valet parking). Lynn and I had a great dinner there this week in advance of the opening. It is outstanding. The wine list is interesting and fairly priced. But above all, the “asian contemporary” (their word, not mine) cuisine is terrific, well-balanced and highly creative.
MovinInDC is a blogpost for people moving in, to and around the DC area. For more information on the news, ideas and trends in this post, please contact Steve Longley, stevelongley.realtor@gmail.com, and check out our website, www.faulknerteam.com. To unsubscribe from this post, please click on the Unsubscribe link below.

MovinIn — Capitol Hill

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MovinIn Capitol Hill

Happy Election Day! Capitol Hill will be changing in dramatic ways after today’s elections throughout the country. It is also undergoing change in its community and residential profile. The Hill has always been a charming and authentic neighborhood. Recent developments are worth noting:

Warehouse conversions bring unique and fun architectural style to condos. DC Urban Turf reports on the latest conversion…looks great, but there will only be two units coming from this conversion. Still cool.  They also report on the the upgraded development at Buchanan Park which will supply townhouses very close to Eastern Market.  For those who frequent the Capitol Hill SE Safeway, get ready to find a new place to shop. Foulger-Pratt will be closing it for two years while they renovate it to be larger and “fresher”.  Finally (for now), you can count on The Hill is Home for interesting look-backs — this week on a lively bowling and bar scene that was an active saloon during the mid-1800s. Good read.

Meanwhile in Bethesda….

Do not miss Kapnos Kouzine at Hampden and Woodmont in Bethesda. Our recent dinner there was outstanding. Lynn and I had the Bronzino for 2, unbelievably good. And in typical tapas style – and these tapas are large — the roasted cauliflower was our top choice. Definitely worth a trip.

The Faulkner Team is a residential real estate team consisting of Diane Faulkner, Lynn and Steve Longley. We are headquartered in Kentlands, in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and our team is licensed throughout the Greater Washington area. We would love to work with you on your next move. Please see our site, www.faulknerteam.com.

What to Make of the Recent Economic Stats

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What to Make of the Recent Economic Stats

Real estate is remarkable in both its opportunism and its resilience. Bounce back (it has), trend up (it does), and both lead and lag, the industry is constantly responding, reacting, and adjusting. That’s why your home – present and future – holds so much value for you. So in that context….what is the meaning of the current economic climate reflected in the recently released national statistics:

The Consumer Price Index rose slightly in September. Appropriately, mortgage rates have risen to above 3.5% in what may become the start of a trend. Rates have remained low for many months, and with the CPI and mortgage rates increasing, we could see a decline in home sales in the coming months. Yet Redfin reports steady growth in home sales in September, a pretty good indicator that rates have not increased to an uncomfortable level. The Fed has been poised for an increase for many months, and while some observers think the delay is politically motivated, it seems a certainty that rates will go up some time during the first quarter of 2017. Look for another increase in mortgage rates in 2017. A good sign for all, however, is Eye on Housing’s report that builder confidence is solid in October.

Realtors can live with these numbers. Sellers can too, especially with the chronically low housing inventory in Greater Washington. Buyers may take a slight hit in their loans, but their increases, if managed correctly by the financial sector, still point to a solid advantage in owning a home.

For First-Time Home Buyers

Last week’s news pointed toward an encouraging opportunity for buying a home. DC Curbed cited a Trulia survey that buying is cheaper than renting (I know a realtor who would agree with that!)….36% cheaper. And both the Wall Street Journal and Eye on Housing wrote that the current economy is demonstrating positive outcomes for first-time home buyers.

If you are contemplating your first purchase, keep in mind that programs exist in your favor. Some offer lower down payments; and there are jurisdictionally-specific opportunities you will want to explore. When you are ready (and now really is a good time), discuss with your lender the options you may have. And Diane, Lynn and I can work with you to find a home that fits your housing and financial goals (www.faulknerteam.com).

Lots Going on in Bethesda

A couple of months ago, Clark Construction baffled some of us who love Bethesda with its opposition to a plan for downtown Bethesda. Now apparently, three recent developments:  1) Clark is now supporting the plan by Brookfield to develop space by the Bethesda Metro; 2) Clark wants to be more involved in manipulating the outcome of this space; 3) the story continues to evolve. Who knows what will happen next, but it will likely mean more density. Which is fine with me, because where Bethesda is involved, more density means more great restaurants! But we may not have a resolution of the Clark-Brookfield “discussion” for a long time.

Meanwhile, check out Bethesda Magazine’s showcase of Solaire.  Nice!

Just for Fun

Can’t miss this good stuff:

MovinInDC is a blogpost for people interested in moving to and within DC and the surrounding neighborhoods. Steve Longley is a realtor with The FaulknerTeam at RE/MAX Metropolitan Realty. Please visit our website for properties and neighborhood reports of interest. As always, we would love to work with you if you are thinking about listing your home or would like to visit properties in the area.

Three DC Neighborhoods Stack Up: Notes on Logan Circle, Capitol Hill and Columbia Heights

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Two-Year Trends in Logan Circle, Capitol Hill and Columbia Heights

Why these three neighborhoods? Because they (among others) are exciting and relevant.  Logan is a rapidly-evolving community that encompasses not only the Circle, but also upper 14th Street, parts of Shaw, and the east side of Dupont. There are wide swings in home prices in Logan, primarily because there is a swath of diverse offerings. Capitol Hill is a traditional neighborhood with long-standing home ownership and retail and great proximity to federal government office buildings, the Mall, and Eastern Market and Barracks Row. Columbia Heights is anchored by the Metro, Target and other strong retail stores and is experiencing very interesting residential real estate growth.

Trends in Median Sold Properties.  (I use MRIS, Redfin and realtor.com). Since October of last year, median sold properties in Logan Circle have been $554,000 (October 2015), $714,000 (March 2016) and $699,000 (July 2016). October ’16 statistics should help define the trend, if we can detect anything new.  On the Hill, median sold properties are declining slightly:  $800,000 to $783,000 to $780,000 (over the same months).  In Columbia Heights, there are more stable increases:  $528,000 to $537,000 to $550,000. Although the increases are slight, they are continually upward. Logan seems to be thcapitol-hill-4e area to watch since home prices went up 28% before they declined only 2% to the July mark.

Trends in Median Sold Per Square Foot.  Starting from October 2014 to July 2016, the Logan Circle community has been surprisingly stable, starting at $640 and ending at $695.  Capitol Hill during the same period was $548 and is now $586.  Columbia Heights started at $450 in October 2014, increased to $487 in October 2015, and landed in July at $546, again, solid growth.

Other News

If you are contemplating a renovation before listing your home, check out the article by Redfin on managing your insurance. Two main factors impacting a review:  the renovations will make your home more expensive to replace; and if you use energy-efficient systems, you may find discounts.

And if you are considering a move to the city, or are downsizing to a Bethesda condo, there is a nice piece on portable moving containers…worth reading prior to loading up at those pricey storage and container shops.

Finally, I have received the most feedback (why??!!) on restaurants I have (mostly) liked. A couple of weeks ago, Lynn and I a couple of friends thoroughly enjoyed Fiola Mare in Georgetown. img_0700 There is a good reason for the renown of this terrific establishment.  First, the service, from the front staff to the sommelier to the knowledgeable waiters was second to none. When great food is matched by great service, it is a truly fabulous experience.   But the food…wow…shaved white truffle (by the gram) on our lobster ravioli, the burrata with beets, and the Halibut were incredible. A memorable evening…hopefully often repeated!

As always, if you are interested in seeing properties in Columbia Heights, Logan Circle or Capitol Hill, or anywhere in the Greater Washington area, please contact The Faulkner Team. We would love to hear from you and help you accomplish your real estate goals.

MovinInDC is a real estate neighborhood blogpost for people interested in keeping up with community growth and culture in DC. Steve Longley is a Realtor with The Faulkner Team of RE/MAX Metropolitan Realty.


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Getting Around (The Way It Is) in DC

With parking at a premium, traffic at an unconscionable high, and with Metro’s “safetracking”….wow, no wonder the new way of getting around in DC is so creative. We want to be in the City, and we want to move about while we are here, but the traditional modes of transportation seem less and less viable. And yet the bet is on living in DC, why, because of the obvious benefits:  great work, growing neighborhoods, fantastic restaurants and bars, world-class museums, parks, plenty of volunteer opportunities. With all that in mind, let’s take a look at the recent media on getting around in the City:

Washington, DC is a fantastic city for bikeriding. Noted in prior blogs, DC has dedicated bike lanes and new bike paths that make it easy to get around. To top it off, DC was just named the 9th best biking city in the U.S.

Want to give Uber some competition? If you are in Wards 4, 7 or 8, you will notice a new effort by taxis to provide fixed route service. That will make it easier to travel within those parts of the City. And if you’re walking, GreaterGreaterWashington has put together a nice map that shows great value in transportation and affordable housing.

You may know that Park Day was highly successful. We are now seeing parks show up in all kinds of interesting places. And DC Curbed has a good article on mini parks around the City.

Looking for a place to live? We are getting a good look at what’s happening around Walter Reed on Georgia Avenue, a foretaste of good things to come in this newly imagined part of DC. As always, if you are actively searching or need a review of your home for listing, contact The Faulkner Team. Our goal is to help you reach your real estate goals.

brunch-at-due-southWhen it comes to getting around in DC, the dogs may have it better than we do. This past weekend, Lynn and I had a good brunch at Due South, the deep southern outpost at the Navy yard (next to one of our favorite restaurants, Osteria Morini).  Due South cooks in the old style, but don’t get fooled by the spic…their buffalo-style chicken and Alabama Sauce are memorable. Brunch was good, the day was perfect, and after, webarktoberfest-2 stopped by Barktoberfest…fabulous day in the City.

Steve Longley, The Faulkner Team and www.MovinInDC.com

 

 

Your Home’s Quality of Life

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YES! Your home has a quality of life! In the DC market, with inventory low and multiple contracts placed on most listings, your home has good reason to be competitive in every way. Two specific points:

Solar panels.  We are noticing increased use of solar energy in new and old homes. As climate change continues to influence our choice of energy sources, this is one that could pay off in a significant way. Check out Curbed’s report on Elon Musk’s solar venture. 

Also in Curbed is an excellent summary of Coldwell Banker’s survey on smart home technology. A strong 44% of people who want a move-in-ready home expect the home to be outfitted with smart tech.

Who wouldn’t want smart technology in the home:  With the highest percentage in history (recent history, I assume) of Millenials living at home, and with the first winery in DC scheduled to open next year, homeowners in Greater Washington have good rationale to be out of the house and will want to tap that smart tech in many ways.

See this article also on Steve’s blogpost, MovinInDC, featuring residential real estate, neighborhood development and new interests in and around the DC area.

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One more note on happenings in the District, if you’ve been following improvements in the Navy Yard, take a look at Nena Perry-Brown’s article in UrbanTurf on the pre-construction of the long-in-the-works 11th Street Bridge Park…may start pre-construction this month.

DC continues to live up to its reputation as a great place to live and work. If you would like to discuss listing your home, or if you are interested in moving into the City, contact us!

Logan Circle/Estadio — Great Evening

Logan Circle

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The Faulkner Team took the corner table at Estadio in Logan Circle. This is a great restaurant in a fabulous neghborhood!!  Estadio is a high-end tapas restaurant and bar on 14th Street just north of Logan Circle. It has earned its established reputation as one of the best restaurants in the City, and I can attest that it continues to excel and to add great value to the Logan Circle community.

Here’s a quick peek at a few of the superb plates —-

We tend toward the Pescados and Mariscos at Estadio, absolutely terrific fish and shellfish. Among the many items we tried, we loved the Soft Shell Crab, and the Bacalao (a raw cod soaked in olive oil, avocado, oranges and jalapeno).

Estadio's Bacalao

Estadio's Soft Shell CrabWe love creative cooking, so in addition to the fish tapas, we also tried Spice Grilled Chicken with Cabbage Slaw and Salsa Loca; Roasted Sweet Corn Alioli; and then back to seafood with Seared Scallops with Cauliflower, Steamed Mussels, and Seared Alaskan Halibut with Fideo (a short noodle), Cherry Tomatoes and Marcona Pesto.  Awesome!

 

Estadio has a good bartender!

Everything tastes better with these inventive drinks, and since I was driving, I could only sip on half of one of these.

The celebration was my wife’s birthday, hosted by our good friend and team leader, Diane Faulkner. Diane leads our real estate work (www.faulknerteam.com), and Lynn and I spend a LOT of time in DC neighborhoods such as Logan Circle. We agreed next time we end up at Estadio, we are going to sit at the chef’s bar and watch the cooking!

STEVELONGLEY.REALTOR@GMAIL.COM

 

5 Tips for Staging Your Home Both Inside and Out

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Thoughtful home staging is more than just tidying up and cleaning every room. It could mean a quick sale and higher selling price if done right. Here are five ways you can leave a positive impression on potential buyers.

Clear the Clutter – Remove clutter from around your home. It’s easy to overlook things you see every day, so try to approach all spaces with fresh eyes. Consider having a friend come over to help point out unnecessary items.

Clean Out Closets and Cabinets – Make space in kitchen and bathroom cupboards, closets and other storage areas. Pre-pack items you don’t often use, and store or donate them. Cabinets and closets that are full will give potential buyers the impression that your home doesn’t have enough storage space.

Create a Flow – Potential homebuyers should be able to move through your house easily. Remove furniture, plants or decorative items that block the natural flow of traffic which will make your home appear larger and give a more open feel.

Remove Personal Items – Family pictures, children’s artwork and other personal items should be removed or significantly reduced. Personal belongings, displayed collections, throw blankets etc. can also make it hard for potential buyers to imagine themselves living in the house.

Curb Appeal – Strong first impressions are key! Paint or clean the front door and replace the hardware if it looks worn. Replace the house numbers and exterior light fixtures if necessary. Keep the lawn mowed, add fresh mulch and trim the plants and bushes.

Residential listing Trends in Chevy Chase, Maryland

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How are home values trending in Chevy Chase? Compared to neighboring communities, is Chevy Chase holding its own? We know the Town of Chevy Chase is exceptional, with stately homes, quiet streets, great schools and proximity to everything in Bethesda and the District. According to realtor.com, listing trends in Chevy Chase have shown wider swings year-over- year than have Bethesda and Potomac.

Deeper Look
In April 2016 over April 2015, according to realtor.com, listings in Bethesda were down 2.5%, in Potomac, down 3%, but Chevy Chase (MD), up 5% — – a swing of 8%. In July of ’15 over July ’14, Bethesda was up 11%, Potomac up 9%, but Chevy Chase was down 8%. And in terms of market stability, Bethesda and Potomac have been steadier than Chevy Chase.

MRIS Stats
Licensed realtors have the advantage of current and exact market statistics. According to the most recent data, May 2016, the immediate number of interest, in my opinion, is that Chevy Chase had an average “Days on Market” of 8. That means Chevy Chase, which typically has low inventory, is a highly desirable market, and if you are looking for your “dream home,” you need to be ready.

Don’t miss this trend…
Tracking listings from October of last year to April 2016, Bethesda is flat, Potomac is up 1%, and Chevy Chase is up a whopping 19%. While trends are finicky, and newer data is always right around the corner, this is very positive for such a fantastic community. If you are thinking about getting your home ready for sale for this fall, you may have a strong seller’s market ahead!

Bottom line:
Chevy Chase is a dynamic market, based on a strong heritage of quality homes, schools and neighborhoods. If you would like to discuss further, please contact the Faulkner Team:

Diane Faulkner, DIANE(at)FAULKNERTEAM(dotted)COM, 301.318.0334
Lynn Longley, LYNNLONGLEY(at)COMCAST(dotted)NET, 301.466.6519
Steve Longley, STEVELONGLEY(dotted)REALTOR(at)GMAIL(dotted)COM, 301.351.9514