As Summer Comes to an End… 

As a real estate professional I am often frustrated by the dichotomy between today’s headlines and the economic realities of our local market.  Did you know that what is being reported today and pontificated upon is the result of activity and economic decisions that typically occurred 2-4 months ago?  If you want to be on top of things in this constantly shifting market on either the buying or selling side you need a broker who has their pulse on what is happening NOW, and a strong grasp on what is coming down the pike.  Skip the headlines and call me for the facts.

When the economy and local real estate market is this strong, folks are always looking to be the first to predict the inevitable downturn (markets, like life, are cyclical) but there is an awful lot of picking around the edges going on right now.  Let’s look at some typical examples:

“When will prices retreat?”  Barring an unforeseen event, they are stable in Norther Virginia and will remain that way.  Why?  Because our prices have risen only modestly each year after the last recession (with a few notable examples/areas). We don’t have lending practices in place any longer that allow buyers to buy without strong fundamentals in place and allowing unqualified purchasers to over bid on properties at extreme prices.

“The market is overheated”  – this is not true for most areas of Northern Virginia. Yes, there are areas of Arlington and in certain price points where inventory is extremely low that there are multiple offers but overall, we have seen this trend slow in recent months. (Remember, I’m not talking about 2-4 months ago)

“The expansion is now the longest on record so a recession has to be coming” – only the first part of that is true.  For starters the first seven years of the expansion were financed with massive deficit spending, not due to the typical rebound economic factors.  So there are lots of legs left for continued expansion buttressed by strong fundamentals.

“We are in a housing bubble” –  not true for our area. Prices have not skyrocketed in speculative fashion like they have in other areas of the country.  As previously mentioned, our prices have had a nice, healthy,  moderate increase year over year. Our inventory of resale homes is 22% below last year’s level and 33% below inventory levels two years ago. Our unemployment rate is one of the lowest in the country. Our salaries are stable to slightly rising meaning people have good-paying jobs.

Lastly, the interest environment we are in is making housing more affordable – rates are low and are going lower. 30-year fixed rates are in the mid to high 3’s today. There are many refinances that are taking place and there will be more to come so these people will be staying in their houses for a while and will be potential, future landlords which will keep the housing inventory tight moving forward. This too will keep our market out of a crisis in my opinion. Again, barring an unforeseen event, we will be in a strong real estate environment for some time here in Northern Virginia. We actually need more houses to sell as there is pent up demand. If you are considering a  move of any kind, please call me today to learn more.

It’s a good life.

Chris

 

Local Events

Don’t miss out on any of the exciting events in Northern Virginia!

Prince William County Fair 2019

Fairfax County

Fairfax Comic Con 
Dulles Expo Center: 4320 Chantilly Shopping Center, Chantilly;
August 24 & 25, 2019  | 10am to 6pm | Tickets $20 – $100
Fairfax Comic Con is a new annual comic convention brought to you by Tidewater Comicon and the die-hard comic fans of Fairfax County, Virginia. Our first year we plan on a smaller show with a strong focus on comic book creators and a few surprise guests. We want to be a family friendly event that brings fans from far and wide for two fun filled days in Fairfax. Visit their website for more information  >> http://fairfaxcomiccon.com/

Loudoun County

80’s Summer Send-Off Featuring The Reflex
Bluemont Vineyard—18755 Foggy Bottom Road, Bluemont
August 24 | 7-10PM
Dust off your cassette tapes, tease your hair, and break out your best air guitar moves for an evening of rockin’ throwback tunes. While listening to 80’s music by The Reflex, enjoy Bluemont Vineyard wine, sangria, and refreshing wine slushies. $15 pre-sale tickets for guests 21+, includes souvenir wine glass | $10  designated driver/under 21 ticket. Limited tickets at the door for $20. This event is rain or shine.


Prince William County

Prince William County Fair
Prince William County Fairgrounds | 10624 Dumfries Road, Manassas
August 9-17, times vary |  $12 adults, $6 children/senior
Prince William boasts the largest county fair in the state, expecting upwards of 100,000 attendees. Join the 67th annual celebration originally created to promote agriculture in the region.

Haymarket Music Fest
Haymarket Town Hall – 15000 Washington Street, Haymarket
August 24 | 2-8PM
Bring a blanket or lawn chair and enjoy a day of Music, Food, and Crafts. Proceeds to Benefit the DC/VA/MD Chapter of the ALS Association. More information to come, check the Town of Haymarket website www.townofhaymarket.org.

Arlington County

Arlington County Fair
3501 Second St. S., Arlington;  August 14-18 | times vary
Once again, Thomas Jefferson Community Center will be transformed into one of the largest free events on the East Coast featuring farm exhibits, midway rides, magic and more. Continue the 40-year-old tradition of celebrating Arlington County. Free to attend.

 

Partner Spotlight

Mike Eastman 

Sandy Spring Bank-Fair Lakes Mortgage Office

My career began in 1978 when I obtained a real estate license, later obtaining my real estate brokers license. While selling real estate and managing real estate agents, I found my love of the transaction was really in the financial piece. As such, in 1995, I moved my career to the mortgage banking side of the business.

The passion I have for a smooth and successful transaction is unmatched. When you come to me, you will be guided through what can be a stressful and confusing transaction, you will leave with no question unanswered and you will have the desire to continue our relationship.

At Sandy Spring Bank, we have all programs to assist buyers of homes and those seeking to refinance their property. From loans to acquire a lot to build on, a onetime close construction/rehab loan, and all the way through every other means of financing residential properties, we have the programs. There is no reason to look any further.

We can help you, your family or your co-workers with a loan in 13 different states. Not every call I take will make money for my company, but every call will be answered both professionally and honestly

Contact me at:
571-327-2145 work | SandySpringBank.com
703-906 4716 cell   meastman@washingtonfirstmortgage.com

 

Recipe Corner

S’mores Cupcakes

www.delish.com

Prep time 15 minutes / cook time 20 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

· 3 c. graham cracker crumbs (about 20 full-sheet graham crackers)

· 12 tbsp. melted butter

· 1/2 c. granulated sugar

· Pinch kosher salt

· Devil’s food cake mix, plus ingredients called for on box

· 1 c. chocolate chips

· 1/2 c. heavy cream

· 24 marshmallows

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 350° and line two 12- cup muffin tins with cupcake liners.

2. Make cupcakes: Combine graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, sugar, and salt in small bowl. Press about 1 tablespoon of mixture into each cupcake liner to make mini crusts.

3.  Prepare cake mix according to box instructions, divide batter between liners and bake for a couple minutes less than the box instructs, about 16 minutes.

4.  While the cupcakes are baking, make a quick ganache: Place chocolate chips in a medium, heatproof bowl, set aside. Heat heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium heat, bring to a gentle simmer. Pour hot cream over chocolate chips, whisking constantly until smooth.

5.  When cupcakes are almost done baking, pull them out, spoon about a tablespoon of ganache onto each cupcake, top each with a marshmallow. (If it feels unwieldy, place the marshmallow on its side.) Return trays to oven and bake—watching closely! – until marshmallows are golden and very soft, 4-5 minutes.

 

4 Ways to Test Drive a House Before You Buy it

You’d never buy a new car without taking it for a spin around the block, yet there’s no way to “try on” the much bigger financial investment of a home you’re considering buying. While you can’t exactly move in for a month on a trial basis, there are a few ways to test out whether or not a house is the right one for you. Try the following ideas:

  1. Test the commute time. Do you have concerns about what it will really be like getting from your potential new home to your job or to your child’s school? Don’t take Google’s word for it. Take the trip at the exact hour you’d need to in the morning and again at the end of the day to get a feel for traffic or public
    transportation schedules.
  2. Hang out in the ’hood. Act as if you already lived in the neighborhood. Shop at the corner store and try out a couple of the local restaurants. Take your kids or dog to the park and chat with members of the community. Go online and check out the events and activities that are available on a regular basis. This will help give you an idea of the neighborhood vibe and the sense of community you can expect.
  3. Visit the schools. If you have children, plan to tour the school they will attend and have them shadow a student for part of the day. Talk to the principal as well as the coach or teacher who heads up your child’s favorite activity. Make sure everything and everyone feels like a good fit.
  4. Check out the house at different times of the day. Be sure  to drop by your prospective home on different days of the week, at different times of day. This will give you a more well-rounded sense of what the street, traffic patterns and neighbors are like. Don’t hesitate to talk with people you pass on the street. Chances are, they’ll be more than willing to share information about the area, and they may even have insights into the home itself.

Taking these steps will help give you a better idea of whether or not the home is a good fit for you and your family.

Are you interested in finding a new home to test drive? Let me know, I’d be honored to help! Please feel free to reach out to me so we can talk about your specific situation.

 

New Listing!

10355 Sager Ave, Fairfax, VA 22030

2 bedroom/2.5 bath condo right in the heart of Fairfax City!