The Washington Times' Smilie Face Housing Bubble News
The head shaking will now commence. The "good" news in DC is that housing sales are ONLY down by 20%?
Heavy sigh and a smile face.
The (housing) market continues to drag more in Virginia than in Maryland. Sales in Maryland were off 26 percent last month, with the largest drop in Montgomery County. Sales there were down by 34 percent.
However, sales were down 43 percent in Virginia last month. The largest drop there was in 49 percent in Prince William County. The best a Virginia county could muster last month was a decline of 31 percent in Spotsylvania.
By comparison, the District is doing quite well, with sales only down 20 percent in June.
FYI: There are almost 600 new (or desperate, reposted) Washington DC Craigslist house/condo listings in the past 24 hours.
More "Good News" from The Washington Times...
In June, another 19,300 homes received for sale signs in their front yards. With less than 9,000 homes selling last month, you can see what sellers are up against.
However, the pace of new listings is slowing. During the first quarter of 2006, the number of homes listed in our area was 19,000 higher than in the first quarter of 2005.
In the second quarter of 2006, the number of home listings was up by just 9,000. So, we still have too many homes coming on the market -- from a seller's perspective -- but at least the number isn't growing quite as fast.
Is everybody happy?
No matter how you try to spin it, that's a whole hell of a lot of unsold properties.
How many stretched homeowners will lose their houses because Mother Nature made an unexpected house call? Totally ignored in local news coverage is how many basements flooded during the recent record storms, thereby canceling homeowners' dreams of raising English Garden basement apartment rents in order to cover their rising mortgage costs. No one I know (looking at apartments) will even consider renting a basement apartment now. Mold, mildew, respiratory problems and property damage trump cheap every time.
And here's what ABSOLUTELY NO ONE WANTS TO TALK ABOUT...
What will happen to DC metro area house/condo owners if either the US House or the US Senate changes parties this November? The Bush administration increased the living allowance significantly for staffers in 2001, thereby making it possible to buy instead of rent, and BushCo also increased the number of administration hires significantly. (So much for the small government talking point.)
Translation: Thousands more houses/condos could flood (no pun intended) the already saturated (OK, that was snarky) market.
How much higher will inventories rise and prices plummet if Dems take control of either the house or the senate this November? Remember, in addition to normal staff numbers, each committee chair and member has a separate staff, too.
That's a lot more possible For Sale signs no one is talking about.
The people I trust say:
Don't buy until January or February, 2007 unless you absolutely have to;
Lock in a fixed-rate mortgage (you can always refi to a lower rate in the future), and only buy what you can afford-- Stay away from those "$300 per month for each $100K borrowed!" promises;
Try to buy a house or condo with a solid pre-2001 sales history in a neighborhood that is extremely stable or has improved drastically-- with bona fide stats to back up the claim, or buy a house with historical (or other selling point, such as location) importance, which will keep it marketable in the event you have to sell it;
Insist on a thorough inspection by a reputable company;
And don't be seduced by what looks, on the surface, to be a deal you just can't pass up.
By the way, the house next door is still for sale.
Best bar bet in the world: Delilah didn't do it.
Judges 16:19-- And she made him (Samson) sleep upon her knees; and she called for a man, and she caused him to shave off the seven locks of his head.