Winter 2018 Marketwatch: More of the same?

2017 ended with a bit of a whimper, as contract activity on our region’s real estate market cooled off along with the weather. But it was an overall solid year, with Washington, D.C. continuing to outpace its suburban neighbors. What’s ahead for 2018?

We’ll put our forecast into three categories: Steady State, the Wildcard and the Tantalizing Possibility.

Steady State – With inventory in short supply, especially inside the Beltway, we expect 2018 to look a lot like 2017. There will continue to be considerable upward price pressure close-in, but we do not expect the DC market to maintain the 8%-9% annual appreciation rates of the past three years. We think it will be more like 5%, and probably less in the upper brackets. The suburbs will still be strong, particularly as more frustrated buyers look outside the inner city because of prices and inventory. Even with those factors, we’d be very surprised if the appreciation rate exceeds 3% in those areas. And regarding mortgage interest rates, it is almost inevitable that they will (finally) rise as the overall economy improves, ending 2018 around 4.75%. That rate shouldn’t discourage homebuyers.

The Wildcard – With the ink drying on the sweeping tax reform legislation, residential real estate will be impacted in at least three ways. First, with the cap on deductibility of state and local taxes and the diminished value of the mortgage interest deduction for expensive homes, it is likely that upper-end home prices won’t increase as much as they would have had reform not passed. Second, the overall tax decreases for most wage earners will put money in their pockets, particularly for millennials who may be thinking about buying their first home. This should help with student loan debt, saving for a down payment, and/or increased spending – and that’s good for real estate. And third, if the economy grows as it did after the Kennedy- and Reagan-era tax cuts, that means more jobs, more income and a much healthier economic climate. Overall, we think the tax reform legislation in 2018 will be a modest, net positive for the region’s real estate market.

The Tantalizing Possibility – Three communities in our region made the short list of 20 semi-finalists for Amazon’s HQ2, with a promise that their final decision will come in 2018. Should one of those three areas be anointed to host 50,000 new employees, acres of office space, and the traffic that will come along with it over the next several years, the whole region wins. Amazon won’t be turning dirt for their second headquarters anytime soon, but the real estate boom for some city on that list of 20 could begin later this year.

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Real estate agents helping with rental clients

A common misconception I find is that many people do not realize that real estate agents can help clients not only when they’re looking to buy or sell a property, but when they’re looking to rent, as well. Not all agents will work with renters, but I do!

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When’s the best time to buy or sell a home?

MCE for sale signWhen consumers start thinking of buying or selling a home, the first that pops into most everyone’s mind is spring market — the time of year when the most inventory comes on and when competition is at its fiercest. However, with 90 percent of homebuyers today starting their search online, along with the masses of information available online before ever engaging with a real estate agent or mortgage lender, the traditional guiding principles seem to be something of the past.

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2017 Real Estate Predictions for Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C.

offer_for_houseA new administration, rising interest rates and a housing market that continues to be competitive will make 2017 an interesting year for real estate. Here’s what I’ve seen on the ground this year in Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. and predict for the year ahead.

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Achieving the American Dream: What I actually do as a real estate agent

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Lauren Budik

How did you get started in the real estate industry?

My background is in journalism, and I used to work as a newspaper reporter. As my husband and I were planning to move back to the States after serving two years overseas with the State Dept., a colleague suggested to me that I’d be great in real estate. I looked into what it would take to get a license. I ended up taking the licensure classes and sat for the national, Virginia and D.C. exams when we got back. And that was almost two years ago!

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Fall Foliage in the DMV

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Image credit McEnearney Associates

No matter how long you live in the Washington D.C., Maryland or Virginia area, you can never get tired of gorgeous fall foliage. The reds and yellows and oranges are so intense, and driving through the countryside and mountains gives you the pleasure of watching the most stunning season change ever.

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November Events

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Image credit McEnearney Associates

The next two months will be jam-packed with festivals, holidays, and parades. Here are some fun things to do in DC, Maryland and Northern Virginia leading up to the holiday season.

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