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by PoP Sponsor December 13, 2018 at 12:15 pm 0

This column is written by Metro DC Houses, a local real estate team serving DC, MD, VA made up of Colin Johnson, the immediate past President for the D.C. Association of Realtors and Christopher Suranna, the current President for the D.C. Association of Realtors.

Hey! Did you hear Amazon HQ2 is moving one of its headquarters to Northern Virginia? Cool.

More importantly, did you check out the 14-page Comprehensive Housing Market Analysis published by HUD this summer and recently publicly released a few weeks ago?

No? Why not? Don’t worry, it’s interesting.

Short on time? No problem. Jobs are up. Visitors are down. Population is up. Sales Prices are up. Rentals are flat. Read the rest of article or comment below!

Economic Conditions:

The rate of job growth slowed relative to increases in recent years. However, mostly because of the job losses in the federal government, it is currently at a 0.8% increase Year over Year (YoY). The biggest winner: Information sector, biggest loser: Government.

Still the largest payroll jobs come from Government followed not too far behind by Professional and Business Services. However, if you look at the gains since 2000, Leisure and Hospitality shows the greatest growth. (more…)

by PoP Sponsor November 8, 2018 at 12:15 pm 0

This column is written by Metro DC Houses, a local real estate team serving DC, MD, VA made up of Colin Johnson, the immediate past President for the D.C. Association of Realtors and Christopher Suranna, the current President for the D.C. Association of Realtors.

This last week we had the privilege to talk with Jeff Speck, notable city planner and lecturer, in an intimate group of real estate professionals throughout the country at the National Association of Realtors (NAR) conference in Boston.

If you are not familiar with Mr. Speck check out his TED talk on walkable cities — it has over 1 million views and is pretty great.

The NAR published data from a survey on community preferences that shows 47% of the US population would prefer to live in a city or a suburban neighborhood with a mix of houses, shops and business while only 12% would prefer to live in a suburban neighborhood with only houses.

Subsequently, in a white paper published in 2009, CEO’s for Cities found that properties in more walkable neighborhoods market for $2,000 more per square foot than non-walkable neighborhoods. All of this seems very obvious or is it?

There is only one company currently publishing walkable factors, WalkScore, a company now owned by Redfin, which as we know is a real estate brokerage; which makes its money on real estate commissions.

WalkScore, currently operates their algorithm by issuing a score for a location or address as a crow flies meaning it creates concentric circles to produce a number based on factors such as transit, entertainment and groceries.

Most cities are designed with corridors and commuting as the significant influence on zoning and thus the further one’s address is from streets like H Street, U Street or 14th Street for example, in theory the lower your walk score.

However, since 2006 we have many disrupters like Airbnb, bikeshare, scooters and carshares all beginning to shift the consumer’s concept of not only micro-commuting, but also property right and use. To get a better idea, check out DC’s master plan, updated in 2006 and amended in 2011.

Another kink to ponder: Walkable as a term could be considered a Fair Housing Violation.

What?!!!! That’s right and not necessarily because of obvious concerns like individuals with disabilities, but because classifying neighborhoods as anything other than a fact could be considered blockbusting or steering or redlining. Why does this matter?

Well, if sellers can’t market the very thing that makes their property unique compared to their neighbors has the consumer really taken it into consideration?

(more…)

by PoP Sponsor October 11, 2018 at 12:15 pm 0

This column is written by Metro DC Houses, a local real estate team serving DC, MD, VA made up of Colin Johnson, the immediate past President for the D.C. Association of Realtors and Christopher Suranna, the current President for the D.C. Association of Realtors.

Should you sell a 6-bedroom, 2-half bath, Renovated House in 2018?  The real estate data says Yes!

This month we ended up with some interesting conclusions after taking a look at some of the relationships between sales price, bedroom counts, square footage and condition for all of the 3,442 sales of houses (fee-simple) that have occurred in the city in 2018.

While the overall direct relationship between average close price and higher bedroom counts seems normal, one thing that jumped out at us was the slight dip in sales price when going from a one-bedroom single-family home to a two-bedroom.

This could be due to the fact that lots that are unimproved are still input into the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) as single-family homes and the MLS requires these listings to have at least one bedroom for them to count as houses.

What is the Ideal Number of Bedrooms for Value? (more…)

by PoP Sponsor September 13, 2018 at 12:15 pm 0

This column is written by Metro DC Houses, a local real estate team serving DC, MD, VA made up of Colin Johnson, the immediate past President for the D.C. Association of Realtors and Christopher Suranna, the current President for the D.C. Association of Realtors.

One of my favorite books growing up is Shel Silverstein’s book “Where the Sidewalk Ends” and it’s iconic front cover of kids looking under this thin ledge only to find that much of the ground is already gone.

I have been noticing for years the softening of the rental market especially in Class B type units B (typically slightly lower quality and less amenities). This was especially evident when I had a client tell me that government-reimbursed programs were compensating him more than what he could get on the open market. This piece in Bloomberg highlights how Seattle, San Francisco, New York, Portland and D.C. market rent rates have cooled.

Rental markets are hard to track in my opinion because landlords don’t routinely market through consistent mediums. Not all rentals are on Zillow, Craigslist nor the regional Multiple Listing Service (MLS); where MLS tends to have more than 90% of sales.

Rental markets are driven by supply and affordability. If consumers have more to choose from, they will feel empowered to negotiate or look for less expensive units. If the “rent is too damn high,” people will not be able to qualify or simply cannot afford to pay the rent.

We looked at a few neighborhoods to see if the rental market is down and since when. We exported every transaction that was recorded in the MLS since January 1, 2009 for one and two bedroom rentals in zip codes that roughly correspond to neighborhoods like Capitol Hill, the Connecticut Avenue corridor, Petworth, Anacostia and Dupont Circle.

Rental prices for 1-bedroom and 2-bedroom units show a gradual increase from 2009 through 2017 in all of the zip codes that we looked at. So far, in 2018 the increase in rent prices across the city has experienced a slowdown for 1-bedroom units, while 2-bedroom rents are still rising.

(more…)

by PoP Sponsor August 9, 2018 at 12:15 pm 0


This column is written by Metro DC Houses, a local real estate team serving DC, MD, VA made up of Colin Johnson, the immediate past President for the D.C. Association of Realtors and Christopher Suranna, the current President for the D.C. Association of Realtors.

The question we wanted to answer this month is, “do condo fees negatively impact appreciation if over an average number?”

We chose the Georgetown zip code 20007 and found over the last 10 years the average condo fee for a one-bedroom unit is $514 dollars per month.

Condo fees vary based on services provide in building, so our assumption is condos with higher fees have more services and units with lower fees have fewer services. We didn’t consider anything except bedroom-count and on average we saw fewer units sold with higher condo fees (29 units) and more with lower condo fees (52 units).

There is another thing to consider in this evaluation, borrowing power because condo fees can limit the amount a purchaser can borrow if they are only approved for a certain amount per month.

As an example, if someone is qualified to afford $2000 a month and a condo fee is $500 that purchaser can now only afford debt equal to $1500 per month and obviously interest rates vary with that amount.

Based on our findings higher condo fees do negatively impact appreciation for units that have fees above average over the last ten years. For units that have condo fees below average the properties did appreciated slightly higher. One should also note that units with higher condo fees typically sell at a higher sales price than units with lower condo fees.

In our experience, condo fees do not directly relate one-to-one on value, but it can be concluded that enough consumers did not take this into consideration when conducting comps.

It is likely in some cases a consumer compared a lower condo fee unit with one of a higher condo fee, which typically sells for a higher price and in enough of those situations probably over-valued those properties over the years.

by PoP Sponsor July 12, 2018 at 12:15 pm 0


This column is written by Metro DC Houses, a local real estate team serving DC, MD, VA made up of Colin Johnson, the immediate past President for the D.C. Association of Realtors and Christopher Suranna, the current President for the D.C. Association of Realtors.

As we prepare to say goodbye to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, we can’t seem to get our mind off of the beautiful game! With the final looming on Sunday, the energy felt by the fans of each team is electric and frankly exciting just to be around.

Apart from fútbol, we have a passion for real estate and the architecture of our city, so we thought we’d have our own match-up between the French and the Croatian Embassy through the lens of DC real estate.

Embassy of France in the United States

Location: 4101 Reservoir Road, NW — Washington, D.C. 20007

The current site of the French Embassy is different from other embassies in terms of its location (off Embassy Row), its massive size and fairly recent history. The complex was designed by French Architect, André Remondet and built in the early 80’s by the local George Hyman Construction Company.

It consists of four separate buildings that host its chancery, general embassy services, the consulate general and its wonderful space for cultural happenings hosted by the French embassy, La Maison Française.

Made up of a ballroom, auditorium and exhibition hall, La Maison Française hosts a variety of events for the general public such as concerts, cinema, dancing and art exhibitions. If they continue in the recent trend as the French team has been advancing in the World Cup, they might even have a World Cup Final Watch Party this coming Sunday! Keep an eye on their Facebook page as they might post the event soon and you need to register to guarantee a free ticket in. (more…)

by PoP Sponsor June 14, 2018 at 12:15 pm 0


This column is written by Metro DC Houses, a local real estate team serving DC, MD, VA made up of Colin Johnson, the immediate past President for the D.C. Association of Realtors and Christopher Suranna, the current President for the D.C. Association of Realtors.

If you have been in DC for a few years we are sure you have read about some neighborhoods successfully creating historic districts (Emerald Street) or unsuccessfully (Kingman Park).

According to DC there are more than 50 historic districts, monuments and sites around the city.

Full disclosure, Colin lives in a historic district, but Chris does not; but we were interested in dipping our toe in this topic.

There have been several articles and studies citing the costs associated with categorizing properties within one of these districts. One study states that it raises renovation expenses by 33 cents for every dollar spent.

But what we were interested in reviewing was value. Does it pay to live in a historic district?

There is a particular study out of California, which cites a 16% increase in value; but there is a significant difference in many of our historic districts as compared to this study’s subjects.

Their laws appear to only impact individual properties and those properties may only maintain their historic status for 10 years before some type of action needs to be taken by the current owner.

There are some properties like this in DC, but most of the historic district’s overlay on a stretch of properties and in some cases owners may not even realize their property resides in one of these areas until it comes time to renovate.

We decided to look at real estate sales over the past 10 years in 2 historic districts; Foxhall Village Historic District and Takoma Park, located in zip codes 20007 and 20012, respectively. We only considered attached and detached, fee simple properties, so no condos or coops.

(more…)

by PoP Sponsor May 10, 2018 at 12:15 pm 0


This column is written by Metro DC Houses, a local real estate team serving DC, MD, VA made up of Colin Johnson, the immediate past President for the D.C. Association of Realtors and Christopher Suranna, the current President for the D.C. Association of Realtors.

We saw a blog post at Streetsblog NYC that said that Central Park in NYC will go car free starting on June 27 and it raised a question with us; what is the value of a parking space in DC?

We found that since 2003 the value of a parking space has only gone up .79%. That’s right folks! In one of the hottest markets in the country, appreciating double digits in some areas, the price of a parking space has only gone up by .79%.

We took a look at sales of 1-bedroom condos in three zip codes since 2003 and compared prices of those with parking versus those without parking since parking spaces are often incorporated with the sale.

We chose the Dupont area (20036), Logan Circle area (20005) and Capitol Hill (20003). The locations vary in density and obviously there is a difference in changes to the neighborhoods in that time period, but the findings were interesting.

(more…)

by PoP Sponsor April 12, 2018 at 12:15 pm 0

This column is written by Metro DC Houses, a local real estate team serving DC, MD, VA made up of Colin Johnson, the immediate past President for the D.C. Association of Realtors and Christopher Suranna, the current President for the D.C. Association of Realtors.

For over 10 years, the Washington Nationals have called Navy Yard (or Capitol Riverfront) their home.

During this time, the neighborhood has seen a resurgence of housing and commerce replacing what was at times considered DC’s industrial backyard.

While Nationals Stadium has been a key cornerstone of this success, such a rapid change could not have happened without a concerted effort by city officials, developers and local residents.

The Capitol Riverfront BID sees the area becoming the, “next-generation neighborhood for business, recreation and city life.” So much so, that Mayor Bowser has even pitched it to Amazon for their future HQ2 site.

With so much development, we thought we’d take a look at the numbers from the perspective of a future homeowner, renter or investor that has been wondering if the Navy Yard is right for them. (more…)

by PoP Sponsor March 8, 2018 at 12:15 pm 0


This column is written by Metro DC Houses, a local real estate team serving DC, MD, VA made up of Colin Johnson, the immediate past President for the D.C. Association of Realtors and Christopher Suranna, the current President for the D.C. Association of Realtors.

TOPA.

It is not a four-letter word but rather four letters that historically represent challenges that faced landlord’s and tenant’s interest throughout the city.

How did we get where we are today with TOPA?

There are 3 categories of TOPA: single family, 2-4 units, and 5+ units. For the purposes of our discussion we will only be discussing single family properties.

The law as it is written requires homeowners with tenants to provide them with first right a refusal and notice of a sale on their home. As it stands this notice and process period could last for 180 days or more and repeats itself if an interested party backs out on single family homes.

There is also a piece of the law that allows for an occupant to assign their rights to another person or entity. This part is very important to allow occupants the opportunity to find a possible non-profit or another owner whom may wish to buy property and then rent back to that occupant.

Because of these 2 major components in the legislation, an industry has evolved that aids tenants in leveraging those rights to the highest bidder or simply stalls the sale. This particular leverage then puts owner in a situation where in order to sell they must pay a tenant or face the potential ongoing loop of tenant rights and maybe never being able to sell. (more…)

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