Sunday, April 23, 2006

1413 N MONROE ST Arlington, VA

The single family home (sfh) located at 1413 N Monroe Street , Arlington, VA is available for sale at a reduced price of 595K.

It is a 3br, 2ba home located on 7,405 sq feet of land. "Charming cottage like house at the end of a dead end street-most harming- hardwood floors- sunny house with lots of windows - some new-2 full updated baths-good size rooms-beautiful back yard-owner has a green thumb-newer roof-steam heat and window air cond. Convey-close to two metros-house vacant-show and sell!"

MLS # AR5479365

It has been sitting on the market for 128 days. The house was originally listed on the market 679.9K. Here is the price reduced history from Zip Realty.

Price Reduced: 01/06/06 -- $679,900 to $645,000
Price Reduced: 02/26/06 -- $645,000 to $620,000
Price Reduced: 03/11/06 -- $620,000 to $595,000

The house is located right near the desirable Orange line corridor in Arlington. The location is probably somewhat noisy as it is located about a block from interstate 66. A special thanks to the reader who alerted me of this property.

Will it sell at its reduced price?

79 comments:

  1. This is in an exceptionally desirable area. Maybe it's a real hole on the inside, but it otherwise should move at this price, even as a teardown. If s SFH near Lyon Village within 1/2 mile of the Metro can't sell at this price, the bubble has exploded.

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  2. 3br? I see dormers where the attic used to be. If the roof line inside is less than 7ft then this is a 1Br w/attic conversion. Probably 700 sq ft or about $800/sq ft.

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  3. If it's been sitting on the market for 6 weeks and hasn't sold yet, it will have to come down again. I'm guessing someone will bite in the 560-580K range. Like terminator_x said, whomever buys this place will teardown and start over. Last year around this time, a crummy house sold in downtown Bethesda for 600K and was torn down to build a McMansion. I would think the Arlington house would have to sell measurably less than the Bethesda house.

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  4. Is there any tax & sales records on this property. I tried to look but I'm not familiar with NOVA tax record info.

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  5. lundi's on point. When did buyer buy it, what did he pay & what did he spend to improve it? Any fool can ask anything he wants for anything he wants to sell.
    It takes a foolish buyer to make it a transaction. Maybe buyers are finally realizing that while the Gov't helped put them in the mess they're in, helping them buy homes they can NOT afford, once they sign, they're on their own - the Gov't. will NOT bail them out.
    The bubble's popping because we're finally run out of chumps, you know -the buyers who buy without ever considering how they'll make the payments for the next 10 years.

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  6. may be 250 k ..no more

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  7. I was fired up to buy a condo in Columbia, MD about 6 months ago. When I checked the tax & transfer records and saw that the asking price was double what the owners paid two years earlier I quickly changed my mind. I was personally offended that the sellers were trying to gouge me for so much. Thanks to the bubble blogs I've learned that renting is a better choice in this insane housing market.

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  8. Worth 580K as a tear down?

    Not to me. If someone gave me 580K, I certainly wouldn't buy a 7000 sq. ft. tract of land, tear down an old small house, and put another one there.

    I don't know the neighborhood, so I can't put a price on it, but there better be a big oil deposit underneath to justify that kind of price.

    A Redskins fan

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  9. I think it is fair to conclude that there is a large percentage of wealthy people in DC. Think of the grown segment of people ABOVE the median income. I went to a "little party" in Foxhall last month and was astonished at the wealth of both the homeowners and the neighborhood in general. I know it is hard to fathom if you don't come from that kind of money (and I certainly don't come from there), but that segment of the population is GROWING.

    There are more millionares now, with real liquid assets of 1M or more, than there ever have been before.

    Location becomes more and more desirable over time. Yes, people will buy little places and tear them down to build mcMansions in their place. What seems like a boatload of money for you may really be a portion of someone else's checking account. Really, there are many people in DC who make $1 Million + per year. High-powered tax attorneys come to mind.

    Also, Is it worthwhile to look at European cities as examples of what older cities become as population increases and traffic congestion becomes unmanageable. (not to mention skyhigh fuel costs) Look at any major western european city, and you'll find that the city center is the desireable place to be, not the suburbs. Will DC move in that direction?

    Is everyone here aware that Georgetown was an undesireable slum less than 100 years ago? Look into it, it is true. Things change.

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  10. I think it is fair to conclude that there is a large percentage of wealthy people in DC. Think of the grown segment of people ABOVE the median income. I went to a "little party" in Foxhall last month and was astonished at the wealth of both the homeowners and the neighborhood in general.

    Why do you think it's fair to conclude that? Because you went to a party and were awed by the apparent wealth of the attendees?

    Your argument that most of DC must be rich because there are $1m attorneys living there is a fallacy. Why then did prices suddenly double over the past few years? Is it more likely that: a) tens of thousands of "high-powered attorneys" suddenly swarmed into DC; or b) a city of mostly middle-class civil servants has been taking advantage of low adjustible rate mortgages and extremely lax lending standards to live beyond their means?

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  11. bryce-

    Instead of anecdotes, we have data. Go look at the census website. No matter what people say about having met a certain number of rich people, the median income in DC and its surrounding suburbs does not- in my opinion- reflect some gigantic increase in wealth that should have driven prices up as much as they have gone up.

    I sincerely hope you are right that DC is getting better. If you are wrong... prices should go lower. And if you are right... I think (just based on how high prices are now) that prices will just stay more or less the same. So there doesn't seem to be any reason to rush in when the upside is probably very low.

    A Redskins fan

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  12. John,

    Since you are here on this website, you cannot afford to live in Georgetown or Foxhall.

    Is that conclusion a fallacy as well? I stand by it.

    Look into:

    1) The demographics of DC. Break down the demographics of those above the median income. How many people are there above the median income? Where do they live? And in what direction is that demographic heading - increasing or declining? (I'll do this for you and post here if you ask me to do so)

    2) Look into the history of various neighborhoods. What were the big draws in Georgetown in the early 1900's? Yes, that's correct: Opium dens and brothels. Look into it. Now the neighborhood is a tourist attraction that has been priced out of your reach for decades, and will remain that way for as long as DC is the capital of the United States.

    Wake up and smell the coffee: DC is alive and growing.

    Where in VA do you live?

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  13. Arguably, California is one of the most expensive states in the country. The median income for a household in the state of California is a smidge over $58K. http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/medincsizeandstate.html

    DC's median income is a smidge over $54K. Sooo.... I guess Jack Nicholson is panicking and selling his house in Malibu to the first bidder who can cough up $250K. Right? Speilberg is probably doing the same.

    (see census.gov to confirm my numbers)

    DC's population is actually declining. Why? because older working-class folks are selling their homes for huge profits to younger childless white-collar couples and empty-nesters who don't want to live in isolation in the suburbs.

    There is a fundamental demographic (race, education and income) shift taking place in DC. It is the same sort of shift that made Georgetown what it is today.

    If you really don't beleive me - ask a 50-something African American blue collar worker and homeowner in DC about what is happening. They'll tell you that a fundamental shift is taking place, and they aren't happy about it. (because they are being displaced.) Right or wrong, it is happening.

    I saw something here or elsewhere about how former crack-houses are going to revert to active crack houses because of the housing bubble. I laughed out loud when I read that!

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  14. When I say older blue collar folks are selling their homes at "huge profits", consider this:

    My next-door neighbor bought his home for $30K in the 1970s. He could sell it for much, much, much more than that today. That is the "huge profit" I am referring to.

    And lets not forget that the city was *giving homes away* in the 1980's to try to fight blight. Ask yourself who was on the receiving end of those homes, and then ask whom might be in the market for those homes today.

    That should help to illustrate why and how a fundamental demographic shift is taking place today.

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  15. where are you getting thr 54k figure for median income? Fairfax, I believe, is around 100K. Can it really be twice D.C.?

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  16. http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/medincsizeandstate.html

    You are looking at one county in the state.

    Virginia's median household income is $61,309

    Higher than California, which is an incredibly wealthy state. Following the logic of many pro-bubble-burst folks, this is all the more reason to think that a home near a metro line in Arlington county is fairly priced around $500K. (as long as the buyer/owner has the funds to live there without over-extending themselves financially)

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  17. Boy, parties "in Foxhall" are great focus groups! (Foxhall is a road, BTW - I know because I grew up in Spring Valley on the other side of AU from it. If you're talking Foxhall Village, that's an assemblage of two family Tudor homes that are usually 2BR/1BA). As one who grew up in DC I am very pleased with the progress taking place. I was also pleased when a new job took me to NY and I made 100% on my home in Chevy Chase (DC side). But there are limits: and 50,000 condos will blow through them in short order. In fact, those limits are already gone, according to the Washington Post....

    Jerkstore

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  18. 1999 average per-capita income for Arlington County: $37,706.

    1999 average per-capital income for
    Fairfax County: $36,888

    http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/
    GCTTable?_bm=y&-geo_id=04000US51&-_box_
    head_nbr=GCT-P14&-ds_name=DEC_2000_SF3_
    U&-format=ST-2

    In 1999, I couldn't afford a nice home in either county. Its been seven years, but I suspect that Fairfax housing values are pretty stable for the foreseeable future, even if they do stagnate for a while; and despite the relatively low average per capita income.

    (average household income in Fairfax is another story, and lends itself to the argument that many, many people are NOT over-extended when it comes to their mortgages)

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  19. Hey, everyone. The Foxhall Road area is wealthy! Look how much I know about the DC market! Guess what else? Now that I live in New York, I've just found out that the 10028 Zip code is also doing rather well!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Jerkstore.

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  20. jerk,

    Where in NY? I attended Pace in lower Manhattan. Arrived when Koch was Mayor, and left for DC as Giuliani was being sworn in.

    Thanks for the history lesson.

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  21. One last thing. After paying the rent on my Manhattan apartment, I still have more than $6,000 disposable income each month. What have I proven by writing this? I don't know, but I feel better about myself!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Jerkstore

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  22. easy to focus in on one part of an argument when the overall argument is solid. then you can pick at it and hope that it comes unravelled.

    have anything intelligent to say?

    wait... YONKERS?! Blech. Are you wearing a polyester leisure suit and gold chains?

    What a jackass you must be.

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  23. jerk,

    Yonkers ain't Manhattan. Get it?

    Now go have a lobster dinner and some tiramisu

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  24. Murray Hill. Which I don't really like, so we're looking elsewhere.

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  25. Sorry, pal. I was as attuned to the "I live in DC" story that people in Herndon used, and I will never find myself employing it there or elsewhere.

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  26. murry hill... tiny upper east side apt? kinda smells like old mold and something your neighbor cooked in 2003?

    Don't really like it because there is zero character and it is populated by inbred white bread folks who work in financial services? I wouldn't like it either.

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  27. so is the citicorp building going to come crashing down unexpectedly? I mean, it is standing there on stilts just waiting for bad guys to come along. Guess that would hurt your home equity for a while.

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  28. Um. *MURRAY* Hill. Below Sutton. Near the UN. Actually have plenty of room; picked the nabe for convenience but just don't like it as a base for weekend ambling.

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  29. bryce-

    Basically, what you seem to be saying is that you don't care what the median household income data says, you think that specific neighborhoods in DC are going to become like Georgetown.

    You might be right. The problem is, there are people like you telling the same story about all kinds of DC neighborhoods, and P.G. County neighborhoods, and Montgomery neighborhoods, and probably all over Virginia as well.

    Everywhere is going to be like Georgetown, or Bethesda, or whatever.

    It isn't going to happen everywhere. It isn't even going to happen in most of the area.

    Yes, there are big demographic changes happening in DC right now, especially due to government policies in the 90s. But will those changes continue, or change to something else? Knowing how demographics change dramatically in DC and the surrounding environs every 10-20 years over the last 80 years, I certainly would not want to place a $500,000 bet on things continuing as they are... especially if my expected return is pretty low even if I were right (as I do not think real prices can go much higher).

    A Redskins fan

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  30. Oh, right, Murray Hill. Even more generic than the upper east side because it isn't as wealthy. Is there still a big chess board up on the side of a building over there?

    Like I said, smelly dark apartments.

    La Cucarachas? El Remedio es Combat!

    Combat, and Global Climate Change. NYC is in for some tough times as the water level rises.... Stay tuned!

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  31. Fan,

    A mid-step GS 14 (fed gov employee) makes over $110,000. I acquainted with a GS 15 who is useless and sleeps at his desk. His salary range tops out at $140,000.

    Welcome to DC.

    http://opm.gov/oca/06tables/indexGS.asp

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  32. Bryce sure is desperate for everyone to buy in to the "absolutely every neighborhood in DC is doing freakin GREAT!!!!" argument. Unfortunately for him, it's not true. Bryce, those GS-14s who sleep at their desk (I used to see them when I was a political appointee): do they really want to sent their kids to Banneker? Or even Alice Deal? Oh, and how are those condos on Mass near House of Ruth doin'? The ones with no basic services like a supermarket for miles, plus the winos meandering around? How's the proj near Union Station doin'? You know that one on North Capitol? And how're the additional 52,000 condos in the next two years gonna be doin'? The ones with names like "Tha Flats at Appleton Gate" (Anacostia); "The Lofty Lofts at Lofty Loft Lane" (gun-addled SW); etc etc etc etc

    Jerkstore

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  33. "A mid-step GS 14 (fed gov employee) makes over $110,000. I acquainted with a GS 15 who is useless and sleeps at his desk. His salary range tops out at $140,000."

    That's fine, Bryce. And it has nothing to do with median household income. Those guys will be counted in median household income, and according to you, median household income in DC is $54,000. So yes, a minority of people may be making a lot more, but that isn't going to drive prices in DC up in a lot of neighborhoods.

    I always get frustrated when people say things like what you did. Yes, there are some people in DC making a lot of money, both government and non-government. But there are many more making less. The median household income data reflect that, and need to be considered (IMHO) when evaluating whether DC and DC area real estate are priced close to value.

    A Redskins fan

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  34. More than I would spend, but I live in a less expensive region. Seems a shame to me that someone might tear it down but I'm partial to capes and older homes and can't stand McMansions.

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  35. www.HomePriceMaps.com integrates how much homes SOLD for nationwide using the google mapping technology. Simply select city and state from the city menu and click search. If you don't see data for your area simply email HomePriceMaps@gmail.com with your zipcode and or address and they'll update the site with your info and email you within a few days.

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  36. Looks like it sits off an alley/shared driveway. Not so desirable methinks.

    I wonder what the tear-down/expansion options are. They might be limited.

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  37. Let's say that two Federal employees are married. Let's also say that they did not attend college, but they have practical work experience which qualifies them for middle-of-the-road positions. (this is very normal)

    That would mean that they are GS12s at Step 5. That means that they each make $73,720 for a combined household income of over $146,000.

    That is more than $10,000 per month in gross salary. At that rate, two middle-of-the-road working stiffs could afford a $600,000 home. They could save a 20% down payment in three years and have a conforming loan at 6% on $420,000 in principal and STILL not be hurting or house poor.

    This is all fairly normal in the year 2006 folks. But don't take my word for it: look it up.


    (http://opm.gov/oca/06tables/html/dcb.asp)

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  38. Jerk,

    Next time you take the metroliner down from Penn Station, walk around the neighborhood behind Union Station.

    I watched it transform over a 14 year period.

    I used to take the train down from NYC, walk outside Union Station and say to myself "this city is a mess"

    It is _completely_ different now. If you haven't been there yourself, on foot, in the last week, then you don't know what you are talking about.

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  39. BTW

    I think Bethesda is a hell hole. Full of pretentious guys in Dockers and baseball caps, driving Eddie Bauer Edition Ford Explorers 2 miles from their condos to the local Cheescake Factory, where they wait in line for over an hour to over-eat before driving their SUV's the two miles home, all the while thinking that they are sophisticated urbanites.

    and I'm not over-generalizing.

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  40. "Let's say that two Federal employees are married. Let's also say that they did not attend college, but they have practical work experience which qualifies them for middle-of-the-road positions."

    Bryce, Bryce, Bryce. I hear this kind of thing all the time. But it doesn't matter. The median household income in DC is FAR below what you are talking about. A couple making 146K could afford a 600K house easily.... but 146K is FAR above the median household income in DC. So it is almost undoubtedly not typical at all.

    A Redskins fan

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  41. So you hear it all the time? And everyone you hear it from is wrong?

    "Median" means literally The Middle. That means half households make more than 56, and half make less than 56. So if half make more.... just how many households is that?

    10 million households in the metro area, FIVE MILLION make more than the mean! Sheese, why is that so hard to see?

    Take a good, long gander at this table from the BLS. Take a good long look at the mean salaries for each of the listed occupations. "Construction Manager - $86,800". She's married to a "Compensation and Benefits Manager - $72,340"

    Or, if you think those salaries are too high, just remember that one out of every two people who you lay eyes upon today is _statistically likely to make more than the mean income for the area._

    If you're going to turn to stats to bolster your argument, you need to actually LOOK at the stats.

    How many *millions* of people are there in the Metro DC area? We're talking from Baltimore, through DC, down to Fredericksburg VA. THAT is the metro area. I work with people who live in the Fredricksburg area. I work with people who live out near I-81 in VA. We're talking 80 miles ONE WAY to commute. For what? you may ask.

    For a high salary and a big yard. Gas prices are going up up up up. There WILL be consolodation of people closer to downtown DC as they grow weary of paying $5 per gallon. They WILL move closer to the city as suburban congestion increases (and it is already very very bad). They'll give up their big yard and the costs associated with heating and cooling a big house and driving 160 miles per day in order to keep their six figure plus salary, and they'll downsize to do it.

    What does this mean for urban real estate?

    Again, the outer 'burbs are going to take a huge hit, but the city is going to do well.

    Sheese, I should be charging you guys a consulting fee.

    Ultimately, this website is about folks who want to see the national economy collapse in order to feel better about themselves. That is the kind of thinking that rationality cannot overcome.

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  42. here is the BLS.gov table:

    Please, take a look. These are the hard stats everyone here claims to know about:

    http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_8840.htm

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  43. I predict mcMansions will be a bargain out in Loudoun and Faquier Counties at some point in the next two years :-) Maybe all you folks who hate your nation's capital can afford to move out there by then.

    But by then you'll be complaining about how you can't afford to pay for the gas to drive out there and back from your jobs closer to the city, or how you can't afford to heat or cool your cut-rate bargain dream house that you picked up for a song after the great bubble-burst of '07.

    Then you'll be rooting for a major enemy offensive *against* your nation's capital in order to make yourself feel better about being out in Faquier county.

    Charming. Y'all deserve to be livin' out in that there Faquier county.

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  44. If you don't beleive me:

    It is 3:23 PM on a Monday. Go take a look at Westbound I-66 as it enters Fairfax county.

    A hundred thousand or more people will head west on 66 tonight. Go look. They make big $ closer to the city, and they want to go home to "the country".

    It won't last. They'll move closer and give up their "country homes" before they give up their high-paying jobs.

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  45. bryce said:
    "Let's say that two Federal employees are married... each make $73,720 for a combined household income of over $146,000... That is more than $10,000 per month in gross salary... could afford a $600,000 home. They could save a 20% down payment in three years and have a conforming loan at 6% on $420,000 in principal and STILL not be hurting or house poor... This is all fairly normal in the year 2006 folks."

    not so sure about your math, bryce.

    $12.1k gross/month = $5.3k net of taxes/retirement accts (5.75% VA, ~31% Fed/SS/Med, 30% retirement accts). So in 3 years they'll save 20% of 600k? by selling crack to whom? to you obviously, you're as cavalier w/ life-changing numbers as someone who smokes 120k worth of crack over 3 years. then they can afford a 480k mortgage at 7% (rate @ NON-conforming) which is approx $3500/month plus a $6000 tax bill each year + food, gas, children(!), etc? You must be a realtor.

    nope, i don't want the entire market to suffer, just realtors like you that screwed normal families into thinking an ARM/IO was a great idea.

    the sales history behind the house in this article:

    bought 11/23/1992 for $176,500, gifted to relative for $0 on 5/25/2004. the current owner is paying no mortgage it appears... I'd rent to college grads to cover taxes + about $1000/month cash flow, what bubble?

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  46. Bryce is right about the motives of some on this sight. For example, wanting to see the "winners" become losers because of jealousy. Remember - what goes around comes around.

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  47. I saw a classified ad in the Washington Post Express paper (the one you get for free) that showed two plots of land available in north Arlington...7500 sq. ft. for $599K and 6500 sq. ft. for $549K. This is in the neighborhood of the price of the house in the picture.

    I had mentioned earlier that I thought the house would be sold for 560-580K and the buyer would teardown and build a McMansion. I know that the price is ridiculous, but that's what people are doing. Some of them are these lobbyists that have swarmed the area in the last several years...K Street revitalization project, fueled by DeLay, Abramoff, and associated cronies.

    However, if they can't get this house to move soon, then the price will drop further. Someone mentioned they would never buy a piece of land for that much money. It's probably because you don't have that much money, so why speculate?

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  48. Bryce,

    The price of a median house should reflect the median household income in an area. What is happening with the upper crust does not change the median. Yes, there are some rich couples in DC. And there are plenty of rich neighborhoods for them, as there always have been. The issue is whether all these other neighborhoods are suddenly going to be worth more when DC median household income is still nowhere near what median houses in DC now sell for. Posting BLS projections does not change what median income is right now.

    I live in a close suburb. I can walk to the metro. If I chose to buy where I live, I would be paying maybe 3 times as much as I currently do for rent... and most of that payment would be "thrown away" on interest (and I am talking about buying with 20% down). So while the DC renaissance continues... good for me. And if it goes sour, I can move quickly. And meanwhile, I'm spending less. Best of luck to those who chose otherwise.

    A Redskins fan

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  49. I'll give them $25000 for that turd house.

    BRAHAHHAHAHAHAHAAH!!!!!!!

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  50. so now I'm a realtor?!

    HAHAHAHA! I really am laughing out loud.

    Skinsfan,

    You're forgetting that people *commute 80 miles one way to get to work in DC*.

    If you think, for one moment, that the median household income in Fairfax is around $100K because those people work in Fairfax; you are really off base.

    THOSE PEOPLE WORK IN DC.

    Think about that, and then think about the increasing cost and hassel of getting to and from work in DC, and then think about the increasing cost of heating and cooling homes in Fairfax, and the fact that you can't friggin' walk ANYWHERE in Fairfax to do ANYTHING, and you'll be headed in the right direction.

    I was at the Pentagon this morning, and I saw a actual sign that said "Slugs <--". Picking up strangers who stand in line so you can get from your high paying job in DC to your overpriced, high-maintenece-cost mini-castle in the outer burbs? You're a fool. (that is rhetorical and not directed at anyone in particular)

    Empty nesters, dual career couples, and sensible people in general are and will continue to abandon the suburbs and move closer into the city. That is my point.

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  51. Oh, and Arlingtoon and Blechthesda are nasty. Think about it:

    Bunch of wanna-be-urban white kids living in neighborhoods that are nothing more than shopping malls (THINK: Ballston, Clarendon, and all of Bethesda).

    Those are NOT communities. Those are places where people clinging to the suburban myth live to feel sophisticated. Then they'll jump down to DC on the weekend (in their cars) because it TRULY is the place to be (but they're too scared of their Nation's Capital to actually LIVE in their Nation's Capital.... WTF?!)

    Ridiculous.

    Arlington Sucks. And the outer areas of Arlington really are headed downhill. Think of Columbia Pike near Seven Corners. Those are the areas where you'll find everyone who lives at or below the area's median income.

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  52. you do math like a realtor.

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  53. All I know is: I bought a house in Assburn (I meant to spell it that way) in the mid-90's before it became trendy. ($156,342 was the purchase price). I made $120K for a while (around the average household income for a place called Fairfax County), so my gross monthly was $10K, and my take-home was over $7K after taxes and maxing out my 401(K) contribution.

    So I was using that as a basis for a hypothetical couple making over $140K per year.

    You managed to whittle over $12K gross monthly down to what? I forgot, something like $4K?

    Sounds like you do math like the proverbial "fool and his money".

    Grow up and make some decisions concerning your own financial future instead of waiting for the general public's future to implode.

    Rewards ALWAYS come with RISK. Figure out how much risk you are comfortable with, and then make a move. You'll probably feel a lot better about yourself. :-)

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  54. "Rewards ALWAYS come with RISK."

    the risk is cash flow and subsequent foreclosure and/or bankruptcy, essentially financial ruin. what’s the reward? 15% YOY gains in appreciation on Home Sweet Home? i bet families love to move to cash in on appreciation, moving certainly looks like a good time.

    back to your misleading figures… trying to pay for child care AND a 3500/month mortgage (after already paying 135k cash for 20% down and closing costs) when you have two parents working full time would be manageable if both made 120k (like you did when you bought a $156k house), but that was not your example of what folks are now “doing all the time”. that whittling is taxes, retirement, food, insurance, all necessary expenses. check my percentages, they're not too far from reality. guess we’ll have to agree to disagree.

    that grown-up financial decision was made for me by the specu-vestors and realtors who effectively priced home ownership out of reach. my contempt for the winners is probably inversely proportional to the pleasure they feel after that big payday had at the expense of some family caught up in the hype w/o the financial savvy to sense ruin. bitter.

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  55. Bryce,

    One of the biggest reasons people who work in DC live in Fairfax (or Montgomery Co) is the quality of the public schools. Having school age children, this is a prime consideration. If the DC public school system is the same quality as the Fairfax Co Public Schools, I'd move in a heartbeat. That isn't going to happen anytime soon. I can't afford private school tuition on top of my mortgage, since I'm one of those govt employees and the wife stays at home with the kids.

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  56. I agree. But I wouldn't send my kids to public schools ANYWHERE around the DC area. Fairfax and Loudoun would be just as bad from a cultural standpoint in my view. (and it is *only* my opinion)

    Let's not forget that this society is facing an "obesity epidemic". Even our kids are developing Type 2 or "Adult Onset" diabetes. Why? Well, where do the majority of people live in this country? The cities? The country? Or the Suburbs?

    The suburbs are fundamentally bad places. Where were all the riots in France within the last year, and what were they about? They were in the suburbs of major cities, and they were about cultural/societal isolation of the people who live in those 'burbs.

    France is a little older than the United States, but we'll catch up in terms of human cultural-anthropological trends.

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  57. What's wrong with homeschooling? The best parts are the field trips, and you don't need a permission slip!

    (also, your kids don't get exposed to pop consumer culture, which is priceless)

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  58. "The suburbs are fundamentally bad places. Where were all the riots in France within the last year, and what were they about? They were in the suburbs of major cities, and they were about cultural/societal isolation of the people who live in those 'burbs."

    That is actually the funniest, most wrong thing I read on this blog, and this blog (not the posts, but the message board) is full of funny, wrong things. France's "suburbs" are where the North African Muslim immigrants live, and are crime-ridden, economically depressed areas where unemployment is somthing like 50%. The fact that you could make an analogy between a European ghetto (using the word in a non-perjorative sense--i.e., a place where a group has become marginalized) to Great Falls and Langly High School made me fall off my chair. Thanks for the laugh.

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  59. The situation in France is the reverse of most American cities. The "cites" (read "projects") in the "banlieues" (suburbs) are the real ghettos. The city centers of French cities are the prime real estate. The riots there have nothing to do with spoiled kids with time on their hands. They rioted because they have no future in a society that marginalizes them and pushes them to the side.

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  60. That is exactly my point. The socio economic trends in the US are leading to the revitalization of true urban centers, while the suburbs are the places for the disenfranchised. (see: Sterling VA)

    The literal meaning of the word "ghetto" can be appropriately applied to Reston VA, by the way.

    But you mean it in the same context as Jimmie "J.J." Walker used in the TV show "Good Times", right? Which means you probably live in a white ghetto.

    (just my opinion)

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  61. Yep, every single rioter in the suburbs of france was of African descent.... nice generalization you made there, Mr. Anonymous.

    Oh yes, blacks are being displaced in DC. and I mean "IN" DC. Which means they are moving out as a part of the ongoing socio-economic trend that apparently proponents of the "bubblelicious hypothesis" cannot see.

    Where are they moving to? OH, THE SUBURBS. No, not Langley VA. But the Suburbs nonetheless.

    And by pointing out that the 'burbs do indeed have huge swaths of wealthy people, you just reinforced my argument about how the demographics of DC are skewed because *rich people commute from the 'burbs into DC for their jobs!*

    Traffic on Route 123 going past the CIA is swweeeeet on a weekday around 5:30 PM. Yep, that's livin'.

    One more thing: those 11-13 million "illegal immigrants" who live in this country live where? Downtown urban areas? Nope. THE SUBURBS!!

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  62. Uh....where did the skin color thing come into play except in your comment?

    Why don't you just come out and say that the blacks in DC are moving to PG County. There, I said it. I must be a racist. Last figure I saw, blacks consititure a miniscule percentage in both Fairfax and Montgomery, much less than Asians and Hispanics. As for why the illegals live in the burbs? That's where the jobs are in the service industry, constuction, etc. But hey, I'm not disagreeing too much with you in some respects, just I don't buy that the suburbs are going to be hollowed out and everybody is going to move back into the city.

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  63. Oh and:

    Scooter Libby lives in Great Falls, doesn't he? Or somewhere around Langley or Mclean?

    I rest my case about the 'burbs being a soul-sapping cultural wasteland.

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  64. I'm white, in case anybody was wondering.

    Ok - so millions of Mexicans choose to live in the 'burbs because that is where there are jobs in the service and construction industries.

    And what is this blog all about? According to the moderator, it is about the impending destructive recession.

    And what will that recession do for the service sector and construction industries? It will gut them. And where did you say those jobs are based again.....? oh, right. the suburbs.

    Where will there be a stable employment base in the bubblelicious economy? In the seat of the Federal government. DC. (GS workers don't get laid off)

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  65. The anonymous post that contained the words "North African Muslim" is where race came into the discussion.

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  66. As a GS worker working and living in the DC burbs, I don't think your generalization flies. There are quite a few of us out here in the burbs (Ft Belvoir area, Chantilly, Fairfax, Dulles, Reston, Bethesda, Gaithersburg, Ft Meade area, etc.). And that's mostly DoD.

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  67. yep, and you are all consolidating to Ft. Meade in the next few years, aren't you?

    So we'll have the Pentagon, and Ft. Meade as the main DoD centers for employment.

    22,000 people are in the Pentagon on any given day. Factor in the Navy Annex, the rejuvinated Navy Yard in DC, Henderson Hall, etc. and you have even more DoD employees in the center of the metro area. DLA also comes to mind.

    No way Reston, Dulles (god what an awful place - see: Dulles Town Center), Chantilly (ditto), Bethesda, etc. come close to that density of employment.

    Smart people will look at this post and say "hmmm, geographically dispersed government employment centers are being consolidated at Ft. Meade? Maybe I should look into buying real estate near Ft. Meade...."

    (Google on "BRAC" for more info.)

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  68. Bryce, you are wrong. We're not moving to Mead. Lots of govvies are staying put in Fairfax, Chantilly, Belvoir. Belvoir is absorbing all the refugees from Crystal City and Pentagon as a result of BRAC. You been out to NRO to see how many work in that place and the surrounding beltway bandit buildings? Easy 10k people. Also the NGA places on Fairfax County Parkway and in Sterling? Another 4-5k. And I won't even mention the classified locations.

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  69. LOL!

    Congratulations, you're staying put in hell!

    Maybe in a few years you'll be working an overnight shift just so you don't spend 2+ hours in your car each way to travel 20 miles. (or do you live next to your work location?)

    Ever been stuck in traffic for an hour trying to get from North Pointe (that trailing "e" is an attempt to add character to a souless location) Plaza down to the Reston Pkway entrance to the Toll Road? What a nightmare. How about inbound 7 on a weekday morning? How about inbound Toll Rd. on a weekday morning during sunrise?

    How about all the folks with WVA plates who leave home at 5am every day to get to work in "Dulles"? Yikes.

    Enjoy the suburban dream.

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  70. Bryce, obviously you have a lot more issues than where people work in live. FYI, I have a 15 minute commute living and working in Fairfax County as a GS. Can't get any better than this. Oh and by the way, isn't Ft Meade also in the burbs? It ain't anywhere near DC. Oh, yes, glad you mentioned WVA. Many more fed jobs will be moving there in the coming years due to the problems you said. The government realized after 9/11 it was dangerous to put all the agencies in downtown. That's why the move to Belvoir and Meade and other places away from the city.

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  71. Yes, I do have more issues. Mainly, this reckless consumer-driven society; for which the suburban lifestyle is a monumnet. get it?

    And if you say that consumer-driven lifestyles aren't a bad thing, then what the heck are you doing on a blog that is attempting to chart the course of the coming setback (demise?) of the consumer driven lifestyle?

    If you have children, or intend to have children, or have young relatives, or friends with children, what we are talking about is the active destruction of their collective future.

    Re-read this a couple times and you may catch on. (not trying to be rude, but sometimes the most ovious things are the most difficult to see)

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  72. meant to say "monument" and "obvious".... hey, at least you know I'm not plagerizing. ;P

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  73. I don't know where you get the notion that everyone living in the suburbs are driven by suburban consumption. I see more of that in the yuppified trendy neighborhoods of NW DC than in my corner of Fairfax. I work, my wife stays home and raise our kids. My kids go to good schools. I pay my taxes. I don't own any fancy bimmer or merc or drive an SUV. Let's stop talking generalities. I'm all for putting in better public transportation in all of the DC metro area, but that's for another blog.

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  74. I meant to say reckless consumerism.

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  75. Ok, for the sake of discussion, lets exempt Fairfax county.

    Now, how about Loudoun county?

    I've seen gridlock in the parking lot a Wegmanns Supermarket in Dulles. That is no exaggeration.

    And, the old homes throughout DC tend to be modest in size. They are also modest in heating, cooling, and maintenance costs once they are brought up to date when compared to the average "SFH" in eastern Loudoun (Sterling) or the average McMansion in Western Loudoun "Raspberry Falls". (is that the name of the place with the golf course?)

    What is it going to cost in fuel to mow a two acre lawn twice per week in western loudoun?

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  76. We have a Wegmans near us. The prices there for basic food items are cheaper than Giant or even Costco for things like milk. You just have to exercise self control and not buy the expensive stuff. But if you feel like it you can. Don't tell me Whole Foods in places like Adams Morgan or wherever in DC is any better?

    Frankly, the percentages of McMansions or whatever in the burbs pale in comparison to the number of townhouses and small SFHs. The average homeowner don't live in those huge houses. That's like complanining about people who live in huges houses in Georgetown or NW.

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  77. lots of intel jobs moving to Denver too, i think the word used was 'decentralization'. i hate when things become a made up word. you two can keep DC/NOVA, i'm moving 90 mins east of Breck where 1 in 300 homes are in foreclosure and the median is 235k and dropping which will get you the type of house these comments originated from :)

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  78. I must be truly interested in this discussion or I wouldn't have gone into the archives to read the latest comments.

    We are talking about the future on this blog. Telling me that the prices at Wegmans are low is irrelevant. It is going to be very difficult to get food to the Wegmans in Dulles once fuel prices begin their inevitable rise. (A time is coming when fuel prices rise and continue to rise until supply is exhausted. Yes.)

    Cities will fare better in that circumstance because supplies can be transported via rail. Then city dwellers can WALK to the retail outlet for their supplies. Imagine that....

    People in Dulles will continue to rely upon big trucks to get the food to their stores, and then those people MUST DRIVE to the stores to get their food. It really is that simple.

    As for Colorado - yes. yes yes yes yes. And I haven't ruled out moving to CO myself. Good jobs for those with the right backgrounds, a lower cost of living, and lots of fresh air!

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  79. Regarding the "townhouses" in the suburbs: Yes, they are like the new Virginia State Flower, aren't they?

    They are poorly constructed and a real pain in the ass to keep warm in the winter and cool in the summer. I know this for a fact.

    So we basically have a rash growing on the face of the landscape: poorly constructed townhomes. How many tens of thousands are there in Loudoun alone? And every "townhouse" (town? there is no town!) dweller MUST drive to do ANYTHING in their "community".

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