Wednesday, December 10, 2008

McMansion Watch: Near Me McMansion

You can't see it in the photo, but it's got vinyl siding on three sides.


Two years ago, when I was kicked out of my old apartment when it almost went condo, I moved to my current apartment in Centreville, Virginia. Since then I've been tracking the prices on a local McMansion community in the area, the homes of which were valued in the $850,000-$950,000 range at the time. As recently as a few months ago, they were valued by Zillow in the $650,000-$750,000 range and Zillow shows two recent sales (before the Lehman Brothers collapse) in that price range.

So, now I am shocked to see this. A house in the neighborhood, which is a good representation of the norm—in fact, it may be slightly on the large size—is now valued by Zillow at $667,500. But that's not all. It is listed for sale at $549,900! (It is being sold "AS-IS". A bank-owned home, perhaps?)

Zillow says it was worth $968,000 at its peak in 2005. That means this former almost-million-dollar home has fallen by roughly $400,000 in three years.

Also, this townhouse in the same general area sold for $514,855 four years ago. It is now listed for sale at $333,000.

The Prince William County housing implosion is slowly moving inward toward D.C.

May you live in interesting times.

24 comments:

  1. Doesn't surprise me, really.

    Part of the problem these days is that it is damned tough to get a loan. There are a handful of people out there with the excellent credit and with sufficient cash reserves who could buy, and then you have to cut the prices enough to entice them to buy today rather than wait a year..

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  2. maps.google.com indicates that Centerville VA is 89 miles from the US Capitol Building in the center of Washington DC.

    Do you really see that as "moving inward", especially in a region with some of the worst traffic congestion in North America?

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  3. Centreville is a ways out, but it is nowhere near 89 miles. Try more like 30 miles.

    Even with those hefty drops, they're still way over priced.

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  4. "Do you really see that as "moving inward", especially in a region with some of the worst traffic congestion in North America?"

    "Moving inward" is a long assumed meme which isnt working out. Whatever is moving inward, moved all the way in a long time ago.

    What we are seeing now is a new phase, somehting new is now hitting the market - it moves in but at a very very rapid pace (2-3 months max).

    Difference is like many waves they do not maintain their strenght as they move in. What may be a Tsunami when it hits PWC is pretty tuckered out when it hits DC, looking more like a gentle swell...

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  5. Why would anyone want to live in Centerville? (That isn't rhetorical, please help me out...)

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  6. I don't get Centreville myself either. There are people in our office who live there - then again our office is in Fairfax.

    I would find it most depressing to be living out there myself.

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  7. Sizzle-Lien,

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  8. "Lien Meat said...
    Sizzle-Lien,

    Looks like your employer is hiring for positions in the DC area!"

    Damn right they are! I rely on them for logistical/tactical support for the upcoming Sizzlington Meltdown - they designed my bat-signal
    searchlight to warn of the coming attack. Remember on the night of Dec 25, look for my signal, flapjacks in the sky (1 if by land, 2 if by sea {the potomac])

    After I mandate 40% off prices in Arlington, I will move the new Raytheon hires into Sizzlington in huge numbers. Never fear, you, Lien Diamond, Lien Armstrong, Lien Times, etc. will get first pick of houses.

    Got Bacon?

    Sizzle-Lien

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  9. Ahhh, "Centreville" VA is 30 miles from DC.

    "Centerville" VA is 90 miles away.

    "Centreville" is the classier 'ville of the two, of course.

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  10. Roleur said...
    "maps.google.com indicates that Centerville VA is 89 miles from the US Capitol Building in the center of Washington DC."

    Completely wrong. maps.google.com says Centreville is a 24.9 mile drive to DC. Centreville is in Fairfax County just south of Dulles Airport. Do you drive 89 miles to go to the airport? Even BWI isn't that far away.

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  11. Jack said...
    "Why would anyone want to live in Centerville? (That isn't rhetorical, please help me out...)

    People in DC look out their window and see pavement. People in the outer suburbs look out their window and see foliage. I'm just not that fond of pavement.

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  12. Easy James, easy.

    Defend the low quality construction and recently-planted McTrees of CentREville to your hearts content. We're in awe.

    Your blanket generalizations aren't true in many cases, however. I see a 100+ year old massive elm tree when I look out my front windows (all 15 of them) in Washington.

    DC is also home to the nation's largest city park: Rock Creek Park.

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  13. Are either of you (James or David) old enough to remember a TV show named "Green Acres"?

    Greeeen acres is the place to be
    Faaarm livin' is the life for me
    (Dahlin' I love you but give me Park Avenue)

    ...

    It is the oldest argument since the construction of the Interstate Highway system made having the choice a possibility. (approx 50 years - not very long at all.)

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  14. "Defend the low quality construction and recently-planted McTrees of CentREville to your hearts content. We're in awe.

    Your blanket generalizations aren't true in many cases, however. I see a 100+ year old massive elm tree when I look out my front windows (all 15 of them) in Washington."

    Same thing at my Brother's place in Old Town Alexandria. In his tiny 50 X 100 lot, there are 4-5 trees that are close to 70 feet tall. The trees planted in the roadbeds lining the street are the same height - they are all as old as the city itself 200+ years.

    His view is not of pavement, its brick and cobblestone, with the potomac river in the background...

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  15. Anonymous said...
    "I see a 100+ year old massive elm tree when I look out my front windows (all 15 of them) in Washington."

    A single tree? Give me a break!

    I grew up with an apple orchard as my back yard. I HATE city life. Even Centreville is too crowded for me. I'd move further out if the commute was tolerable. Actually, my ideal would be a house on the Chesapeake.

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  16. JackRussel said: Part of the problem these days is that it is damned tough to get a loan. There are a handful of people out there with the excellent credit and with sufficient cash reserves who could buy, and then you have to cut the prices enough to entice them to buy today rather than wait a year..

    Hey Jack, have you tried getting a loan in the last little while? I'd like to say it's a myth that it's tough to get. Much easier than when I bought my place in 2000. Much, much easier.

    Your other point about people not having the income and savings to afford at these prices is spot on, but let's not overgeneralize and say it's a problem with getting the money lent. If you have the income and down payment, there is zero problem getting a loan. I know, I recently got approved with about 15 minutes of work. Much easier than the 8 hours of work and meetings last time plus a virtual rape of my bank account's history a scant 8 years ago.

    Chuck Ponzi

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  17. A single tree? Give me a break!

    Oh James, have you no sense of history or reality? Sure, you can regurgitate news on your blogs, but you fail to echo information that falls outside your narrow worldview.

    A 2002 inventory of trees in Washington DC ended with over 106,000 trees being identified and catalogued. Casey Trees

    My block (a city block) has at least 2 dozen grand elms from the 1890s lining each side of the street. That is on one side of a single city block

    So you'd "move further out if your commute were tolerable"? Please, do yourself a favor; Break Your Ties With All Things Urban/DC! Move away. Hey, if you starve to death as a result because you have no job opportunities, it will be an ironic object lesson in the value of "close in" real estate.

    Have no fear; someday you may understand the sad irony in vocalizing your disdain for the city, and immediately following it with an admission that the construct of your day-to-day life is tied to that which you despise.

    Blog that.

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  18. James, do you lead a sedentary lifestyle?

    Most suburbanites do. (most people are suburbanites and the vast majority of US citizens are sedentary). It is a fair question.

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  19. Anonymous said...
    "DC is also home to the nation's largest city park: Rock Creek Park."

    The Trust for Public Land lists Rock Creek Park as the 50th largest city park. That's quite a bit away from being #1.

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  20. Oh yeah, shitty dwellers are more active than people who live elsewhere.

    Jeez this blog has become a crock of sh*t.

    You obsessive-compulsive disordered fags need to get a life.

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  21. "Anonymous said...
    Oh yeah, shitty dwellers are more active than people who live elsewhere.

    Jeez this blog has become a crock of sh*t.

    You obsessive-compulsive disordered fags need to get a life."

    Thats actually true. Its not intentional mind you...It was determined however that living in the city requires more walking - more walking burns more calories - more calories burned = less weight.

    When my sister in law moved into the city she didnt change her eating or exercise habits - yet she still dropped 10 pounds!

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  22. Well, Centreville is a vibrant Koreatown. It has great restaurants and a great spa that my wife and I drive out to from Silver Spring. It also has one of the most amazing Indian restaurants, 'Masala Country'. It may have been something of a cultural backwater once, but now, at least for certain groups, it's actually (and strangely) a destination. It is too bad that the mcmansions out there seemingly are constructed out of toilet paper and cardboard.

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  23. Cities will only become desirable to the majority of Americans again when segregation of schools returns. Not editorializing, just stating a fact. White people will not willingly send their kids to a school that is majority black or even one that has a substantial minority that is black. And they can't afford the private schools either. Hence, suburbia is the only choice.

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  24. "Anonymous said...
    Cities will only become desirable to the majority of Americans again when segregation of schools returns."

    Perhaps true, but what you are missing is that many cities are slowly becoming more "white" over time. DC for example is expected to lose its "majority minority" designation in 15-20 years. As the poor and uneducated get pushed out to the burbs in search of cheaper housing.

    And the problem isnt so much race as it is "class". Educated/ wealthy whites are not likely to send their kids to school wiht a bunch of rednecks. Educated/ wealthy blacks are not likely to send their kids to school with a bunch of gangbangers.

    Either way, it looks like the poor/ uneducated are moving out of the cities to the burbs in search of cheaper housing. Recently, a study came out saying for the first time there were more poor people in the suburbs than in the central cities. These were raw numbers, and in percentage terms, the cities still had a much higher percentage of poor people.

    Suburbia is the only choice now - just dont expect it to continue like that indefinitely.

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