Monday, December 31, 2007

DC Sales: October 2007

I've finished my analysis of full value residential sales the District recorded in October 2007. Generally, sales volume in the District is down significantly, condos are tanking, yet single family homes continue to see price appreciation despite falling sales volume. While Case-Shiller shows that existing home prices in the DC metropolitan area have fallen, my data imply that District home prices are faring well. It's important to note that Case-Shiller excludes condos from its analysis.

And the mystery about 1010 Mass continues: not one unit has closed. Is it about to join Senate Square and McGill Row and go apartment?

All data has been uploaded for viewing on DCHomePrices.com and DCCondoPrices.com.

I hope each of you has a healthy and prosperous 2008! Happy New Year!

State of the Market

In October 2007 the District recorded 384 residential sales, 44.59%% less than the same month in 2006. For the first time that I can remember, more than half of all units sold were homes. Moreover, homes trounced condos in dollar volume, 62.83% compared to 37.17% of total dollar volume.

All but three wards had a decent month in terms of prices. Only one ward experienced declines in average and median prices while two others had lower average or median prices. However, all wards had lower sales volume, some of it quite significant [e.g., -62.58% in Ward 2]. Ward 3 had the highest percentage increase in average price, 15.57%.

Condo sales continue to dominate Wards 1 and 2. In Ward 1, 74.6% of sales were condos and in Ward 2, 77%.

Distribution of Sales

The chart below shows the distribution of October's recorded sales by sales price.

Changes in the Market YoY

In the aggregate, average prices were up 8.8% and median prices increased 1.69%. Sales volume collapsed, down 44.59%; condos fell 52.55% and homes declined 34.22%. Rising home prices counterbalanced falling condo prices.

Condos

The number of condos sold [existing and new] fell 52.55% YoY while prices [average and median] declined 7.96% and 0.67%, respectively. One factor that may affect the YoY comparison is that a number of new buildings were coming online in October 2006, including Columbia Residences, the Alta, the Rhapsody, Georgetown Heights, and the Fedora, among others. Sales in Wards 1 and 2 [Dupont Circle / Penn Quarter / Logan Circle] represented 50.54% of total condo sales. No new condo buildings have come online, but others continue to sell their remaining inventory:

Single Family Homes

Although overall demand for single family housing is down 34.22%, aggregate average prices rose 18.27% and median prices grew 6.54%. All categories of houses had large declines in sales volume, but the significant price gains for detached homes again carried the segment; although they comprised less than 30% of units sold, detached homes represented 47.83% of dollar volume for homes. Ward 3 has the honor of having the highest average and median prices in the District.

Purchase the Data

For $5.00, you can purchase a listing of the October home and condo sales recorded in the District discussed in this post. Information in the listing includes [see below]:

  • Address
  • Sale price and sale date
  • Unit number [if a condo and if available]
  • Price per square foot
  • Square footage
  • The number of bedrooms and baths for each unit


Note:
I use the District's downloadable data, which usually has a 6-12 month lag, meaning that the data doesn't include condos or homes completed within the past year. Data may not be available for all properties. My analysis is dependent upon the completeness and fidelity of the District's appraisal data.

October 2007 Sales ListingsAdd to Cart


Detailed Data

Aggregate by Zip Code

October 2007 average and median sales prices and unit volume by zip code.

Aggregate by Ward

October 2007 average and median sales prices and unit volume by ward.


Category by Zip Code

Category by Ward

Disclaimer:

  • Unlike MRIS, my data and analyses include new units [primarily condos] so there will be some differences in my conclusions about the market's state compared to a similar analysis based solely on MRIS reports, which only report sales of existing units sold and/or listed by real estate agents.
  • This analysis is of sales recorded by the District during the month as opposed to sales settled in the month, which is what MRIS reports, so there may be some discrepancies because of timing issues. However, I believe the data do provide a helpful indicator of trends in the District.
  • My analysis is based on District sales and appraisal data that I've collected and processed. I've deleted those sales that appear to be of questionable data quality. Errors are always possible.
  • My analysis is limited to condos and single family homes; I omit properties the District classifies as multifamily conversions. I'm sure I'm excluding some properties that are legitimate single family homes, but I want to eliminate uncertainty.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Housing Slump is Nation Wide

An article in today's NY Times presents an analysis [selected paragraphs are provided below] of the S&P/Case-Shiller data that was released this week.

The slide in American home prices is going national, rendering obsolete the old saying that the three factors that matter in real estate pricing are location, location and location.

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller indexes of home prices, which began in 1987 and now cover 20 broad metropolitan areas, have showed price declines in every market in only two months — September and October of this year.

September and October were the first months ever in which the S.& P./Case-Shiller indexes failed to show any market with at least a 5 percent annual gain...

While the current slowdown affects all markets, it is generally worse in those that went up the most in the housing boom. During the five-year period that ended in July 2006 — when national housing prices peaked, according to the indexes — seven markets showed compound annual gains of at least 14 percent. Since the peak, all seven markets are among the bottom eight. [It's me. This includes DC, which went up more than 15% annually in the period July 2001 - July 2006, shown in the chart accompanying the article, and has since declined 7%]. What goes up the most does come down the most, or so it appears.

In the early 1990s there was something close to a national weakening of home prices during and after the 1991 recession. But at the low point, the S.& P./Case-Shiller indexes still showed annual price gains in five of the 17 markets the indexes then covered. And there were no months when at least one market did not show a gain from the previous month.

Now prices appear to be weakening everywhere.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

S&P/Case Shiller Report: DC prices fall

The S&P/Case-Shiller Index just released its report for October 2007. The news isn't good:

The decline in home prices accelerated and spread to more regions of the country in October, according to a series of private indexes released Wednesday.

Prices fell 6.1 percent from October 2006 in 20 large metropolitan areas, according to Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller indexes, compared with a 4.9 percent decline in September. All but three of the 20 regions saw real estate values fall, and even the three places — Seattle, Portland, Ore., and Charlotte, N.C. — where prices were up from a year ago saw prices fall from a month earlier.

For the DC area, it reports:
  • Prices have fallen 7% YoY
  • Prices fell 1.1% September to October
  • Prices fell 0.4% August to September

To me, the ominous data point is the increasing rate of month/month decline in the DC area.

October data uploaded

I've uploaded data for residential sales the District recorded in October to DCHomePrices.com and DCCondoPrices.com; it's available for viewing now. The data analysis is forthcoming.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Garbage data from the District

I've captured sales data for October 2007, but it's going to take a while to process it. Why? It's tough enough getting real estate sales data from the District, but the District's inability to ensure data quality is really trying my patience.
According to the District:
  • A condo on 3251 Prospect St NW sold for $120MM. I'm sure having Morton's and Cafe Milano under your home may be a wonderful thing, but not for this price. [UPDATE]. It turns out that the $120,245,450 condo actually sold for $1,202,454.50. Oops about those two decimal points, eh OTR?
  • A home in AU Park sold for $12MM. [UPDATE]. It turns out that the $12MM home actually sold for $1,200,000. Oops I did it again, OTR?
  • A home in the 1800 block of Rhode Island NE sold for $3.5MM whereas everything in the area sold for about $310,000 - $385,000. [UPDATE]. It turns out that the $3.5MM home actually sold for $350,000.
If I'm unable to get more credible data, I'll delete these three.
It's comforting to know that public data is so screwed up.

Monday, December 17, 2007

MRIS November Housing Report: Home's Rule

I've just returned from a quick visit to the family in South Florida. Very pleasant weather - it was great to sit by the pool and chat last night. However, I read a pretty sobering perspective on their housing market this morning. There are several forecasts for a 15% decline in housing prices there in the next year. The writer couldn't resist a little boosterism, reminding her readers that home values there had increased 181% from 2000 - 2006 so a little fall in equity shouldn't hurt. I'm sure that'll make all her readers with an "impossible to refinance" subprime mortgage feel great, like her fellow columnist profiled in the same issue.

Marc Thomashaw, vice president of Realestat.com, which tracks local mortgage figures, put my situation into perspective. In Broward County, he said, "There were over 200 pre-foreclosure listings in January '06 and over 2,000 by December '07. It's really bad out there."

MRIS released its report on November sales of existing homes and condos [those listed or sold by real estate agents] in the District on December 10. November's data supports my belief that while the condo market is hurting, single family homes are selling for higher prices despite lower sales volumes. Key YoY data points:

  • Dollar volume was down 12.12%
  • The average price was up 7.3%
  • The median price lowered 2.44%
  • The number of units sold - transaction volume - was down quite a bit, 18.1%%
  • Average days on market rose a tad, 1.49%, to 68 days

In November we see:

  • Sales volume. Overall, down 18.1%. YoY, condo and home sales volume dropped, 15.33% and 20.77% respectively. Sales volume was negative across the board. Condos represented 50.77% of the units sold. From October to November, volume fell 1.51% for condos and rose 17.23% for homes.
  • Dollar volume. In aggregate, down 12.12%. YoY, condos were down almost 21% whole homes were down 6.43%. A closer look shows that, except for 4+ bedroom detached homes and 2 or less attached homes, dollar volume was negative for all types of housing. Condos' share of the dollar volume, 35.41%, fell compared to November 2006.
  • Average sales price. Overall, up 7.3% YoY. Condos fell 6.55% to $372,238 while homes increased 18.11% YoY to $700,014.
  • Days on market. DOM is 68 days. A closer look shows that slightly more than 60% of all homes sold within 60 days, a performance metric that's been pretty consistent these past few months.
  • Inventory. Based on the month's transaction rates and active listings, there is a 6.82 month supply of condos, a 0.12% drop from October, while home inventories are at 7.66 month's supply, a 6.86% decrease from October.

Looking at the pricing trends chart [see below], 2007 may still turn out to be a good year for single family home; average prices are +12.15% Jan-Nov. It's a different story for condos. After the exuberance of the past few years, 2007 will be as flat as three day old champagne at a condo marketing event: +0.07% Jan-Nov.

Detailed Data

Average Sales Price Trends: 2007

Average Sales Price Trends: Year over Year


Average Sales Price

Dollar Volume

Transaction Volume

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Holiday Interruptus

The holidays have kept me pretty busy this week, hence the relative silence since Monday.
 
I have analyzed MRIS' report for November and should be able to post it early next week. My initial take:
  • Sales volume is down across the board
  • Condo prices are falling
  • Single family home prices are steady if not rising

More later.

Monday, December 10, 2007

DC Sales: September 2007

I've finished my analysis of full value residential sales the District recorded in September 2007. When I looked at August's data, I asked "is that a train headed our way?" Remember that MRIS' data was of contract value signed and the District's data is of sales recorded. Given that both went negative in September, I assume this means that contract signings and closings fell apart in late August and September, all of it most likely due to August's credit crunch and the associated market uncertainties. The market's soured to the point that some new condo developments, e.g. Senate Square and McGill Row, have gone apartment.

All data has been uploaded for viewing on DCHomePrices.com and DCCondoPrices.com

State of the Market

In September 2007 the District recorded 501 residential sales, 28.63% less than the same month in 2006. More than half of all units sold were condos while, in terms of dollar volume, homes led 57.29% vice 42.71%, both consistent with past months' results.

Viewing the data at a District level, four wards had a decent month in terms of pricing. Four wards experienced declines in average and median prices. However, all but one ward had lower sales volume, some of it quite significant [e.g., -40.17% in Ward 1]. Ward 3 had the highest percentage increase in average price, 10.54%.

Condo sales continue to dominate Wards 1 and 2. In Ward 1, 62.9% of sales were condos and in Ward 2, 88.68%.

Distribution of Sales

The chart below shows the distribution of September's recorded sales by sales price.

Changes in the Market YoY

Average prices were down 2.51% in the aggregate, median prices down 7.69%. Sales volume collapsed, down almost 28.63%; condos fell 31.36% and homes declined 25.24%. However, average home prices rose despite lower sales volume.

Condos

The number of condos sold [existing and new] fell 31.36% YoY while prices [average and median] declined 13.74% and 10.96%, respectively . Sales in Wards 1 and 2 [Dupont Circle / Penn Quarter / Logan Circle] represented 51.7% of total condo sales. No new condo buildings have come online, but others continue to sell their remaining inventory:

Significantly missing from this list is 1010 Mass. What's going on with that building? It looks like its completed.

Single Family Homes

Although overall demand for single family housing is down a whopping 25.24%, aggregate average prices rose 7.05% while median prices were down 4.76%. All categories of houses had large declines in sales volume, but the significant price gains for detached homes carried the segment. Wards 3 and 4 accounted for 69.8% of detached home sales. Ward 3 has the honor of having the highest average and median prices in the District.

Purchase the Data

For $5.00, you can purchase a listing of the September home and condo sales recorded in the District discussed in this post. Information in the listing includes [see below]:

  • Address
  • Sale price and sale date
  • Unit number [if a condo and if available]
  • Price per square foot
  • Square footage
  • The number of bedrooms and baths for each unit


Note:
I use the District's downloadable data, which usually has a 6-12 month lag, meaning that the data doesn't include condos or homes completed within the past year. Data may not be available for all properties. My analysis is dependent upon the completeness and fidelity of the District's appraisal data.


September 2007 Sales ListingsAdd to Cart


Detailed Data

Aggregate by Zip Code

September 2007 average and median sales prices and unit volume by zip code.

Aggregate by Ward

September 2007 average and median sales prices and unit volume by ward.

Category by Zip Code


Category by Ward

Disclaimer:

  • Unlike MRIS, my data and analyses include new units [primarily condos] so there will be some differences in my conclusions about the market's state compared to a similar analysis based solely on MRIS reports, which only report sales of existing units sold and/or listed by real estate agents.
  • This analysis is of sales recorded by the District during the month as opposed to sales settled in the month, which is what MRIS reports, so there may be some discrepancies because of timing issues. However, I believe the data do provide a helpful indicator of trends in the District.
  • My analysis is based on District sales and appraisal data that I've collected and processed. I've deleted those sales that appear to be of questionable data quality. Errors are always possible.
  • My analysis is limited to condos and single family homes; I omit properties the District classifies as multifamily conversions. I'm sure I'm excluding some properties that are legitimate single family homes, but I want to eliminate uncertainty.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Back to Business

After wrestling with a very long line at French customs, racing to catch my plane, and watching four movies on my Air France flight, I'm slowly getting back into the swing of things. Among the things I can tell you is that $1.50/euro makes for a very expensive trip and that Air France's on-demand in-flight entertainment system is great - there's nothing like being able to fast forward through the "action" sequences in "The Bourne Ultimatum" to cut to the chase, so to speak.

While I was away:

  • I see that the latest S&P/Case-Shiller Index shows a YoY 6.6% drop in home prices for DC.
  • MRIS' blog had kind words to say about this site today.
  • 1440 Church St NW #504 has apparently gone under contract.

I'll finish for this evening with a photo of a Parisian real estate agency window located on Avenue Mac-Mahon. Multiply the prices by 1.5 to get the US dollar-based price. I can't speak to whether the prices are high or low, but ~$730,000 will get you a 4th floor 3 room apartment near the l'Arc de Triomphe. It's approximately 600 sq ft in size and includes a wine cellar [click on the photo, look at the ad, upper left]. And mortgage interest is not deductible in France.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Bon Jour de Grace

Despite their best efforts, ni cheminots ni professeurs ni fonctionnaires going on strike will stop me from catching my Air France flight to Frankfurt Wednesday night for Thanksgiving dinner in Wiesbaden. I'm just glad I didn't leave Tuesday.

I'll be back the first week of December, raring to go to analyze September's sales in the District and create more heat maps, although mine aren't nearly as neat as these [Firefox required]. At least not yet.

Have a great Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sales Heat Map: Zip Code 20009

Now that I've "heat mapped" 20005, I thought I'd next try my hand at 20009. As part of my continuous effort to understand what is selling where, I've begun analyzing 2007 residential sales per zip code per square to "heat map" the sales. In other words, I've taken 2007 home and condo sales through August 2007 [the last full month of data I have in my database] and, for each zip code, calculated and mapped the average sales price for each square in the zip code.

Squares

All properties in the District - for that matter,everywhere in the US - are identified by the square and lot on which they are located. Compared to 20009, 20005 was a cake walk: 20005 recorded sales in 19 squares while 20009 recorded them in 111. That 'volume' of squares is more than I can depict graphically using my antediluvian methods. Consequently, I used Google Maps' KML technology to create my heat map. I couldn't find a reference with the geocodings I needed for each square in the District so I had to improvise. The resulting map may be a little imprecise, but I believe it's close enough to give you an idea of what's going on.

Sales

According to my database, the District recorded 703 sales in zip code 20009 through the end of August. I've excluded anything the District has not designated a home [rowhouse, detached, or semi-detached] or a condo, leaving 661 sales recorded [multifamily conversions are excluded because I cannot be certain they're truly single family homes]. It turns out that 575 of those sales were condos; of the rest, 81 were rowhouses, 1 was a detached home, and 4 were semi-detached homes.

The chart below shows the distribution of sales in the area. Half [51.1%] of the units sold for $475,000 or less.

Total dollar volume for 2007 sales in 20009 during the period was $338,376,489, roughly four times that of 20005.

Heat Map

My data is granular enough to allow me to 'heat map' the District on a per square basis. My challenge has been finding the right technology to do this at an affordable price using my limited skills. Fortunately, Google Maps offers a solution that I can use without having to become a AJAX/PHP/Javascript coder; I just have to learn KML for zip codes like 20009. The interactive map below shows sales data for zip code 20009. I emphasize interactive because you can click on an icon on the map below and its data will be displayed; you can move and pan the map, too. You do not have to leave this site.

The legend at right explains the colors used for each pin on the map. For example, a yellow pin on a square means the average price for the square is between $700,001 and $850,000. You'll get the exact data when you click the pin.


View Larger Map

I'd appreciate feedback on whether using this type of map is helpful.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Sales Heat Map: Zip Code 20005

As part of my continuous effort to understand what is selling where, I've begun analyzing 2007 residential sales per zip code per square. In other words, I've taken 2007 home and condo sales through August 2007 [the last full month of data I have in my database] and, for each zip code, determined sales for each square in the zip code.

For my first such analysis, I thought I'd look at zip code 20005, home to Logan Circle and part of historic Shaw. The area has undergone a lot of renovation and development in the past 10 years; I've reported on quite a few condos that have been built there since 2003 [Lofts 14, Lofts 14 Two, Saxon Court, etc.]. A good friend lives off of Logan Circle so I've spent a fair amount of time in the area in the past four years, which is striking because when I first lived in DC in the late 80s and early 90s, no one ventured to Logan Circle because it was considered a risky neighborhood.

Squares

All properties in the District - for that matter, everywhere in the US - are identified by the square and lot on which they are located. The map below shows the squares for zip code 20005 for which the District recorded sales through August 2007. For example, condos located on the 1400 block of Church St NW are on square 0209. For those who know the area, Whole Foods is on square 0210.

Sales

The district recorded 186 sales in zip code 20005. To be consistent with my previous analyses, I've excluded anything the District has not designated a home [rowhouse, detached, or semi-detached] or a condo, leaving 179 sales recorded through August 2007 [multifamily conversions are excluded because I cannot be certain they're truly single family homes]. It turns out that all 2007 sales for zip code 20005 have been condos; not one single family home has been sold in the zip code.

The chart below shows the distribution of sales in the area. As in previous analyses, more than half of the units sold [97 of 179, or 54.2%] were sold for $450,000 or less; $450,000 seems to be the magic number for the District.

According to the table below, square 0211 has the honor of having the highest average and median sales price recorded in the neighborhood, averaging $554/sq ft.

Total dollar volume for 2007 sales in 20005 is $82,103,001.

Heat Map

One thing I've always wanted to do is depict District sales using a heat map, i.e., using color to indicate price ranges on a spatial basis. My data is granular enough to allow me to 'heat map' the District on a per square basis. My challenge has been finding the right technology to do this at an affordable price using my limited skills. Fortunately, Google Maps offers a solution that I can use without having to become a AJAX/PHP/Javascript coder. The interactive map below shows sales data for zip code 20005. I emphasize interactive because you can click on an icon on the map below and its data will be displayed; you can move and pan the map, too, You do not have to leave this site.

The legend at right explains the colors used for each pin on the map. For example, a yellow pin on a square means the average price for the square is between $551,000 and $650,000. You'll get the exact data when you click the pin.


View Larger Map

I'd appreciate feedback on whether using this type of map is helpful.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

MRIS October Housing Report: Stability?

MRIS released its report on October sales of existing homes and condos [those listed or sold by real estate agents] in the District this weekend. September's YoY data was jaw-droppingly bad, but October's shows that the effects of August's mortgage crackup may be lessening . Key YoY data points:

  • Dollar volume was up 3%
  • The average price was up 5.66%
  • The median price rose 4.73%
  • The number of units sold - transaction volume - was down 2.52%
  • Average days on market fell 4.62% to 62 days

In October we see:

  • Sales volume. Overall, down 2.52%. YoY, condo sales volume was up 5.65% and home sales volume dropped 10.16%. Sales volume was mostly negative across the board, the only bright spot being detached homes with 4+ bedrooms, which had a 10% increase in sales volume. Condos represented 52.37% of the units sold.
  • Dollar volume. In aggregate, up 3%. YoY, dollar volume was positive for both condos and homes. Homes with 2 or fewer bedrooms took it on the chin, experiencing a -44.47% fdecline. Condos constitute 40.66% of the dollar volume.
  • Average sales price. Overall, positive, growing 5.66% YoY. Condos fell 1.33% to $387,792 [despite positive unit sales growth] while homes increased 13.71% YoY to $622,384.
  • Days on market. DOM is 62 days. A closer look shows that more than 60% of all homes sold within 60 days, a performance metric that's been pretty consistent these past few months.
  • Inventory. Based on the month's transaction rates and active listings, there is a 6.83 month supply of condos, a 6.67% drop from September, while home inventories rose to a 8.23 month supply, a decrease of 14.74% from September. Before anyone starts popping the champagne corks, these inventory levels are 65.24% and 57.87% [condos and homes, respectively] higher than August's inventory levels and remain higher than at any point during the year prior to September.

Assuming that September's data reflected the August credit and mortgage meltdown, I suppose October's data may indicate that the market has regained its equilibrium, but inventories remain high.

Looking at the pricing trends chart [see below], it's beginning to look like prices in 2007 will be flat. At a glance, October's average prices are roughly the same as January's.

Although there was no change in transaction volume YoY for attached homes with 4+ bedrooms, their average price grew 19.71%; 8 of 45 sold were sold for more than $1MM.

Detailed Data

Average Sales Price Trends: 2007

Average Sales Price Trends: Year over Year


Average Sales Price

Dollar Volume

Transaction Volume

Friday, November 09, 2007

Update: Saxon Court

One month ago, I wrote about Saxon Court [1440 Church St NW, 20005]. Unit #504 was the catalyst for the article:

MLS DC6536200: Unit #504, listed for $1,595,000. A 2/2.5, advertised as 2300 sq ft although the District's appraisal data states 2167 sq ft. Using the District's data, the list price is $736.04 / sq ft. According to the District, it was purchased in March 2003 for $1,140,456.

It's now available for $1,500,000. Price cut: $95,000.

I also mentioned unit #603:

MLS DC6555662: Unit #603, listed for $995,000. It has 2/2 and 1441 sq ft per the District. Using the District's data, the list price is $690.49 / sq ft. According to the District, it was purchased in June 2005 for $951,000. At this price, the seller will be taking a loss on the sale after an assumed 6% real estate commission is paid.

It can be yours today for $925,000. Price reduction: $70,000.

Finally:

MLS DC6556556: Unit #604, listed for $889,000. It has 2/2 and 1476 sq ft per the District. Using the District's data, the list price is $602.30 / sq ft. According to the District, it was purchased in January 2003 for $619,930.

Apparently, this one is under contract. I'll keep an eye for it when it hits the District's sales database.

For some perspective, in zip code 20005 the median household income is $45,705, the average household income is $69,691. These condos are reducing their list prices by more than most of their neighbors earn in a year. Not that there's anything wrong with that...

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

There is justice in the world

From today's NY Times. Read it and weep [crocodile tears]:

"Wall Street bonuses may be the latest victim of the subprime mortgage collapse and the tight credit market. Over all, bonuses are expected to be flat to down 15 percent, according to compensation experts and Wall Street executives...

But this year, bonuses for some fixed-income professionals, who have been the kings of Wall Street for more than six years, will fall 5 to 20 percent, say analysts and Wall Street executives, while investment banking is expected to be up about 10 percent."

Monday, November 05, 2007

Fortune Magazine to DC: Watch out below!

I received the November 17 issue of Fortune magazine Saturday. It has an interesting article entitled "Real Estate: Buy, Sell, or Hold?" The gist of the article is:

  • There's a long standing relationship between housing prices and rents in each real estate market.
  • Thanks to the real estate boom, the Price/Rents [P/R] ratio in most markets got out of whack.
  • Now that the boom has gone bust, the P/R ratios should begin reverting to their historic averages through a combination of falling housing prices and rising rents.

Fortune calculated the P/R for 54 markets and then determined how large a price decline would "bring prices back to their historical relationship to rents." For the greater DC area, they calculated that the P/R ratio in June 2007 was 26.0 while the 15 year average was 15.9. The magazine estimates that prices in the DC market have to fall 38.9% to "return to normal levels."

To further illustrate how bad it could get, they took the typical high end home and projected its price in five years [a high end home is defined as one selling for double the local median price]. Fortune estimated the typical high end home in the greater DC area sells for $856,000 today; in five years, they project it will sell for $641,000, a 25% drop.

I'll link to the article once [if] it hits Fortune's web site.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Early Holiday Shopping

Received these in my email this evening. I've already made my list for the holidays, but in case you're still in doubt, this might help.