The inventory of homes listed for sale on the local multiple listing service, Metropolitan Regional Information Services, the cupboard is pretty bare in some spots. At the current sales pace, Manassas Park City has just 1.3 months' worth of listings. Manassas City, just 1.4 months. Falls Church City, 2.1 months; and Fairfax County just 2.7 months. Arlington County has 3.9 months. The rule of thumb says 6 months' inventory marks a balanced market--favoring neither sellers nor buyers.
Mortgage interest rates dropped again this week, hitting just 4.91 percent with 0.7 points (prepaid interest) for a 30-year fixed-rate loan. That is so low it almost demands a rush to the refinancing table. (Then again, bank deposits are paying less than 2 percent, so maybe rates aren't that low, after all.)
The median home price for homes sold in the Washington, D.C., area, a vast Census territory that stretches from the Chesapeake bay to West Virginia, fell 2.5 percent during the July-September quarter compared to a year ago, according to the National Association of Realtors. The price decline was greater for Washington-area condos. At a median of $244,300, prices were down 7.1 percent compared to a year ago, or 0.2 percent compared to the second quarter of this year.
Remodeling is not dead--but it's a much more modest endeavor these days, when more homeowners are paying the tab out of their savings instead of a cheap and easy home equity loan, according to remodelers. Officials of Case Design/Remodeling, which is based in the Washington area, had some interesting things to say about remodeling in Nation's Building News, an online publication of the National Association of Home Builders. Their average project now costs about $100,000, half of what was typical in 2007, said Mark Richardson, Case co-chairman. And they're focusing much of their pitch to homeowners on the need to keep up their properties, pointing out maintenance issues that ought to be taken care of. "It will die if you don't take care of it," is Case's message.
Sesame Street launches its 40th-anniversary season Tuesday with a visit from the real estate agent. According to an Associated Press story via MSN, the agent encourages Big Bird to consider a change of habitat. After considering moving his home to the beach, the swamp or the rain forest, our big, yellow friend reportedly decides to keep his nest right where it is--on Sesame Street. I guess he didn't need the home-purchase tax credit.