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EYA’s Little Falls Place

LittleFallsPlaceThis week Amy and I attended the Realtor grand opening of EYA’s new showroom for the soon to be built Little Falls Place townhouse community.  The project is nestled along the Little Falls Parkway between River Road and Massachusetts Avenue and will be accessed by a new bridge to be built over the existing Willet branch (creek) that meanders along the Little Falls watershed and park.  Thirty townhomes will be built at the project including 25 two-car garage townhomes starting at $1,385,000, and five one-car garage units priced below $200,000, as required by Montgomery County Workforce Housing regulations.  In Montgomery County, Workforce Housing is intended to be housing affordable to households whose incomes are too high to be eligible to participate in the Moderately Priced Dwelling Unit (MPDU) Program.  How high is too high but still qualifies?  Single people in the $75,000 range and a family of four near $100,000.   I suspect demand for these five Workforce units will be high!  The larger four level townhouses will have approximately 2,500 square feet of interior space and a roof-top terrace that will have a gas fireplace and options for a retractable awning, outdoor grill and kitchenette.  The expected delivery date of the project is February of 2014.

LittleFallsPlaceSiteThe new garage townhomes will be constructed with views overlooking the park and have access to the Capital Crescent Trail that runs along the north edge of the property.  EYA describes the project’s architectural style as Mid-Century modern, which is quite a real estate buzzword right now.  The origins of this architectural style in the U.S. go back to Frank Lloyd Wright’s “organic architecture” at the turn of the century and he in turn was influenced by the International and Bauhaus movements that included the designs of Mies Van Der Rohe (which inspired the modern Glass House in Connecticut by Philip Johnson).  I really like this Frank Lloyd Wright style of architecture and built a “prairie” style home that reflects this Mid-Century modern design a few years ago in Bethesda (8400 Westmont Court, Bethesda, MD 20817).  EYA’s interpretation of the Mid-Century modern style is reflected in the project’s integration into the park-like setting of the site.  The project features strong vertical lines of deep hued metal and lots of large glass windows that reflect and mirror the surrounding woods.  Quartzite stone and wood grained exterior (actually made from low maintenance fiber cement) accent the project and the artist’s illustrations depict attractive paneled wood garage doors as well.  The interiors will be luxuriously appointed with hardwood flooring, an abundance of electronic home management options, top of the line appliances and luxury amenities.  All this in an environmentally friendly home built to LEED for Homes standards.  EYA’s slogan is “life within walking distance” and this project personifies the hottest trend in real estate toward the development of communities that have easy access to restaurants, shops and urban conveniences.  I think this community could be a great option for aging baby boomers who are ready to downsize but not quite ready for condominium living!  Want to know more?  Call us!

SOLD! 5803 Devonshire Dr., Bethesda, MD

5803Devonshire

 

 

 

 

 

 

We just helped a family sell this classic brick colonial in the highly sought after Wood Acres community.

  • Virtual Tour
  • List Price $799,000
  • 3 Bedrooms
  • 2 Full Bathrooms
  • 2 Half Bathrooms
  • Two dens on the first floor
  • Detached converted garage
  • Rear loaded one car attached garage

What can we help you sell?

“Intelligence” is coming to Bethesda

ICC-B2The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) has begun breaking ground on a major overhaul of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (also formerly known as The Defense Mapping Agency) which was located on Sangamore Road, opposite the Sumner Place shopping center.  The new facility will be called the Intelligence Community Campus – Bethesda (ICC-B for short) and will accommodate 3,000 employees and feature a new six story parking garage as well a sleek glass facade that will wrap around the current buildings (two will be demolished) creating one unified modern structure. After months of wrangling with nearby community associations, the DIA has committed to addressing many of the civic group’s concerns regarding the size and scope of the “sabotage-secured” garage and impacts to the heavily forested area surrounding the 39 acre facility and the nearby Potomac River watershed.

ICC-B3

The project should be substantially completed by 2016 and has been redesigned to integrate more organically into the surrounding park setting.  The new plan calls for an integration of metal and glass that will mimic the vertical nature of the surrounding trees and emulate the deeper earth tones of the nearby landscape.

While the exact nature of the work to be performed at the site remains “sensitive” to national security interests, one of the interesting commitments made by the DIA was that the DIA does not “intend” to emit any electromagnetic (or other) signals that will interfere with neighborhood electronic devices.  We live nearby (and I could not survive without my cell phone) so that’s a relief!

Matthew Fontaine Maury "Pathfinder of the Seas"

Matthew Fontaine Maury
“Pathfinder of the Seas”

One small footnote to this post is that one of the buildings at the facility is called Maury Hall, named after the famed oceanographer and United States naval Commander Matthew Fontaine Maury.  Maury was known as the “Pathfinder of the Seas” having made many important contributions to charting winds and ocean currents, as well as publishing the first significant scientific book on Oceanography.  I am indeed related to the storied Commander but I’m not sure he would have approved of my conduct aboard my brother Scott’s sail boat this summer while on an excursion on the Chesapeake.  In rough seas I spent a great deal of the trip leaning over the side of the boat.  Amy of course was enjoying the ride!

Real Estate Update: Sales Up and Prices Down

UpDown

Sales of detached homes in Bethesda increased by 8.5% in 2012 to 762 homes sold.  The average and median home prices however dipped lower, by 2.2% and 1.6% respectively.  The average price for a detached home in Bethesda in 2012 was $949,546, a decrease of $21,757 below the average price in 2011.

Normally when sales activity rises average and median prices follow along.  This year was different because the increase in sales volume was not distributed evenly across all price ranges.  Rather the range between $750,000 and $900,000 saw the lion’s share of the increase in activity and this lowered the overall average and median prices.  This is good news! Prices are not falling but rather more people are entering the market and buying homes.  Our market is actually poised to grow and it won’t be long before prices begin to reflect this increased demand.

Nearby this has already begun to happen.  The District of Columbia real estate market is on fire.  Demand for housing has reduced the supply of inventory of available homes by over 36%.  This past year the average price of all homes in DC is up nearly 11% and the median price has jumped nearly 18%!  In Montgomery County the supply of homes for sale has also contracted sharply by over 30% and the County’s median price has increased nearly 5%.

SOLD! 4970 Sentinel Drive, Bethesda, MD

4970Sentinel504

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We just helped the owner of this condominium secure multiple contracts on her Sumner Village Condominium and sell the condo over the asking price.

  • Asking price: $524,000
  • Unit #504
  • 2 Bedrooms
  • 2 Full Baths
  • 2 tandem covered parking spaces
  • Updated Brazilian cherry floors
  • Overlooking Little Falls Park

What can we help you sell?

SOLD! 7622 Winterberry La., Bethesda, MD

We helped a young family find this spacious, split-colonial style home in Bethesda that was not yet on the market.  We networked with one of the top agents in the Bethesda market and found our client a unique pre-market opportunity.

  • List Price: $795,000
  • Bedrooms: 5
  • Bathrooms: 3
  • One Car Garage
  • Large lot
  • Updated Pella windows throughout!

 What can we find for you?

SOLD! 5105 Duvall Dr., Bethesda, MD

5105 Duvall

This classic Westmoreland Hills colonial featured a slate roof, first floor family room (converted from former 2 car garage) and a newly finished attic.

SOLD! 6004 Cobalt Road, Bethesda, MD

Screen shot 2012-12-01 at 12.10.24 PM

We helped the buyers find this Woodacres Colonial nestled on a quiet street with large backyard with future expansion potential.

  • $810,000
  • 3 Bedrooms
  • 2.5 Baths
  • Finished Basement
  • Garage

What can we find for you?

Day 8: The Sunday Snapshot, Bethesda Real Estate

Each year we review statistics on Bethesda Real Estate to track trends and keep up with the appreciation, or rarely, depreciation of the home values in Bethesda.

I have good news to report.  For the second year in a row Bethesda real estate home values have increased. 

In 2011, seven hundred detached homes were sold at an average price of  $983,721 an increase in value of 3.5%, or increase of $33,057.

Since 2009 home values have increased over $60,000, or an increase of nearly 6.5%.  I’ve had prospective purchasers tell me at open houses that they “are waiting until the market reaches the bottom” before purchasing.  They often surprised when I tell them that the real estate “train has already left the station.”The chart at right depicts the 10-year price performance of the Bethesda real estate market for detached homes (zip codes 20814, 20816, 20817).  As you can see if we keep up the same pace we should eclipse Bethesda’s all-time high by the end of 2013!

It’s been widely reported that Bethesda is one of America’s most highly educated towns and that may explain why real estate is performing so well here.  Our residents understand that we are experiencing a period of abnormally low-interest rates and the cost of buying a home has never been more affordable.  The chart at right shows the average rate of interest charged on 30-year conforming loans (loans currently at or below $417,000) since 1980.

In 2011 the average interest rate for a 30-year conforming loan for the year was 4.45% (as of December the rate had dipped to the lowest point EVER! at 3.96%).  The 15-year rates fell to 3.25% in December!  Rates are now less than half the average rate over the last 20 years!  The smart money here in town knows this won’t last forever so they are taking advantage of these historically low rates and locking in for the long-haul.  There are many economists that believe that 30 year fixed-rate loans may become a thing of the past (due to the risks involved to investors) and these loans will no longer be made available.  The point I’m making here is that now is the time to borrow money (if you can afford it of course) and leverage your housing investment.

Amy and I are looking forward to another exciting and challenging year helping Bethesda residents buy and sell their homes! Today is Sunday January 8, “Playoff Weekend”, and Amy’s beloved Pittsburgh Steelers take on the Denver Broncos -the AFC’s most unusual wildcard team.  Go Steelers! (hey I gotta root for my gal’s team if the ‘skins are out!) ~Brian

Day 345: The Sunday Snapshot, Bethesda Real Estate

It’s Sunday, December 11, 2011 and exactly 2 weeks before Christmas.  It appears that many real estate agents have decided to take the rare Sunday off as there are only 36 open houses scheduled for today in Bethesda and Chevy Chase.  Here is a link to a site where you can find them all: www.HomesDatabase.com.

RE/MAX Real Estate Professionals www.KeystoBethesda.com

If you’re looking to put the keys to a new home under your tree this year, you might need to work with a Buyer’s Agent instead of trying to find your dream home by simply visiting open houses.  Today, you will find less than 1% of the available inventory is open for viewing.

There are plenty of advantages to hiring a Buyer’s Agent other than the obvious one of easier access to ALL the homes on the market.  Choose wisely and your Buyer’s Agent will provide helpful (often money-saving) advice.  Choose a professional with many years of local real estate experience and you will gain insights into neighborhood amenities and/or negative factors to consider, school information and negotiation advice.

The professional Buyer’s Agent is your advocate and your link to professional mortgage lenders, inspectors, contractors, settlement attorneys and others you will need as you proceed with a home purchase.  Look for someone who is experienced, proactive, communicative and a good listener!  This may not always be the area “top producer.”

Also, make sure your agent really knows the local market.  If someone works very broad geographic areas but has no particular specific market emphasis, they may not have the detailed insights that you need, especially in a town like ours.  Bethesda and Chevy Chase can vary drastically from street-to-street in terms of the value proposition of the land and homes – take for example Edgemoor versus any surrounding neighborhood.  Edgemoor demands a pretty significant premium.  These things are not advertised but experienced local agents, similar to local appraisers, know the financial implications of location!

There is essentially no cost to you to work with a Buyer’s Agent so take advantage of this built-in perk in real estate.  Would you represent yourself in court?  Probably not.  So why represent yourself in what may be the single largest financial investment of your life?

If a new home is on your Christmas list or one of your New Year’s resolutions, look to a professional local Buyer’s Agent to guide you through the process – and if you just want to browse at some interesting homes today, here are a few that caught my eye:

8215 Custer Rd - Photo by MRIS

8215 Custer Rd in the Greenwich Forest Neighborhood – List Price $2,195,000 – Architecturally interesting and in a great location close to downtown. Listed by Long and Foster.

5506 Hoover St in the Huntington Terrace neighborhood of Bethesda – List Price $899,000 (Recently reduced!) – Looks much smaller from the street than it is.  New addition on the back side of the home is stunning.  Convenient location and Whitman schools! Listed by Long and Foster.

8007 Park Ln in the Battery Park neighborhood of Bethesda – List price $650,000.  Ooo La La!  Walk to Bethesda for that price?  Yes, the home needs work but the Battery Park neighborhood is hard to get into – especially at this price point.  This home is an interesting proposition for the investor or renovator.  Listed by Prudential PenFed Realty.

I will be visiting these today too.  Maybe I will see you there?  Happy Sunday.     ~Amy

Day 338: The Sunday Snapshot, Bethesda Real Estate

It’s another beautiful fall day in Bethesda.  Fresh air, football, home-cooked meals, soccer games and leaf-raking may be on your agenda…and perhaps visits to open houses too.  If so, here are some up-to-the-minute statistics and information you might want to keep in mind.

Bethesda Colonial Home in the Sumner Neighborhood

First of all, a great resource to find open house listings is www.HomesDataBase.com.  As of 12:30 PM, there are 63 open houses scheduled for today in Bethesda and Chevy Chase – most from 1-4 PM, but check the listings if you have a certain house in mind.  Sometimes you will find that homes are open from 2 PM – 4 PM.

Here is a quick snapshot of our local real estate statistics recently:

  • Currently there are 341 homes, townhomes, condos, etc. actively listed for sale in Bethesda and Chevy Chase.
  • Of those, 240 are detached homes at a whopping average price of $1,443,542! (Median: $1,152,500)
  • Right now there are 112 detached homes in Bethesda and Chevy Chase that are under contract awaiting settlement.  Interestingly, the average price of those is $999,490 but the median price is only $839,450.  That’s quite a contrast.
  • In NOVEMBER 2011, according to MRIS*, there were 69 detached homes sold in Bethesda and Chevy Chase.  The median price: $850,000.  The average price $965,312.  These homes took an average of 69 days to sell.

    www.KeystoBethesda.com

Our market is not back to its peak, but it is certainly showing some strong indications that we have a healthy balanced market, unlike many other regions throughout the nation.  With interest rates remaining low and year-over-year price improvements evident for the last 2 years, our real estate market offers a great long-term investment opportunity.   Happy house-hunting!     ~Amy

(*All data cited in this article is from the MRIS, Metropolitan Regional Information System.)

Day 324: The Sunday Snapshot, Bethesda Real Estate

Bethesda in Fall Bloom

It’s Sunday, November 20th and despite the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, the Bethesda-Chevy Chase real estate market is still open for business.  There are 47 detached homes scheduled to be open today and 13 condos or attached units.  To find the details and properties of interest to you, we suggest a visit to www.HomesDatabase.com.

REAL ESTATE NEWSFLASH:  There were some important changes to our real estate market this past Friday when President Obama signed into law a bill reinstating higher limits for FHA loans in higher-cost markets such as our Metro DC area.  The ruling partially repeals the decreased limits that came into effect on October 1st of this year which lowered the conforming loan limits from $729,750 to $625,500 – a change which essentially knocked some purchasers right out of the market and severely increased the costs of homeownership to others.  The lower limits required buyers to put more money down and/or reduce the price of the home they would buy in order to afford the costs of the loan.

With the average home in the Bethesda-Chevy Chase area hovering near $900,000, the pickin’s are slim when a buyer only has $625,500 of mortgage money available for financing.  This new law, effective on Friday, re-instated the $729,750 limit and re-opened the higher priced market again to purchasers using FHA mortgages, allowing them to put as little as 3.5% down and finance up to the new loan limit.

www.KeystoBethesda.com

While the re-instated FHA loan limit is terrific news for our area, the ruling did not apply to Fannie-Mae or Freddie-Mac insured loans, leaving those who would prefer conventional financing versus FHA still facing higher costs of financing since anything above the $625,500 mortgage loan limit (as of October 1st) still requires the purchaser to obtain a Jumbo Loan.  Jumbos go hand-in-hand with higher fees and higher interest rates.

As our economy still struggles with its rehabilitation after the Great Recession, I think we can all agree that the health of our real estate market nation-wide is a critical piece of our economic recovery and that homeownership is not only still a great American Dream, but it’s still a great long-term investment too.

~Amy

Day 317: The Sunday Snapshot, Bethesda Real Estate

www.KeystoBethesda.com

It’s Sunday, November 13th and time for another Sunday Snapshot of our local Bethesda Real Estate market.  As usual, there are quite  a lot of homes available to visit at open houses today – most of which are open from 1-4 PM.  To check all the listings available visit: www.HomesDatabase.com provided by our local Multiple Listing Service, MRIS.

According to MRIS, there are 83 single family homes open today in Bethesda and Chevy Chase and 14 condos and townhomes.  Here are some of our picks for the best walk-to-downtown-Bethesda locations that are open today:

  • 7819 Custer Rd., Bethesda for $839,900
  • 5506 Hoover St., Bethesda $930,000
  • 7612 Glenbrook Rd., Bethesda for $1,049,000
  • 4436 Ridge St., Chevy Chase for $1,675,000
  • 4400 Elm St., Chevy Chase for 1,795,000

and our favorite walk-to-Bethesda selection is:

A Tuscan Villa in Bethesda - 5306 Bradley Blvd

5306 Bradley Blvd., for $1,695,000 a beautifully updated and charming Tuscan villa that sits on a 20,319 sq. ft. lot – that’s almost a 1/2 acre.  The original home was built in the 1930’s and there have been additions and beautiful updates to it, yet its original charm is still preserved.  The yard is amazing!  There is plenty of off-street parking with a big circular driveway and a detached 2-car garage that offers a private bedroom or office space above.  It’s a must-see home!

There are a couple of townhomes we recommend as well if you’re looking for a good investment opportunity or convenient and less-expensive option for commuting on the METRO Red Line.  One of our favorite Bethesda condominiums, Hampden Square, has a 2-story condo available for $799,500 with three balconies, nice updates, a garage, 2 bedrooms and 2 1/2 baths.  Beautifully located to enjoy all the Bethesda has to offer just outside your front door.  Condo dues are high in the building but the perks are pretty terrific!  The unit address is 4801 Hampden Ln #103 and please note that it’s open only from 1 – 3 PM.

5127 King Charles Way

Another great option near the Grosvenor Metro stop is the Grosvenor Mews community.  The large 3-story townhomes are convenient, offer very low dues (~$110/month) and a ton of space!  There are two townhomes on the market and both will be open today.

Of course, here comes our shameless plug!  Brian Maury will be available to show you the unit at 5127 King Charles Way today from 1 – 4 PM.  It’s priced at $509,000 and offers two large master suites, a very large deck off the kitchen and a spacious lower-level family room.  Stop by and check it out!     ~Amy

Day 310: The Sunday Snapshot, Bethesda Real Estate

It’s Sunday, November 6th, 2011 and a great day to check out open houses in our Bethesda and Chevy Chase communities.  Most homes are open from 1-4 PM.  This Sunday there are 97 open houses scheduled, according to MRIS (Metropolitan Regional Information System)!  That’s quite a selection! To see them all, an excellent website to visit is www.HomesDatabase.com, powered directly by our local MLS (Multiple Listing System), MRIS.

Of those 97 open houses today, 73 of them are single family homes ranging in price from $515,000- $2,450,000.  The lowest price home is located at 8417 Donneybrook Dr., Chevy Chase in the neighborhood of Rock Creek Forest just off of East-West Highway.   At $2,450,000, the highest price home open today is located at 6017 Cairn Terrace in Bethesda, near Mass Ave.  It’s a sleek, interesting contemporary with a sauna, a built-in aquarium and many unique architectural features that only a contemporary home can embody!

There are 20+ condos that will be open ranging in price from $199,000  – $1,499,000.  The lowest price condo is located at 7400 Lakeview Dr. in a community called West Spring which is close to Montgomery Mall.  The highest priced condo open today is located in the sleek Lionsgate building in Bethesda at 7710 Woodmont Ave.  It will absolutely knock your socks off!  Don’t miss the rooftop terrace!  When comparing condos, keep in mind that in order to compare apples to apples on price, you should consider the not only the purchase price but also review the monthly condo fee and what it includes.  Some condo fees include all utilities and many amenities while others include only selected utilities and/or perhaps none at all.

Brian & Amy: www.KeystoBethesda.com

The Bethesda Real Estate market has managed to remain fairly healthy as compared to rest of the country even throughout the toughest times in the recession.  Great schools, higher employment rates and fewer foreclosures and short sales than most cities have all helped to buoy our real estate market above national averages.

As of September 30th of this year, the average price of a detached home in Bethesda was roughly $985,000, an increase of 3.6% over 2010.  The median price was $849,000 representing an increase of 3.4% over 2010 figures.  The average number of days it is taking a single family home to sell is 59 days in that same period – a slight improvement over 2010.  With our area showing year-over-year improvements and interest rates at record lows, this is a great time to consider buying or investing in real estate in our area.  Enjoy house hunting and give us a call if we can be of service.

For more Bethesda Real Estate market updates, follow #BethesdaBrian on Twitter and check back here, Bethesda365.com every Sunday for our new weekly Bethesda Real Estate – Sunday Snapshot.    ~Brian & Amy

Day 293: Green Home Expo at Bethesda Green

Green Home Expo - Oct. 22nd, 2011

Tomorrow, Saturday, October 22nd, Bethesda Green located at 4825 Cordell Ave will host the Green Home Expo.

The Green Home Expo is a free educational event.  Attendees will learn more about the many ways to make your home more energy efficient and how to become a more effective environmental steward in the community.  Presentations will occur throughout the day from 10 AM – 4 PM.

You can learn more about Bethesda Green and RSVP to attend the Green Home Expo event by visiting their website at www.bethesdagreen.org.  Or check out our previous blog about Bethesda Green from Day 34: It Ain’t Easy Being Green.

RE/MAX Green Agent

Sometimes the best way to make a positive stride towards environmental sustainability is to just take one step or make one small change in your routine or habits.  Perhaps the Green Home Expo would be a great way to decide what that one step might be.     ~Amy