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Happy New Year 2017!

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Happy New Year!

It is with gratitude that we wish our clients, Bethesda neighbors and friends a very Happy 2017 and offer our sincere thanks for your referrals and friendship!

May this new year bring wonderful surprises and much joy, peace and prosperity!

Cheers!

Brian & Amy Maury and the Maury Real Estate Team

 

 

 

Bethesda is the Best in October

Capital Crescent Trail between mile marker 6.0 and 6.5

Capital Crescent Trail between mile marker 6.0 and 6.5

Bethesda is truly a wonderful place to be in the fall and there is no better time than the month of October.  The leaves begin to change color and the air cools off but remains warm enough to sport a light sweater or jacket and a comfy light scarf.  Take a walk on the ever-popular Capital Crescent Trail and perhaps you’ll spot a deer, a fox or an owl hovering in the trees.  Oh, and there’s always pumpkin this-and-that to grab at one of the 180+ area restaurants.  C’mon, you know you want that taste of fall no matter how cliche!

Looking for something to do besides eating and drinking in Bethesda?  For you more adventurous types, check out our concerts, classes, exhibits and events around town at the non-profit Bethesda Urban Partnership or “BUP”.  Established in 1994, the organization creates and promotes a variety of  events and festivals for the community.

Sculptures on Woodmont Ave.

Sculptures on Woodmont Ave.

One of our favorite events is the upcoming Bethesda Row Arts Festival scheduled this year for Saturday, October 15th, 2016 from 11 AM -6 PM and Sunday, October 16th, 2016 from 10 AM – 5 PM.  The event is FREE…. What’s not to love?!

Oh right, you won’t love the parking!  Perhaps try parking just outside of town at the Bethesda Pool and walking into town on the Capital Crescent Trail (about 1/2 mile).  At this time of year, it’s a perfect stroll and you’ll pop right out onto Bethesda Ave in the heart of the festival.  Enjoy!

 

Sold! Charming Colonial with Room to Play!

5810 Augusta Lane, Bethesda located in Glen Mar Park

5810 Augusta Lane, Bethesda located in Glen Mar Park

5810 Augusta Lane, Bethesda, MD 20816

List Price: $819,000 – SOLD!  Call for sale price.

Click Home Tour to see the additional photos and floorplan tour.

Ideally located in Glen Mar Park off Massachusetts Ave, this classic brick colonial features a renovated kitchen with stainless steel appliances, new cabinetry, granite countertops and tile flooring.  Formal living room with wood-burning fireplace & mantle opens to a screened porch with a ceiling fan.  Spacious family room off the kitchen and a convenient bathroom and laundry area on the main floor. Upstairs you will find an en-suite master bedroom plus a hall bath and two additional bedrooms with hardwood floors.  The finished basement includes a recreation room and a fully renovated bathroom.

Back yard with deck and trellis with mature vines.

Back yard with deck and trellis with mature vines.

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Fully renovated kitchen!

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Elegant traditional floorplan

There is room to play in the generous fenced backyard!  The spacious deck is perfect for entertaining with built-in seating and a trellis for shade.  Plenty of room to expand the home on this property, if desired.

The Glen Mar Park community offers a playground just steps from the home and annual parties and events.  Convenient shopping is available nearby including Whole Foods, Starbucks, CVS & Rite Aid, Giant Foods, Safeway, and several restaurants including the popular Praline Bakery and Bistro.

The Capital Crescent Trail is close by.  Enjoy an easy commute to DC with access to the Metro bus to Friendship Heights at Massachusetts Ave or catch the D5 commuter bus direct to DC.

Enjoy some of the finest schools in the nation including Woodacres Elementary, Pyle Middle School and Walt Whitman High School.

Popular Capital Crescent Trail nearby

Popular Capital Crescent Trail nearby

Just steps to the community playground!

Just steps to the community playground!

Please contact Brian and Amy Maury for information on this truly special home.

Listed by: Maury Real Estate, 301-229-3652.

Chase Away the Winter Blues in Bethesda

Lemon Almond Cake at Praline Bakery

Lemon Almond Cake at Praline Bakery

After the epic blizzard, Snowzilla, last weekend many Bethesda residents are experiencing cabin fever!  We found today that a delectable dessert like Lemon Almond Cake at Praline Bakery in Bethesda chased the blues away!

Sick of the melting snow everywhere?  There’s nothing like a sunny slice of heaven melting in your mouth to make your day a little brighter.  We highly recommend a slice…or maybe the whole cake!

 

Praline Bakery is located at 4611 Sangamore Rd, Bethesda, MD 20816 in The Shops at Sumner Place.

2015 Real Estate Year in Review

It was a solid year of price performance for homes in our Bethesda area in 2015. The average price of detached home in Bethesda (zip codes 20814, 20816 and 20817) climbed to $1,117,073, an increase of 2% over 2014. The median price of a detached home was $945,000, an increase of 2.6% over 2014. That may not seem like much but by way of comparison, the S&P 500 index finished a choppy year just under where it started.

Screen Shot 2016-01-04 at 6.10.42 PMIt took a little longer to sell a detached home in Bethesda last year. The average days to secure a contract climbed from 36 days to 40 days.

The big story this past year was the increase in the number of homes sold in our area. There were 813 detached homes sold in Bethesda this past year, an increase of 12% over 2014.  By way of comparison, the high-water mark of detached home sales in Bethesda occurred in 2003 (four years before the financial crisis began) with 1,030 homes being sold that year.

Low interest rates, combined with a steadily growing economy, have helped consumers feel more confident in their jobs and financial future. Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board, summed it up this way,

“As 2015 draws to a close, consumers’ assessment of the current state of the economy remains positive, particularly their assessment of the job market. Expectations regarding their financial outlook are mixed, but the optimists continue to outweigh the pessimists.”

There has been much hype recently about the Federal Reserve’s hike in the discount rate (the first rate-hike in nearly a decade) and the impact on interest rates. The 0.25% Fed rate hike won’t have an immediate effect on mortgage rates. However, 30-year fixed rate mortgage rates have risen over the past year, from 3.75% at the beginning of the year to 4.0% at the end of December, and will likely go higher.  The Office of the Chief Economist at Freddie Mac recently gave these insights, “We don’t expect tighter monetary policy to generate a spike in longer-term interest rates in the foreseeable future…While mortgage rates will rise modestly, they will remain at historically low levels.”

InterestRateMost economist are predicting that mortgage interest rates will gradually rise into the 4.25% to 4.5% range over the coming year. This is bad news for first-time and trade-up buyers but overall still very attractive and considered “affordable” interest rates. In contrast, interest rates were hovering around 6.5% just before the financial crisis began in 2007.

Looking ahead….
We predict 2016 will be another solid year for real estate in Bethesda with price appreciation expected again to be around 2%. Our area receives a multiplier effect locally as the national economy continues to improve and bring more people to the area for employment. As you can see by the number of cranes hovering over the downtown Bethesda skyline, our area is experiencing significant growth and development. It’s a bittersweet experience as we transition from a small town to a small city.

If you are considering the sale of your home in the future please call us! We’re here to help. We live in Bethesda and are never too busy to answer any question you may have.

~Brian & Amy

Top 3 Impacts to Home Ownership in 2015

The Year 2015 brought with it some important changes for homeowners and would-be home buyers in Montgomery County and nationwide. Here are the top 3 changes this past year:

  1. Federal Reserve Rate Hike

    Fed Implements 0.25% Rate Hike in 2015

    Fed Implements 0.25% Rate Hike in 2015

On December 16th, 2015, the Fed raised interest rates by 0.25% for the first time since June 2006. While mortgage rates will not drastically increase quite yet, you can certainly expect to a see a gradual and continuous rise in mortgage interest rates in the year ahead. If you’re thinking about buying, act sooner rather than later.

In addition, if you have an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) or home equity line of credit (HELOC), it will likely adjust upward upon your next anniversary date especially if the Fed continues to raise rates incrementally in 2016.  Most economist are predicting that mortgage interest rates will remain at historically low levels but gradually rise into the 4.25% to 4.5% range over the coming year. 

2.  Mandatory Radon Testing Required to Sell Your Home

In November 2015, the County Council approved a new regulation requiring home sellers in Montgomery County to perform radon testing before the sale of any single-family home – the first such regulation in the entire country. There are a few exceptions to this testing rule – estate sales and tear-down properties are among them. The new regulation goes into effect in October 2016.  While there is no requirement for the installation of a remediation system based on testing results, a buyer will be permitted to cancel a home sale contract if the seller should refuse to do so. The cost of installing a radon remediation system is usually around $1,000.

Radon testing required as of Oct. 2016

Radon testing required as of Oct. 2016

There has been a great deal of controversy surrounding this new legislation. While proponents assert that buyers need to be informed about radon and the impacts of this odorless, colorless carcinogenic gas that may be present in homes, opponents challenge that the testing requirement is ridiculous for a number of reasons including flawed test results (home kits can be purchased from stores for around $40 for a 2-day test; however, the World Health Organization and the EPA state that 90-day testing is much more accurate). Opponents have also suggested that buyer educational requirements should suffice versus mandatory testing.

  1. Massive Overhaul in Home Sale Closing Process Nationwide

    Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is now in charge

    Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is now in charge

Thinking of buying or selling a home in 2016? As of October 2015, MASSIVE changes occurred in mortgage lending laws across the country. Thanks to the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has taken over the administration of RESPA (Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act) from HUD (Housing and Urban Development). With this new government agency comes sweeping changes including new forms, new rules and new time frames for a typical home sale. These changes are nationwide affecting home sellers, home buyers, settlement attorneys, mortgage lenders and real estate agents alike.

The goal of this reform was to simplify the information provided to buyers and make mortgages more transparent and easier for the consumer to understand. As with most any government agency created to “simplify” things, complaints run rampant that these new changes are more confusing, more time consuming and more expensive for everyone.

If you are planning to buy or sell a home in 2016, expect longer settlement times (45-60 days versus 30 days), new procedures and new forms you have never seen before. Contact Brian and Amy Maury or your mortgage lending professional to discuss these changes in more detail.

The Westbard Vision

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Concept Rendering of the New Westbard Ave in Bethesda from Equity One

Equity One, a publicly-traded real estate investment trust specializing in neighborhood retail shopping centers, acquired Westbard Shopping Center, Westwood Center II, Westwood Towers, Springhouse by Manor Care, Bowlmor Lanes and two Citgo gas stations on Westbard Avenue in Bethesda.  The properties stretch over 22 acres.

The company states that their mission is to create a “modern, comfortable gathering space offering convenient shopping and dining integrated with community spaces, green places and a walkable streetscape.”  While their “vision” for Westbard/Westwood is still a conceptual one, plans are moving forward rapidly towards approval of a Final Master Plan from Montgomery County slated for the Spring 2016.

The vision includes a complete renovation of the area including redesigning traffic flow from adjacent River Road and Massachusetts Avenue, including pedestrian walk-ways, street redesigns and more.  There is a plan to add about 600 residential units which has created elevated concern from area residents about the already overcrowded schools and local streets.

Through a series of community meetings in the Summer and Fall 2014, Equity One gathered comments and feedback from area residents.  In addition, on March 4th, 2015, they completed a traffic analysis using Wells + Associates, their traffic engineer.

Their analysis determined that “even with all of these changes, the identified intersections will still allow traffic to flow at a satisfactory level measured against the nationally recognized standards employed by the county.”  Montgomery County will also conduct a traffic analysis in the near future.  Incidentally, residents may like to hear that the plan includes a shuttle to the Metro Red Line.

In February of 2015, Equity One shared its initial concept plans for the redevelopment of the area and provided a power point presentation on their website including renderings of the proposed changes.  Click here to view the presentation.

Upcoming important dates include a public hearing of the draft plan currently scheduled for May 14, 2015.  In the Fall of 2015, the County Council will hold a Public Hearing.  The Final Master Plan is slated for approval in the Spring 2016.

For a full list of dates and activities see the Montgomery County website at: www.montgomeryplanning.org/community/westbard.

Facebook.com/PlanWestbard

Information hotline at 301-495-4567

To track Equity One progress including their presentations, proposed plans, blog posts and Frequently Asked Questions page, visit: WestbardVision.com

As for us, we will be closely tracking the progress of these activities.  Feel free to Contact Us to discuss opinions and thoughts on the big changes ahead for our community, including impacts to residential home values.

Bethesda Home Prices Surpass Record!

Home prices in the Bethesda area have surged forward this year eclipsing the annual record detached home price set in 2007.

On January 5th, Bethesda Magazine published an article reflecting this data, quoting Brian Maury of Maury Real Estate, on its local daily news website, Bethesda Beat.  According to data from our local multiple listing service, the average price of a detached home in Bethesda (zip codes 20814, 20816, and 20817) increased by over $47,890 in 2014. The average price of a detached home jumped to $1,093,042 an increase of over 4.6% when compared to 2013.  Less impressive was the jump in median price.  The median price of a detached home in 2013 was $895,000.  The median price of a detached home in 2014 increased just $26,000, or 2.9%, to $921,000 (the median is the price at which half the sales are below that point and half are above).

Bethesda Real Estate performance 2007-2014

Bethesda Real Estate performance 2007-2014

Home prices this year have climbed to new heights in our area and while there is evidence of a sharp decline in the rate of appreciation in home values across the nation, there appears to be some momentum building up again at the end of 2014.

“After a long period when home prices rose, but at a slower pace with each passing month, we are seeing hints that prices could end 2014 on a strong note and accelerate into 2015,” says David M. Blitzer, Managing Director and Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices.
Blitzer added, “Two months ago, all 20 cities were experiencing weakening annual price increases. Last month, 18 experienced weakness. This time, 12 cities had weaker annual price growth, but eight saw the pace of price gains pick up. Seasonally adjusted, all 20 cities had higher prices than a month ago.”
Also good news is that U.S. consumer confidence (as measured by the Current Situation Index) is the highest it has been since 2008.  This optimism is translating into real economic growth.  The U.S. Department of Commerce reports that 3rd Quarter GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth increased at an impressive annual pace of 5%.

Will 2015 shape up to be another solid year for real estate in our area?  We believe so.  While the inventory of available homes in Montgomery County, MD is up nearly 30% from a year ago (only up slightly in the hotter DC real estate market), prices should continue to rise.

We predict another year of home price appreciation in the 4-5% range.  If you are considering a home purchase and/or sale in 2015, contact Brian and Amy Maury of Maury Real Estate for a no-obligation consultation.
Maury Real Estate 301-229-3652

Maury Real Estate
301-229-3652

Bethesda Row Arts Festival Oct. 18-19, 2014

Bethesda Row Arts Festival October 18-19, 2014

Bethesda Row Arts Festival October 18-19, 2014

My favorite month of the year in Bethesda is absolutely the month of October!  The fall colors come out and can be enjoyed best along the Capital Crescent Trail.  The weather is mild and the festivals in town are plentiful!  We always enjoy the Taste of Bethesda, the Friday night Art Walks, Oktoberfests  and Halloween events and of course, the Bethesda Row Arts Festival.

This year the 17th Annual Bethesda Row Arts Festival will be held on Saturday, October 18th from 11 AM to 6 PM and on Sunday, October 19th from 10 AM – 5 PM along Bethesda Ave, Elm Street and Woodmont.  Admission is free.

Bethesda Arts Festival 2013

Bethesda Arts Festival 2013

 

With approximately 90 vendors exhibiting their talents, you are sure to find something to excite the senses and compliment your decor…or perhaps a unique holiday gift for a loved one.

Prices will range from around $20 up to tens of thousands.  Whether you intend to make a purchase or just enjoy the show, it’s always fun to stroll around with a warm cup of java and listen to the live music while soaking in the art and the atmosphere.  Rain or shine the show will go on.  For more details check out BethesdaRowArts.org.

Nom Nom…Taste of Bethesda is here!

Taste of Bethesda 2013

Taste of Bethesda 2013

This weekend you can snack to your heart’s delight at the 25th Annual Taste of Bethesda this Saturday, October 11th, 2014 from 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM.  Tickets cost $5 for a bundle of 4 and each taste can range from 1-4 tickets.  (Ticket sales will end at 3:30 PM.)

Although there will be over 60 restaurants available to tickle your taste buds, you can delight other senses too as you enjoy live music on any of the five (5) stages that will offer performances throughout the day.  The experience is always a favorite among Bethesda locals and visitors alike with tens of thousands in attendance.  Walk, bike or ride the Metro which is only 3 blocks away as parking will be a bear.  But it’s worth it!   The event takes place over several blocks around the Woodmont Triangle including Del Ray, Norfolk, Auburn and Cordell.  Come hungry!

Fine Fun at Bethesda Fine Arts Festival 2014

Bethesda Fine Arts Fest 2014

Bethesda Fine Arts Fest 2014

Calling all art enthusiasts!  Don’t miss the last day of the 11th Annual Bethesda Fine Arts Festival.  With over 120 booths featuring jewelry, fine art, hand-crafted furniture and more, this annual tradition is one of my personal favorites in our town.

This year the festival is located at Auburn & Norfolk Avenues at Woodmont Triangle.  It’s open Saturday, May 10th from 10 AM – 6 PM and Sunday, May 11th from 10 AM to 5 PM.  FREE parking everywhere – all meters and public garages on Sunday.  Live bands are featured throughout the day including one of our favorites, The 19th Street Band who is playing today from 12:30 – 2:30 PM.  The Fine Arts Festival is produced by Bethesda Urban Partnership and the Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District.  

P.S. A little tip we can give you from our visit yesterday – the chili dog at the Hard Times Cafe booth is absolutely irresistible!  If you do not intend to eat a chili dog, don’t even go near there!  Even though we had just had lunch, we caved and HAD to indulge in a chili dog.  Frankly, I can’t say I regret it!

So take Mom out today and enjoy the art, the music and perhaps some mouth-watering fun at the Bethesda Fine Arts Festival!

The Rich History of Our Town Bethesda

This 15 minute video on the history of our town, Bethesda, is worth a watch!  You’ll learn about some famous people behind the street names you recognize in the area such as Lilly Stone, Tuckerman, Leland and more.  You find out about the New Deal and how Bethesda benefited from it and see the old and new photos of significant historic buildings and icons of our town, including the oldest office building still standing, the oldest road in Montgomery County and the Madonna of the Trail.  Narrated by a Bethesda native, Mr. Offutt offers a charming yet informative overview of the rich history of our town.  Enjoy!

Spring Has Arrived in Bethesda!

Rita's Crepes on Woodmont in Bethesda

Rita’s Crepes on Woodmont in Bethesda

As the sweet smell of cinnamon and sugar wafted around me this evening on Woodmont Avenue, I realized that spring has indeed finally arrived in Bethesda!  Rita’s Crepes is open for business!  Now the hard part…how to choose just one!

Capital BikeShare Rolls into Bethesda

Capital Bikeshare Bethesda

Capital Bikeshare Bethesda

It’s a new year and like many, you may have resolved to “get fit.”  Thankfully, in Bethesda it has now become just a litter easier to meet that goal with Capital Bikeshare.  Recently the company installed stations in many convenient locations around town.  Also, there are bike stations situated all over DC, Montgomery County and Virginia.  If you’re so inclined, you can virtually get around “car-free” almost anywhere in the greater DMV region.  Here is the station map of current Capital Bikeshare locations where you can grab a bike and go.

The price is pretty good too.  You have four payment options: rent for one day (or by the hour), for a 3-day period, for a month or even for a year.  The first thirty minutes of any rental is free.  As of  January, 2014, the 24-hour daily rate is $7, the 3-day rate is $15, monthly is $25 and the annual rental rate is $75 (or you can pay $7 per month with an annual agreement).  Here are the current Pricing Options.

For safety, I guess a little planning ahead is advisable though because they do not rent helmets.  However, there are many convenient shops around Bethesda where you can pick one up including Griffin Cycle Bethesda (4949 Bethesda Ave), Big Wheel Bikes (6917 Arlington Rd), Freshbikes Cycling (7626 Old Georgetown Rd), City Sports (7121 Arlington Rd), Modell’s Sporting Goods (7201 Wisconsin Ave) and RnJ Sports (4945 Elm St).  Also advisable, while planning ahead, consider skinny jeans vs. bell-bottoms – always a better bet while biking!  Happy Cycling Bethesda!

Bikeshare kiosk

Bikeshare kiosk

A Taste of Latin Fusion in Bethesda

If you are looking for a unique place to grab lunch in Bethesda you should check out Panas Gourmet Empanadas.  They have 14 different flavors of empanadas to choose from including a nice selection of vegetarian options.  These tasty pastries are served nice and hot along with a collection of sauces and plantain chips (which I couldn’t get enough of!).  We ordered the Parranda combo for two for $14. You can pick a selection of eight Empanadas along with four of their sauces and those irresistible chips all served on a fun wooden ‘boat’.

empanada tray

Parranda Combo

They have an afternoon happy hour with half price carafes of Sangria and cheap beer as well as live music on Thursday and Saturday nights from 6 PM – 9 PM.  The dining area’s comfy chairs seated at low tables allow you to really sink in and relax.

If you are looking for something sweet to finish of your meal a Jamundi looks delicious.  It’s a mix of fruit, syrup and condensed milk and looks irresistible!

Panas Gourmet Empanadasis located at 4731-A Elm St in Bethesda right near The Barking Dog.  If you are looking for a break from the monotony of sandwiches and bagels that fill your work week, stop in for a delectable treat.

cholados-jamundi

Jamundi – Photo from panasgourmet.com