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Echo Boomers: No Thanks To Home Ownership

Dec. 20, 2011
Categorized in: Buyers

How often have you heard the phrase "The American dream of home ownership" or something similar? An article in Forbes makes it clear that the Echo Boomers, the next generation of potential homebuyers, sees things differently.

I've talked before about what I saw in this group: closer ties to friends, preference for experiences over stuff and more ecologically conscience. They seem, in short, unlikely candidates for life in the suburbs, long commutes and trophy McMansions.

They are sure to change the future of the housing market.


Reason Number Five - Gas Prices

Feb. 24, 2011
Categorized in: Local Market Conditions

Yesterday we talked about four reasons home prices aren't likely to rise much any time soon. Today we'll talk about a fifth reason that has the potential for an even bigger impact.           


Gas prices shot up 20 cents yesterday in Warrenton. Sheetz Exxon was charging $3.09 yesterday morning but was showing $3.29 on the sign last night. That's quite a one day jump. And it almost inevitably means a slow down in home sales in our area.

Like it or not, home sales in our area are primarily driven by people commuting into DC or northern Virginia. That's an ugly commute on the best of days and I often talk to people trying to figure out if it makes any sense to spend 3-4 hours a day in their cars. If you add a large spike in gas prices it becomes a lot clearer to some people that this is not a good trade off.

A recent story on Marketplace on NPR talked about the premium you now get for owning a home near mass transit. Home prices for properties near mass transit actually didn't really appear to show much of a bubble and haven't tumbled. Home prices in far flung suburbs, on the other hand, got hit the hardest. You only have to look at Culpeper to see the truth of that.

I don't know if $3.29 is the number that starts to put the brakes on what's already a fairly slow market. I know that if it goes much higher heading into the busy spring season I'll be worried.

Gainesville Dying?

Apr. 14, 2009
Categorized in: Local Market Conditions

A Reuters article this week suggests that Gainesville is a dying community.

I think the article gets some things right and others wrong.

Gainesville home sales are jumping. And in the lower prices we're seeing bidding wars and/or multiple offers. That doesn't signal to me that the entire community is dying. And, yes, there are still a lot more foreclosures to come. If they come at a measured pace the market will quickly absorb them.

On the other hand, I continue to see buyers less willing to do the long commute. So, unless the pool of jobs within a reasonable driving distance of Gainesville increases, the community has some tough times ahead.

And, the further out you go (think Fauquier County) the more commuters have opted out.

Are new, good jobs going to be created in these communities? Or, are we simply going to be smaller?

A Few Odds and Ends

Apr. 29, 2008
Categorized in: Miscellaneous

Did you know that only 2% of homeowners ever challenge their property tax assessments? But the ones who do have a 75% success rate!

What if the dying inner cities of a generation ago will now be replaced by dying suburbs as gas prices soar? We're already seeing evidence of revitalized city centers and emptying suburbs full of McMansions. Temprorary blip or permanent restructuring?

A court in California ruled that the clause in a new home purchase contract mandating that disputes after settlement go through binding arbitration rather than court was "unconscionable" and therefore unenforcable. The court said it was unconscionable because of "oppression" and "surprise". According to the court "oppression arises when the parties have unequal bargaining power, leading to no real negotiation and lack of meaningful choice. Surprise may arise when challenged terms are hidden in a 'prolix wordy or long-winded printed form' drafted by a party in a superior bargaining position." I find the rationale in this as interesting as the decision itself. What does this say about builder's contracts in general?

Piedmont Real Estate Blog

Blog by Julie Emery
Amissville, Virginia

An ongoing dialog on real estate news, opinion and trends in Northern Virginia and the greater Piedmont area. Julie is an Associate Broker at Frankly Real Estate Inc, 6304 Crossroads Circle, Ste 102, Falls Church, VA 22044


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