Thursday, August 30, 2007

One more thing...the regional unemployment rate is down 1/5th of 1% regionally!!!

According to the Washington Business Journal today, the unemployment rate for the region is down 1/5th of 1% for the month of July with job growth for the month increasing by 52,000 regionally and 11,200 in DC alone.

WHAT DOES ALL THIS MEAN? Let's take a closer look at the figures reported today alone...

MD Median Income $51,847 (up 6.4%)
DC Median Income $65,144
VA Median Income $56,277
Unemployment Rate Regionally 3.2%(down from 3.5%)
DC Unemployment Rate 6% (Down from 6.6%)
Real Estate growth rate (06/06-06/07) (4%)
Quarterly Growth Rate (0.4%)
Job Growth for July 52,000
Foreclosure rate 1 in 16,000

To Continue this Morning's Blog....

Another article was just published regarding median incomes of the city's residents and those in the immeditate vicinity, though this time by the Examiner. While this article complements the article written yesterday from CNNMoney regarding the top 10 states with the highest average median income, this article focus's more on the District, Fairfax and Montgomery county.

David Francis and Dena Levitz, writers for the Examiner, researched the widening gap between our two largest populations segments in the District, white residents and black residents. Thats not the concern...what did peak my interest was their data that supported the average income in the District for all residents at $51,847, putting us just behind the top 10 list for the country. In addition their research proved that Fairfax Co, VA had the highest median income of any county in the country, at $100,318, and the first time any county has ever broken the six-figure mark. In addition, Montgomery County's average is $87,624, still signifantly higher than any other metropolitan area.

And I'll ask again, when is the market going to crash here? It might not!

The article can be found here.

Virginia & Marlyand: 2 of top 10 wealthiest states in the US

Real estate bubble burst...Mortgage there any end in sight?

Actually if you have been following up on the blog you'll see all of the sources of data that all point to a strong real estate market for our local tri-state(district) area despite the downturn for most of the rest of the country. Well, yesterday in CNN Money released a report for the wealthiest states across the country and two of our three made the top 10 list. Thats right, our sister states to the North and South make more than 80% of the country. According to the Census Bureau, Maryland takes the lead for the average median income at $65,144 per year and Virginia ranks in at number nine at $56,277.


WASHINGTON DC RANKS FIRST FOR AVERAGE INCOME GROWTH where the average median income rose 6.4% over the year.

So I'll ask you...where is the fallout??? It might not be coming.

The article can be found here.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Today's Examiner..."Local Housing Market Stable as National Markets Keep Falling"

According to the Examiner today, on page 5, the local market has held steady for the month. At least so far. According to David Francis and Melissa Frederick, the DC and Baltimore regions have displayed "resiliency" against the turmoil of the rest of the country. NAR (National Association of Realtors) even reported a 3% increase in home pricing in Baltimore and Northern Virginia. In an article I wrote on August 10th, Average DC Home Price Up 4% over July '06, further data shows the District is up 4% over a 12 month period from July '06-July '07.

Lawrence Yun, chief economist for NAR told David & Melissa that "the inner counties [are] doing very well," buoyed by strong job growth. Yun went on to say that the outer counties are picking up and will soon be following suit.

At this point, at least through the end of the year, despite market stability, it seems to be an uphill battle. With the media exposure of a market downturn across the nation in addition to the seasonal trends of fall & winter, we may not directly understand our stability until next spring, which both myself and one of my mortgage brokers from Countrywide, Leila Search, are predicting will peak rather early in the season.

I can't express how grateful I am for having the market stability of the area. Fortunately for everyone DC has provided a "safe haven" for us property owners despite what the rest of the country is undergoing in these undoubtedly difficult times in our industry.

Melissa & Davids article can be found here.

Monday, August 27, 2007

CELEBRATE!!!! breaks 100/day

Its time for a celebration. On the exact day since the initial blog was written, nearly two months ago, we broke the 100 daily reader mark and hit an astounding 112 daily hits this past Friday. What an accomplishment!!!

Thank you again for your continued support and don't forget to spread the word!!!!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Douglas Jemal Does it Again!

This morning a good friend of mine (and my financial advisor) Mario Gabalda with Ferris, Baker, Watts, sent me an article from the Washington Business Journal relating to Douglas Jemal's newest adventure at the former Uline Ice Skating Rink.

According to a Washington Business Journal staff reporter, Prabha Natarajan, Douglas bought the Ice arena for $6 million back in 2004 from Miguel Uline who operated the facility as an ice rink since 1941. Jemal now owns both the arena and the lot next door.

His plans now include turning the former ice arena sight into DC's newest entertainment district complete with retail, residential, office and night clubs. What makes this project so unique is not just that his proposed plans include 1.3 MILLION square feet of potential develop-able space, but the new venture also includes the newest partnership of DC, with Wilkes Company.

Why Wilkes Co? If you look at the map, you'll see that they just happen to own the building across M St NE and were en route to breaking ground when they scrapped their plans to partner with Jemal. WHO WOULDN'T?

Jemal and Wilkes hired Beyer Blinder Belle Architects and Planners LLP from none other than New York to head the planning and development for the site. Their history includes several projects similar to this including the Watchcase Factory Redevelopment in Sag Harbor, NY and a complete architectural study of our Capitol, including lighting, mechanics and aesthetics.


What makes this area so unique is the proposed redevelopment of the New York Ave, Florida ave intersection just in front of the new ATF building where Wendy's restaurant is being torn down to install a traffic circle as well as the recent closure of the Sunoco Station for proposed condo development. In addition, Marriott's just broke ground at their hotel site next to Florida and Union Station. Its going to be a mad house over the next few years!!!!!

Jemal is known for revitalizing many others areas of the city including Cleveland Park, 7th St NW @ the convention center, the upcoming Brookland project and more than several Class-A buildings downtown. I only blog on him every other day!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Condo Settlements in DC Maintain Stability Despite Mortgage Industry

As EVERYONE has been reading, there has been more than enough reporting on the trouble with the mortgage industry and as of reports released today by CNN, is also affecting the prime mortgage borrowers, not just the sub-prime or Alt-A borrowers. Well we all know that trouble is on the horizon and few can deny that but how has DC been faring through the troubled times, especially in the condo market?

I thought I would run an analysis over the past year and here is what I was able to find out.

It might just be me but that graph looks pretty stable.

BTW, click the picture to enlarge

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Macy Development, What did you do???

Two days ago I received a letter from another perturbed buyer of one of Macy Development's projects located at 1333 Constitution Ave. The letter comes as one home owner exhausts all efforts to get Macy Development to make the REQUIRED REPAIRS to her unit. At the time of this post Macy's website,, was down so I was unable to obtain statistics on this building. What I can say is that based on my clients experience with them at Basilcia Lofts, the post sale interaction with their buyers (THE COMPANY'S LIFE BLOOD) is few and far between.

Chrissy's letter to me:


Hi, I was reading your blog and I noticed a posting you did on June 25, 2007 about your client who bought a home with Macy Development. I too bought a condominium with Macy Development and I am having almost identical problems as your client "M"!! I can't get them to move off the dime. They have totally infuriated me and I feel lost as to what to do. If you have any information or are willing to connect me with "M", I would really appreciate it. Perhaps he has made some headway with Macy or maybe we can attack Macy together. My neighbors who live next door also are having problems with Macy-- shocker!!!

These guys are sleaze bags!



The letter she is referring to is one that I had posted nearly two months ago outlining the frustration of one of my clients in the aforementioned development in Eckington. It can be found by CLICKING HERE.

Additionally, I had posted letters outlining the interaction with my buyer and Macy several weeks later. To see what response they offer to frustrated buyers CLICK HERE.

There is a yahoo group for Basilica Lofts owners as well. If you have a chance to read the interaction among unit owners regarding Macy, their yahoo group can be found here.

If you or anyone you know is having PROBLEMS OR COMPLIMENTS please let me know. As you can see I'm not afraid to expose developers faults in order to better the industry and prevent similar occurrences in the future.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Marriott Starts New Hotel Site on Union Station

Yesterday while driving down Florida towards Galludet U, I came across a new sign, right on the site of Marriotts new hotel site and $58 Million dollar project. Take a look.

I wrote a blog on the development site last month. It can be seen HERE.

$10 BILLION coming to DC in joint venture investment.

This morning, a joint venture between a locally based investment group, JBG Companies, and a California based company, MacFarlane Partners was announced. The announcement forms the newest DC based investment company Urban JBG LLC, an alliance of two development superpowers into what could currently be the most stable real estate market in the country. According to the, the partnership has been designed to develop or redevelop 93 sites in the area over the next five years, the largest investment of either company to date. Of the 93 sites, it is estimated that nearly 60% are at or near major mass transit locations including the DC Metro or traffic thoroughfares, only increasing the opportunity for expansion and success for both companies.

Whats more interesting, Victor MacFarlane is the principle investor for DC United, Washington DC's soccer team and the major investor associated with DC's newest RFEI, Poplar Point in Anacostia, that 130 acre site MacFarlane has been trying to get his hands on with his $150 Million, $50 Million short of the Cities required $200 Million bid for the site.

MacFarlane currently has relationships with one of the most well known developer based real estate companies, Monument Realty, who I would expect will be associated with their release of Residential, Commercial, Retail and Warehousing in their expected development of the area.

A special thanks for Melissa Frederick of the Examiner. Her article can be found here.

Live in DC? Concerned about the foreclosure rates across the country, think again!

I know everyone single one of the readers out there has been concerned about whats effecting the real estate market. From the credit crunch to the subprime fallout to the skyrocketing foreclosure rates across much of the country, there is reason for concern and rightfully so. What reassures me about our local market is an article I just came across from Tom Bridge, of, whose research points to DC maintaining its pricing and market stability for both the short and long term. Based on Tom's research, foreclosure rates in DC are among the lowest in the country, which includes many of the other major metropolitan markets. According to Tom, DC's foreclosure rates are 1 in 16,000 homes as of July, 2007, and only 17 were entering the foreclosure process in June of 2007.

According to my research, based on data from MRIS, Metropolitan Regional Information Systems, there are currently 81 homes on the market with bank addendum's, 18 of which came on in the month of August. Thats better than any market across the country as far as my research is concerned. Maybe you won't be gaining the equity of all of the owners over the past 7 years, but stability is better than many of the other markets across the country. Believe me, my entire family is in Florida.

Monday, August 20, 2007

MeroWeekly: Can Dupont Down Under Be Opened Again?

This afternoon before leaving work I thought I would take one last run through Google to see just how far my nearly three month old blog had made it to the far away land of the internet. Lo and behold I came across another article citing research about Dupont Down Under. Thats not the exciting part. What is exciting is yours truly was the source of expertise for the reference about the possibility of expansion of development of the 28000 sq ft of space right under Dupont Circle. In an incredibly well written article(Im biased, so what?!?) by Will O'Bryan of Metroweekly , Washington D.C.'s Gay & Lesbian News Magazine, Will looks to Dupont Down Under as the possible new venue for the availability of space for nude male-dancing. In his support and defense of what could possibly be the next venue Down Under, Will claims that the property violates no laws agains proximity to other businesses and will in no way affect the local businesses due to its location being inaccessible from anywhere but several strategic staircase entrances located around the circle, all of which have been boarded up by the city. Next time you are at the circle take a look to the outer sidewalk, most notably one of the entrances next to CVS, at the corner of P St NW.

As mentioned to Will, opening Dupont Down Under is more than just a case of time, power, money or proposals, rather I believe it to be strictly a matter of politics. From the Dupont Advisory Neighborhood Committee to the National Park Service to the Dupont Historic Committee, Down Under is a matter of having the right voices speak to the right collaborators of other arenas to have any influence of what very well could be the next sphere of influence over one of this city's most beautiful areas.

Will's article can be read by CLICKING HERE.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Champlain St Condo As Seen in the Washington Examiner

2328 Champlain #404 was just featured in this weeks Examiner Real Estate Section. To see the actual listing CLICK HERE.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Why do buyers wait until the media says 'its time to buy' to buy?

I just read an article by Elizabeth Weintraub of who made a wonderful point about buyers timing their purchases. Elizabeth questions why buyers wait for a sellers market, when competition increases and the media reports increasing sales volume, as if the media influences when an intelligent time to buy will be (we all know they spend millions on market research, predict housing increases, the weather and consumer spending, said facetiously). WHY WAIT? If you are a qualified buyer with decent credit score can you think of a better time to buy than the winter months after a downturn in the market? If you can please comment on this post. I can't. DC's prices have increased in many areas in the worst market in 7 years, job growth in and around the city is increasing by 40,000-50,000 over the next 18 months, and thats just by my amateurish research.


Increasing Prices + Increasing Job Growth + Increasing Population + Government Turnover + Slowing Development = ?


I'm not saying that this city won't become affordable to may buyers (at least not yet), but if you are considering purchasing but have postponed your purchase for a later time, rethink the logic here, you just might be in for a good deal.

Read her article HERE.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Its Finally Official, Above Ground Street Cars Return to the District

After a recent blog, I believe back in June of this year, NBC confirms that DC will re-establish the above ground street car line in two areas of DC. The first, along a several mile long line in Anacostia beginning downtown, near the exit to 295 bridge. The other, to my understanding, would be along H St NE from Union Station heading East towards and down Benning towards the stadium. In case you haven't driven along the streets of H St NE lately, you will notice the work being done to the center of the road. Apparently, despite the exposure the city has released regarding the work being done, this work is in preparation for the expected street car release in 2009, with groundbreaking for their line this winter.

The city's increase the capacity of the city to move people throughout the streets, not vehicles. Honestly, Im not quite sure how I feel about the new development of Streetcars...we already have buses and metros to get us from place to place, but why the added congestion by taking up two lanes of the cities busiest thoroughfares? On the other hand, it will add to the atmosphere, creating something like that of Boston, allowing for easier commutes and a more well-kept transportation industry.

What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I stand corrected, DC puts out RFEI on Poplar Point

Damn sources....this past week the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development announced their RFEI, thats request for expressions of interest, on the infamous 150 acre (as per the RFEI) site Poplar Point. According to my original blog, nearly two and a half weeks ago, I offered the confirmation that Poplar Point had received and accepted a proposal for the development of the site and DC United was one of the main attractions to the area. I stand corrected.

In the RFEI, released August 10th, the city formerly announced that they were looking for world-class investors with a proven track record for waterfront development who had strong financial backing to submit proposals for the site. Additionally, the RFEI requests for the use of the new DC United stadium but explicitly states that its not required.

So I read the RFEI and its detail far surpasses the expectation I would have for the cities effort for a proposal such as this. Its worth the read if you have about 30 minutes and it can be found by clicking here.

One of the statements made in the RFEI was Fenty's mandate for 30% of the units consisting of affordable housing. If you take a look an my blog on affordable housing, you will understand this is the first exposure Fenty has had to support his position on the cities effort to maintain affordable housing throughout the development of the city.

By the way, if there is any interest in this $200 Million dollar investment, the due date for expression of interest is October 19th, 2007.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Real Estate Development to the Next Level...

So here we are, in an ever increasingly competitive market for agents representing developments and developers on a continual basis, all vying for the competitive edge. Most teams and companies produce a fairly common product, from staging to custom websites, to contract negotiations, there hasn't been much innovation in the creative side of development representation.

Over the past few days, and with Dwellings coming on the market the team has been brainstorming new ideas to help produce results and exposure for our developers and we came up with some new & creative ideas that we feel will help our developers maintain the edge in a competitive edge. Here are some of the ideas:

-Eco-friendly incentives offered by lender affiliates such as Countrywide, who offers a loan product with a discount of up to 1/2 point for purchasing in an eco friendly development.

-Eco-friendly purchasers get a $10,000 discount for ownership of an eco-friendly car, helping to preserve and maintain the core values of the development & developers.

-Streaming video of the development process, from tear down all the way through final development, allowing for full viewing of the build process. This allows buyers to understand the care and passion for build quality that our developers maintain through all projects and can be held responsible for shoddy workmanship due to the "eye" on their site.

-Streaming video from the sign into the street, allowing passer-bys to have their friends and family go to our site to watch the streaming of them in front of our development.

-Metro flyering campaign allows for added exposure, up to 10,000 people per day per metro can be exposed to our development, producing significantly better results than any other means of advertising.

-Streaming video of open houses, from inside the development itself, allowing potential buyers to watch the interaction and reaction of buyers approaching the unit from their computer at home.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Average DC Home Price Up 4% over July '06. Not what you expected?

As many of you may have been reading throughout the media world, most of the country is up in a panic regarding the mortgage industry and real estate price fallout. In most places across the country, with the exception of what I would consider the larger 12 cities, this panic may have justification, just not here.

This afternoon the Washington Business Journal released a report stating that home prices in DC are up 4% last month vs July of '06. Crazy you say? Not really consider the upcoming development that we all are looking forward to in addition to the political turnover we are about to undergo. According to the WBJ, DC's average sale price in July '07 was $431,000, up $16,000 over last July's average sale price at $415,000.

I'd like to stop there an and analyze exactly whats going on in this city. I believe we all could reasonably say that this past year was one of the worst years in real estate in the past seven years, right? Well, despite the media hype (having nothing better to write about), the mortgage subprime fallout, the price of gasoline increasing nearly 35 cents a gallon and our country spending $80 billion on the war, DC still had gains of 4% in 12 months. Hows that for financial security?

With all that going on why wouldn't you purchase, especially with the upcoming anticipation of a strong spring market of '08 and continued growth and investment by the government in local development.

The article can be viewed here.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Whats one of the most important developments in Adams Morgan right now?

As if there wasn't enough development in Adams Morgan already, Douglas Jemal is developing a site in Adams Morgan to be the new Harris Teeter Grocery Store. But thisa is not any grocery store but the only grocery store for blocks. In fact the new Harris Teeter is the only grocery store for 6 blocks. Not that far you say? Maybe its just me but I dont really want to carry groceries much further than that, especially in one of the areas of the highest rate of population increases in the city. This coming year there are in the range of 6-12 new developments in the area, 2 of which I'm representing in the upcoming year.

Their new site, at the intersection of 17th St NW and Kalorama Rd NW should provide the perfect opportunity between the areas, whats more is the gap that Harris Teeter bridges between two traditional grocery stores and the environmental friendly store of tomorrow. The current proposed plan includes 39,000 sq ft of retail space on what used to be a roller rink. The next question you may ask is 'Who is the brains behind the operation?' Nobody less than the infamous Douglas Jemal a.k.a. Douglas Development, a company known for nothing less than their front running ideas contributing to the redevelopment of nearly the entire city.

In addition to the 39,000 sq ft of retail space is a proposed 120,000 sq ft of office space at the modest projected cost of $15,000,000. Despite a projected opening date of Fall '06, the newly anticipated date is Feb, '08. We'll see how that goes.

My apologies to KP for getting this blog out so late in the day.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

You say the market is crashing? Take a look at this.

After some lengthy conversations with associates about what the future holds for DC I wanted to take a look at market trends for myself, away from the media hype and what seems to be panicking consumers in our area. What I did was download the data from our local real estate database, MLS/Multiple Listing Service, from all transactions in the subdivisions of Kalorama, Dupont Circle & Logan Circle. I used the provided data from the system to break down the cost per square foot of every condo sold since June 1, 2006 until July 31, 2007 and graphed the cost per square foot of every sold condo against their date of sale and this is what I got:


So I ask you it a good time to purchase in DC or not?

If you are looking for more information about any specific neighborhoods in the DC area please feel free to contact me and I will run a full analysis including trending and forecasting.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Peter Coy (Business Week) asks: Do We Have a Credit Crunch? Responded to by Leila Search; First Madison Mortgage

Yesterday, a log favorite blogger of mine from, Peter Coy, posed the question:

Do We Have a Credit Crunch? Or Not?

I would usually respond based on my own research or stats but I figured I would pose the question to my favorite lender Leila Search of First Madison Mortgage.

Prime fully documented conforming mortgages are just as easy to come by today as they were before the recent turmoil in the housing and mortgage industry. For those who don’t understand the definition of conforming, it is not just the loan amount ($417,000 or less defined as conforming) that determines whether a loan is conforming or not. Conforming means it conforms with Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac guidelines – these guidelines outline every aspect of the loan from documentation of income and assets, loan-to-value on the property, type of amortization (interest only or fully amortizing), and even condo project approval. Step outside the conforming box and find yourself in credit crunch. Nonconforming loans – not saleable to Fannie or Freddie - are hard to place these days. The entire extent of the affect of “bad loans” is yet unknown and in turn a bit of chaos has struck this segment of the mortgage business.

Looking for stated (unverified) income loan to finance 100% of your purchase price? Think again, whether this is under $417,000 loan amount or not you have stepped outside the conforming box. Looking for a $650,000 loan – expect higher rates and less options as some lenders have stopped offering jumbo loans altogether. Between last Friday and Monday lenders changed guidelines, reduced the amount they would finance, withdrew many financing options altogether, and posted rates over 8%.

Whether you have good credit (prime) or not - expect to find obtaining a mortgage more difficult with stricter documentation requirements on nonconforming loans. Having said that, a credit crunch doesn’t mean the loans are unobtainable. Daily I package loans for first-time homebuyers, 100% financing, stated income to certain loan-to-values, and more. Just don’t expect the ease seen previously - your under 600 credit score without provable income doesn’t cut it these days.

For more info you can contact Leila via email HERE.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Guess Who Follows Suit in the Affordable Housing Market? Sotheby's International!!!!

This morning Ben Casselman, from, a guide for real estate developed by the Wall Street Journal, announced that Sotheby's International Realty will be expanding their vision by representing affordable housing. To put it a bit more succinctly, they'll be selling double-wide trailers in California. As many of you may well know, Sotheby's is traditionally known for their niche in the upper echelons of property pricing and estates including many at the waterfront. So why the change? If you read my post on my predictions on the strongest growth market segment here, which happens to be affordable housing, a term I use for homes under $300,000, you might understand why Sotheby's is headed in that direction.

According to Casselman, nearly 6% of homes represented by Sotheby's on their site happens to be under $250,000, and that proportion is growing. The cause for Sotheby's expansion of ammo happens to come as a result of an increasingly competitive ultra-pricey market segment nationwide. Many new brokerages are opening their doors to the uber-weathly and in my opinion, Sotheby's had to take a new market position to maintain competitiveness.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

This month is going to be all about GOING GREEN!

As mentioned in a post this week, Dwellings on Ontario, by Forest Development Group, is going to be completely eco-friendly. As part of everyone's homework, we will be conducting research how best to manage the cost-effectiveness of a green initiative while still maintaining a profitable project. In charge of the entire projects is a great friend of mine, the infamous Jim Delgado, former code inspector for DCRA. As such, the developer is asking all of us to contribute as much input about ideas to help maintain our eco-friendly core value set. All this month I will be debuting new ideas, research and stats about what FDG quite possibly could be doing.

Today Im going to start with one of my favorites, the Green Roof.

So what is a green roof? A green roof system is an addition on top of the traditional roof which adds a layer of organic compound with vegetation, a fairly simple drainage system and a growing system.

Why a green roof?
According to there are a significant number of benefits to providing a green roof on top of an artificial structure/your home.
Economic Benefits include protection of roof membranes resulting in a longer material lifespan as well as significant cost savings on energy heating and cooling costs. estimates that a roof with a six inch thick green roof reduced heat by 95% and heat losses by 25%. Thats a huge amount considering heating and cooling costs can cost upwards to $300-$400 per month in an average DC Condo.
In addition to the economic benefits, Green Roofs also add a layer of sound protection between you and the exterior. In a city like DC, a Green Roof can be a godsend among the traffic and noise pollution in an ever increasingly dense city.
As for FDG and their project on Ontario, their eco-friendly initiative will not only help the earth but it may mean a bit of extra media exposure as well.
As for me...this winter I'm going to get LEED certified, being only the second Realtor in DC with the certification (that I could find).

Impressive New Development in South East DC

This afternoon when finishing examining a lot acquisition in Barry Farms with one of my clients, I happen be driving down Morris St SE as I looked to my left and to my amazement was a brand new, just framed, HUGE condo development named Grandview DC. Its not just the name either. I went around to the back of the block to look in and the view is incredible, it overlooks the entire city. I did some research on Google but couldn't find a thing, and their website is down too. All their sign says is Luxury Townhomes in the low $300's. When its up click here to see the development. For now I have no information but when its available Ill post here. Until then enjoy this video and some pics.

Eastern Market Finally Open for Business

This afternoon Rachel Cooper of and the DC / Capital Regoin announced that Eastern Market will finally be opening for business on August 25th. Only $30,000,000 later. Since the fire that burned the market towards the end of April this year, the vendors that depended on the market to provide generations of farmers a location to sell goods have been unable to operate.
Good Luck to all of the vendors in this upcoming season.

Where has Jesse Been?

To those of you who are as dedicated to this blog as we all are about DC, I must apologize for being a bit more 'offline' than I would have liked to have been. Recently, I have been having meeting after meeting with developers across the city lining up to get insight, recommendations and designing a course of action in everyones plan for their releases in the upcoming spring market of 2008. Currently, KTRE is undertaking what I would consider significant steps towards our growing development team and a strong, and soon very happy, client base.

From a 14 unit building in Deanwood just 100 yards to the Deanwood metro which is about to be gutted and remodeled using what I consider luxury details in an affordable housing market, to a 42 unit complex in Randle Heights, a 20 unit in Barry Farms. Next year is sure to be a killer. An exciting one at that! Whats more exciting are some of the other possible developments we are working with, from a $7,000,000 lot in Sandy Spring, to the possible acquisition of a hotel site downtown, to another project with Gotham Development and their lineup of groundbreaking ideas involving some of the most influential faces in the city. What a year!

Basically what I'm trying to say is I'll do my best to stay on top of providing the best information to everyone across the city, but its crunch time. In the meantime, please email me if you have any questions about development across the city. I would love to help answer.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Rockville Town Square: No Sales = Conversion to Rentals

Earlier Rockville Town Square announced that it will no longer be selling what remains of its 600 unit building and instead convert the remaining units to rental apartments. Due mainly to the over development of Montgomery County near Metro's and the tightening of lender requirements.

A look at Rockville Condo Stats over the last 30 days:
Average Sales Price...............................................$399,000
Active Condos...........................................................149
Condos Under Contract:..............................................41
Settled Condos.........................................................24
Average Days on Market Active Condos.....................83
Average Days on Market Condos Under Contract.......79
Average Days on Market For Settled Condos.............58
Average Dollar / SQ FT for Active Condos...............$328
Average Dollar / SQ FT for Settled Condos..............$312

Alright, so lets analyze this data: If your selling a condo and its been on the market for 58 days or longer and you are not priced below $312 / sqft, its time to reduce or you may face holding that property upwards of one month longer at best before receiving an offer. In addition, we are approaching the winter market, an even more difficult time to sell so chances are prices will drop further and if you dont want to hold your condo through the winter it might be time to consider reducing.


Dwellings On Ontario Goes LIVE!!!

This afternoon Forest Development Group and I signed a listing agreement for their new development at 2429 Ontario. The team and I are really excited about their new line of eco-friendly development catered towards the knowledgeable consumer. Our plan is to differentiate the product by building with not only comfort but with the environment in mind as well. Dwellings will have five single floor flats and two duplexes with private rooftop decks possibly complete with gardens and an active irrigation system that not only collects water to help the gardens on the roof but the common elements in front and behind the building. Pricing is going to start at around $550 per square foot and four deeded parking spots will be available for purchase.

The parties involved in the project are:
Developer: Forest Development Group
Project Management: Delgado & Associates
Graphic Design: Joe Velasquez
Printing: Dynamic Advertising Solutions
Sales & Advertising: Ken Taylor Real Estate & ME!
Construction Loan: Builders Bank
In House Lender: BB & T
Title Work & Settlement: Paramount Title

Under the current zoning FDG plans on utilizing 2000 sq ft of the lot and a total construction area of 8000 sq ft. Its going to be a wonderful project. In my opinion the key to a successful introduction and overall sellable project will be differentiation between the effort FDG is placing on their construction vs the competition. In addition we are going to be working on developing a core brand for FDG and their upcoming line up of future development. Tomorrow I'm going to put up an area map and start uploading video news about the progress of the project and our competitive advantage over the rest of the market.

The address is zoned R5B, meaning the building has no side setbacks, no minimum lot sizes and no minimum lot width. Additionally it can be up to 50 feet tall with no limit on the number of stories but can occupy up to 60% of the lot itself.

Expected Release: Spring 2008

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Home Sales Expected to Pick Up?

According to Brian Block ( a local Virginia based Realtor with a similar blog site, research suggests that the local housing market will stabilize if not increase come years end. Brian's thorough research seems to show that 53,200 new jobs were created throughout the DC Metro area in the year ending May, 2007, nearly 8,000 above the 15 year average of 45,000 per year. In addition, our unemployment rate is slightly lower than the national average of 3.1% at 2.9% locally and our rate is the second lowest in the nation.

What does all this mean? Strong job growth, low unemployment rates and a stabilizing housing market means a strong future for housing prices and growth. Unfortunately with the media portraying a crashing housing market around the rest of the country, nobody has taken the time to study our local market, which is in my opinion one of the strongest in the country, outside of New York, NY.

If you are considering waiting to purchase, consider your options now, especially with a recently reduced buyer pool due to sub-prime lender fallout.