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By Kathy Orton 
February 15th, 2019

Link to the Washington Post Article

Lucky Marmon picked out her neighborhood before she picked out her home.It wasn’t the house I bought. It was the neighborhood,” Marmon said.

Marmon lives in a 1931 Sears house in Somerset, an incorporated town nestled between Bethesda and Chevy Chase in Montgomery County. The community offered everything Marmon was looking for.

“I had three criteria, which were public recreation, public transportation and public education,” she said. “Somerset gives you a small-town feel in a big-town location. . . . It had a swimming pool, three tennis courts, a basketball court, a swim team — all the things when we were in Cleveland Park, people were wishing they had.”

Marmon and her husband, Bill, bought their house from the son of its original owner in 1980 and are just the second family to live in the home. Their house is the Maplewood model from the Sears catalogue. From 1908 to 1940, the company sold build-it-yourself houses through its mail-order catalogue, giving working-class Americans a chance to own an affordable home. The materials from the prefabricated house — everything from pre-cut lumber and nails for the walls to the kitchen sink — were shipped by rail and assembled on site. Chevy Chase has one of the biggest groupings of Sears houses in the region.

“This house arrived in a package in Takoma Park,” Lucky said. “We found the bill of lading in the wall when we were renovating.”

The family room and master bedroom addition were designed by the late architect Harry Montague, who is perhaps best known for his invention of a foldable high-performance bike. After talking to a few architects, the Marmons called Montague on the advice of a friend.

“He saw the house and said ‘You all are big people. You need big rooms,’ ” said Lucky, who is 5-foot-10 and whose husband is 6-4. Because a big addition would overwhelm the small house, Montague — who at 6-2 appreciated headroom — stayed respectful to the home’s architectural style but created a gathering space for the family that is open and filled with natural light. The master bedroom features a gabled ceiling, built-in closet, and storage and a bathroom with a skylight in the shower.“It was so cute,” Lucky said. “When he originally designed [the skylight in the shower], I said, ‘You know, Harry, I think it doesn’t cover me. Oh yeah, I better raise the wall.’ So he did. It’s a wonderful skylight. You can look outside when you are taking a shower.”

Whether she is showering or sitting on the large deck at the back of the house, Lucky enjoys the view. “Landscape architects will call [it] found treasure because you have all this beautiful park, but you don’t have to take care of it,” she said.

The four-bedroom, four-bathroom, 2,700-square-foot house is listed at $1.475 million.

Listing: 4921 Cumberland Ave., Chevy Chase, Md.

Listing agent: Phyllis Wiesenfelder, Long & Foster

Interest Rates and Federal Reserve

by Long and Foster and RISMEDIA

Information from RISMEDIA

Friday, November 18, 2016— A rise in the key interest rate could come “relatively soon,” Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen reiterated on Thursday, heightening the probability the Fed will forge ahead with a hike in December, despite initial doubts in the wake of Donald Trump’s presidential victory. Mortgage rates, which generally follow the key rate, shot up this week, with the 30-year fixed rate mortgage topping out at an average 3.94 percent from 3.57 percent the week prior.
 
“This week, the verdict is in—over the last two weeks, the 30-year mortgage rate jumped 40 basis points to 3.94 percent, almost identical to the 39 basis point increase in the 10-year Treasury yield,” says Sean Becketti, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “If rates stick at these levels, expect a final burst of home sales and refinances as ‘fence sitters’ try to beat further increases, then a marked slowdown in housing activity.”

Yellen’s position—which comes as the dust settles after one of the most contentious elections in history—reinforces the sentiments of Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia President Patrick Harker and Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard, who both voiced support for future hikes this week.
 
Yellen also echoed the Fed’s intent to only gradually raise the key rate. The Fed last raised the rate in December 2015.

 

 

'Things Are Looking Up for Housing'

by Fannie Mae

DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS | TUESDAY, JUNE 09, 2015 - Fannie MAE

Americans' attitudes about the housing market are strengthening, according to Fannie Mae’s May 2015 National Housing Survey, a survey of about 1,000 consumers on their views about home ownership. This echoes recent forecasts that predict a pickup in housing activity for the year.

In the latest survey, more consumers reported an increase in household income, nearing an all-time survey high. The growth in wages falls in line with the recent positive jobs report that showed an increase in average hourly earnings. The percentage of consumers surveyed by Fannie Mae who say their household income is "significantly higher" than 12 months ago grew six percentage points to 28 percent over the past two months.

"As job growth appears to be driving meaningful income growth, the outlook for housing market growth also is improving," according to Fannie Mae's report.

The share of consumers who say now is a good time to sell a home continues to rise, also reaching an all-time survey high in May at 49 percent of respondents. That marks six percentage points higher than last year. What's more, the number of consumers who say they would prefer to buy rather than rent a home on their next move rose three percentage points in May to 66 percent.

"Things are looking up for housing," says Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae, who notes the survey high of those who say it's a good time to sell as well as the growing percentage of consumers who say their household income is significantly higher than last year. "We have found that these two indicators – good time to sell and income growth – are key drivers for the performance of the housing market. The increase in these indicators suggests our forecast of moderate improvement in the housing market in 2015 is on course and mirrors the near-term performance of other leading market data, including mortgage applications and pending home sales."

5 home staging mistakes to avoid when selling your next place

by From Inman

Click Here to Read an Interesting Article About Home Staging

Don’t Miss These Home Tax Deductions

by Houselogic - Dona DeZube

From mortgage interest to property tax deductions, here are the tax tips you need to get a jump on your returns. Click Here to Read Article From houselogic

What to expect in the 2016 housing market

by David Charron

David Charron, president and chief executive of Rockville-based multiple-listing service MRIS, writes an occasional column about the Washington area real estate market.

While 2015 has been a good year for the real estate market, we expect 2016 to be even better. The Washington area weathered the ups and downs of the past few years without as many difficulties as most other regions in the country, leaving us in a stronger position to take advantage of the return to a favorable real estate climate.

Click Here to Read Full Article

Mediterranean villa in Chevy Chase hits the market for $1.8 million

by Phyllis Wiesenfelder

Article Link To Bethesda Magazine


Mediterranean villa in Chevy Chase hits the market for $1.8 million

The five-bedroom, four-and-a-half bathroom home at 4001 Virgilia Street was originally built in 1923, though it has been extensively renovated over the years to include Spanish Revival-style architecture, a sunroom and a dining room with skylights and vaulted ceilings.

Bethesda-based Long & Foster agent Phyllis Wiesenfelder has the listing. The home is priced at $1.795 million.

U.S. Housing Market Recovery Inches Forward

by Freddie Mac Blog

Click Here to Read Full Article From Freddie Mac

Fixed Mortgage Rates Little Changed, Nudge Lower

by Freddie Mac

MCLEAN, VA--(Marketwired - Oct 29, 2015) - Freddie Mac (OTCQBFMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing average fixed mortgage rates falling slightly lower amid market expectations of no rate increase by the Federal Reserve.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.76 percent with an average 0.6 point for the week ending October 29, 2015, down from last week when it averaged 3.79 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.98 percent.  
     
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 2.98 percent with an average 0.6 point, unchanged from last week. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.13 percent.  
     
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.89 percent this week with an average 0.4 point, unchanged from last week. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.94 percent. 
     
  • 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.54 percent this week with an average 0.2 point, down from 2.62 percent last week. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 2.43 percent. 

Average commitment rates should be reported along with average fees and points to reflect the total upfront cost of obtaining the mortgage. Visit the following links for the Regional and National Mortgage Rate Details and Definitions. Borrowers may still pay closing costs which are not included in the survey.

Quote
Attributed to Sean Becketti, chief economist, Freddie Mac.

Metro Home Prices Maintain Steady Growth in First Quarter of 2015

by National Association of Realtors®.

Article From the National Association of Realtors®

WASHINGTON (May 11, 2015)—Stronger demand amidst lagging inventory levels caused home prices to accelerate in many metro areas during the first quarter of 2015, and the number of areas experiencing double-digit price appreciation doubled compared to last quarter, according to the latest quarterly report by the National Association of Realtors®.

The median existing single-family home price increased in 85 percent of measured markets, with 148 out of 174 metropolitan statistical areas1 (MSAs) showing gains based on closings in the first quarter compared with the first quarter of 2014. Twenty-five areas (14 percent) recorded lower median prices from a year earlier.

The number of rising markets in the first quarter was mostly unchanged compared to the fourth quarter of last year, when price increases were recorded in 85 percent of metro areas. Fifty-one metro areas in the first quarter (29 percent) experienced double-digit increases, a sharp increase from the 24 metro areas in the fourth quarter of 2014. Thirty-seven metro areas (21 percent) experienced double-digit increases in the first quarter of 2014.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says after moderating to healthier levels of growth at the end of 2014, prices picked up in several metro areas during the first quarter. "Sales activity to start the year was notably higher than a year ago, as steady hiring and low interest rates encouraged more buyers to enter the market," he said. "However, stronger demand without increasing supply led to faster price growth in many markets."

Adds Yun, "Sales could soften slightly in some of these markets seeing sharp price appreciation unless housing supply markedly improves and tempers its unhealthy level of growth."

The national median existing single-family home price in the first quarter was $205,200, up 7.4 percent from the first quarter of 2014 ($191,100). The median price during the fourth quarter of 2014 increased 5.8 percent from a year earlier.

Total existing-home sales2, including single family and condo, declined 1.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.97 million in the first quarter from 5.06 million in the fourth quarter of 2014, but are 6.2 percent higher than the 4.68 million pace during the first quarter of 2014.

At the end of the first quarter, there were 2.00 million existing homes available for sale3, slightly above the 1.96 million homes for sale at the end of the first quarter in 2014. The average supply during the first quarter was 4.6 months—down from 4.9 months a year ago. A supply of 6 to 7 months represents a healthy balance of supply between buyers and sellers.

"Homeowners throughout the country have enjoyed accumulating household wealth through the steady rise in home values in the past few years," says Yun. "However, some homeowners are hesitant to move-up and sell because they aren't confident they'll find another home to buy. This trend—in addition to subpar homebuilding activity—is leading to the ongoing inventory shortages and subsequent run-up in prices seen in many markets."

The five most expensive housing markets in the first quarter were the San Jose, Calif., metro area, where the median existing single-family price was $900,000; San Francisco, $748,300; Honolulu, $699,300; Anaheim-Santa Ana, Calif., $685,700; and San Diego, $510,300.

The five lowest-cost metro areas in the first quarter were Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio, where the median single-family home price was $64,300; Cumberland, Md., $71,600; Rockford, Ill., $78,600; Decatur, Ill., $82,200; and Toledo, Ohio, $83,800.

Adds Yun, "Because of some volatility in smaller markets, it's wise to look at the long-term trend for a direction on prices."

Metro area condominium and cooperative prices—covering changes in 61 metro areas—showed the national median existing-condo price was $193,500 in the first quarter, up 1.5 percent from the first quarter of 2014 ($190,600). Forty-seven metro areas (77 percent) showed gains in their median condo price from a year ago; 14 areas had declines.

According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate on a 30-year conventional fixed-rate mortgage during the first quarter remained below 4 percent for the second consecutive quarter at an overall average rate of 3.72 percent, down from 3.97 percent during the fourth quarter of 2014. They were 4.36 percent in the first quarter of 2014.

NAR President Chris Polychron, executive broker with 1st Choice Realty in Hot Springs, Ark., says with home prices on the rise in many parts of the country, low interest rates have helped keep affordability in check for those entering the market. "Realtors® are reporting increased foot traffic this spring as more consumers are feeling confident about their financial situation and looking to lock-in before rates eventually start to climb," he said. "With supply remaining tight—especially at the entry-level price range—buyers will need the expertise and local market insight of a Realtor® to help them through each intricate step of the buying process."

Lower interest rates and an uptick in the national family median income ($66,257) slightly improved affordability in the first quarter compared to the first quarter of last year4. To purchase a single-family home at the national median price, a buyer making a 5 percent downpayment would need an income of $43,466, a 10 percent downpayment would require an income of $41,178, and $36,603 would be needed for a 20 percent downpayment.

Regional Breakdown

Total existing-home sales in the Northeast dropped 11.2 percent in the first quarter but still remained 2.2 percent above the first quarter of 2014. The median existing single-family home price in the Northeast was $245,000 in the first quarter, up 2.4 percent from a year ago.

In the Midwest, existing-home sales declined 2.0 percent in the first quarter but are 6.3 percent higher than a year ago. The median existing single-family home price in the Midwest increased 8.9 percent to $156,600 in the first quarter from the same quarter a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the South fell slightly (0.5 percent) in the first quarter but are 7.8 percent above the first quarter of 2014. The median existing single-family home price in the South was $182,300 in the first quarter, 8.2 percent above a year earlier.

In the West, existing-home sales increased 1.5 percent in the first quarter and are 5.4 percent above a year ago. The median existing single-family home price in the West increased 5.8 percent to $295,500 in the first quarter from the first quarter of 2014.

The National Association of Realtors®, "The Voice for Real Estate," is America's largest trade association, representing 1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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Photo of Phyllis Wiesenfelder Real Estate
Phyllis Wiesenfelder
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.
4650 East West Highway
Bethesda MD 20814
Direct: (301)215-6915
Mobile: (301)529-3896
Fax: Office: 301-907-7600