September 2013 RSS Feed

Found 14 blog entries for September 2013.

Just last month, rapidly rising interest rates caused great concern among homebuyers that the days of record-low interest rates are over.

However, recent political turmoil combined causing economic uncertainty in the markets and, in a trend that many did not predict last month, mortgage rates have been declining.

Mortgage rates fell for the third week in a row last week, with the 30-year fixed mortgage rate falling to 4.47%, according to a weekly survey by Meanwhile, the average 15-year mortgage rate plunged to 4.64% and adjustable rate mortgages also dropped to 3.41%, with the 7-year ARM rate being about 3.77%.

But homeowners have seen that interest rate trends are not set in stone and the quickly rising interest rates in the past…

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With cooler temperatures and disappearing mosquitoes, fall is a wonderful time to head outdoors in the DC area. There are a range of options for your next excursion.

If you’re looking for a shorter outing, Theodore Roosevelt Island is a lovely spot in the Potomac with easy trails and beautiful views. You can even rent a canoe or kayak from Fletcher’s Boathouse on Canal Road to paddle around the entire Island.

The Western Maryland Rail Trail is another fun outdoor spot. It’s a paved 22.5-mile trail near Hancock that’s great for biking or walking.

Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens is a little-known site in Northeast DC. It’s a natural area of Anacostia Park where you can enjoy birding along the boardwalk, a short hike, or explore the water garden. You can…

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Home buyers should know that the mortgage market is not exempt from the impact of a possible government shut down, which the U.S. faces perhaps as soon as Tuesday if lawmakers do not agree on spending cuts.

On a positive note, home owner who are pursuing mortgages bought and backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac can feel relieved. Those mortgages would not be affected because those companies rely on fees from loans to keep their operations going, not on government money. Luckily, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac-backed loans comprise the majority of loans as of late.

However, home buyers pursing loans backed by a government agencies like the Federal Housing Administration should keep a sharp eye on government decisions this week. Any of these loans that…

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What is soul food? It’s not just fried chicken and mac and cheese anymore. According to Adrian Miller, author of Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine, One Plate at a Time, “Soul food is best described as the food that African American migrants took with them when they left the rural south and settled in different parts of the country.”

Florida Avenue Grill in the U Street neighborhood markets itself as the oldest soul food restaurant in the world. The restaurant opened in 1944 and is the longest surviving soul food restaurant. Imar Hutchins, owner of Florida Avenue Grill says, “What we're calling soul food today, is probably the original fusion cuisine. There's so much African cultural retention in what we eat. It's also a blend of…

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Clearly, there is no shortage of demand for city living. Prices are soaring in the District and properties are active for just a flash before buyers snatch them up.

But nationally the demand for suburban living is on the rise again. In its heyday just before the recession, suburban living was all the rage. Developers were charging full steam ahead on creating neighborhoods with a slew of amenities, including the large yards that city living rarely offers.

Like the rise in city development, the suburban sprawl engine in the Washington metro area is revving up again as the economy improves and more buyers are getting off the fence and into a home of their own. But demand for suburban homes may also be rising because single-family homes are luring more…

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According to a recent study, it’s 31% less expensive to own a home rather than rent in the DC metro area.

The study examined identical homes for sale and rent to calculate average prices across the metro area. The study also took into account the costs associated with homeownership including closing costs, maintenance, insurance, taxes, and more. For rentals, the study included the cost of renter’s insurance and a security deposit.

The underlying assumptions that make it 31% cheaper to buy than rent in DC are the ability to get a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at 4.8% with a 20% downpayment, deduction itemization on federal taxes, a 25% tax bracket (income between $72,500 and $146,400 for married joint filers), and plans to stay in the home for seven…

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The Adams Morgan Farmers Market has been in operation for 40 consecutive years. The market operates on Saturday mornings from May until December on the corner of 18th Street and Columbia Road in Northwest. Visiting the market has become a Saturday morning tradition for residents who shop for produce, share recipes, and socialize.

The farmers market will be marking their 40th anniversary on September 28 from 10 AM to 1 PM. The event will feature heirloom apple tastings from 10 AM to 11 AM. Some of the rare apple varieties on hand will be Wolf River, Orange Pippin, and Sheepnose. The party will also include music and special guests.

The location that is now the Adams Morgan Farmers Market was only a dirt triangle in 1972. Then the bank was built, and…

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Following trends for much of the year, housing inventory remained tight in August in Washington D.C. as the housing market here continues to make significant strides toward recovery.

Last month, the average number of days a home was on the market dropped 30% from a year prior, according to the Greater Capital Area Association of Realtors. It means this strong sellers’ market shows no signs of abating in favor of buyers any time soon.

Housing inventory in Washington D.C. started to loosen from March to June this year, but supplies have been shrinking the past few months through August to significant lows. Available condo inventory dropped 20.8% in August and single-family home inventory dropped 5.4%.

And while inventory is tight and moving quickly…

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The Anacostia River has been known as a polluted and unappealing eight-mile waterway. But lately, the river’s image is changing with new structures nearby like the Washington Nationals baseball stadium, offices, and luxury condos.

In the days of Captain John Smith, the Anacostia river included 2,500 acres of tidal wetlands, compared to only 120 acres today.  People often find garbage in the river, which contributes to the negative image. Plus, DC Water and Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) continue to spill raw sewage in the river, especially during heavy rain. But now, there are remediation measures in place to stop the leaks and clean the water. 

It’s still not safe to fish or swim in the river, but Anacostia Trails Heritage Area…

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A Washington Post article about DC’s property tax lien sales sparked outrage this week. According to the investigative report, since 2005, hundreds of DC property owners have lost homes due to the sale of tax liens. One of those delinquent tax bills was only $44.

When a DC homeowner fails to pay property taxes, the DC Office of Tax and Revenue (OTR) imposes a lien on the home.  If the lien goes unpaid for a certain period of time, OTR sells the lien to an investor at an annual auction. The homeowner then owes the delinquent tax bill plus interest to the investor.  If the homeowner is unable to pay within six months, the investor can start foreclose proceedings. In order to avoid foreclosure, the owner must pay back the original tax bill, interest, and…

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