Real estate agent Tracy Comstock shows a Prince William County property to Chris James of Clifton, who has been investing in foreclosed housing. Buying and renting foreclosed properties is good for the community, he said. (By Sarah L. Voisin — The Washington Post)
Today’s Washington Post, front page claims Prince William County is the ‘epicenter of the boom’ and a bargain-hunter’s paradise because of the extreme number of foreclosures.
The more foreclosures in a neighborhood, the more the value of the other homes is depressed. According to the Post:
The buying frenzy is the silver lining of a staggering decline in home values. With banks choking on a glut of empty, foreclosed properties, the median sale price for detached single-family houses in Prince William plunged 41 percent in the past year, from $405,000 to $239,900. In September, 118 homes in the county sold for less than $100,000, and many foreclosed townhouses sold for less than $70,000. One three-bedroom Manassas townhouse recently sold for $43,500, even though it was assessed at $273,100 in 2007.
“Prince William County is a fire sale,” said Joey Remondino, a “ridiculously busy” real estate agent with StoneHouse Realty in Manassas. “People are looking for amazing deals, and I’m writing offers as fast as I can,” he said.
Somehow being the cheapest is just not what I considered to be a good thing. Who wants to be described on the front page of a national newspaper as a ‘firesale’? I see our county becoming an oasis for investors and absentee landlordism, confirmed by the Post with:
Much of the dealmaking has been led by investors, according to real estate agents who specialize in foreclosed properties. Doctors, lawyers, engineers — anyone with good credit and disposable cash — are becoming part of a burgeoning class of landlords. Some are forming business partnerships to acquire properties; others are realizing that they can buy cheap homes and rent them out for more than the monthly mortgage payments.
I think this might be a cleaned up version of saying ‘slum-lords.’ Does anyone else feel this is something to celebrate? I know the dark screen was clicking its heels and thinking it was going to end up in Oz.
With credit as tight as it is now, I doubt that ordinary couples who have saved for a house will be able to obtain financing. I don’t think our new neighbors will be Mom, Dad, 2.3 kids and a dog.