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.

20 Thoughts to “Falling House Prices, Rising Sales”

  1. IVAN

    We are changing from a “bedroom community” to a “bedroom for rent” community. And just who will rent these properties?

  2. Not Me, Bubba

    Oh you have no idea how disparaging this is….

    On my street alone several homes still sit vacant – one since March. All foreclosed. Those that have sold – like our neighbor’s were listed in the low 200’s. I found out today it sold for 240. Keep in mind these homes were going for 550K a two years ago :>(

    My husband and I need to move for our son. He needs special services for a speech disorder and Manassas Park told us in no uncertian terms – he would have to be retarted to qualify through their system – their system that is overtaxed and understaffed. Our son is not mentally retarted. Furthermore, since we have “private insurance” we would be even further down on the list of getting child-find services because we supposedly could afford it – never mind my healthcare plan covers NO Occupational/speech therapy.

    We want to move to PWC. Fairfax would be ideal, but we just cannot afford it. The School system in PWC is better than Manassas Park. And it BURNS me when I go home that if I were to essentially cross the street – and move there I would be in PWC.

    We have been looking at foreclosed homes. Our realtor dissuades us from short sales, for there is NO guarantee. BUt the prices keep dropping. Now that is good and bad for us…good in that housing becomes affordable. BAD because it means the value of our home and our buying power decreases with the continually falling prices.

    And while people ARE buying these homes, like teh article states, it isn’t the first-time homebuyer. It is landlords looking to rent out. Our other neighbors are renters….

    *sigh*

  3. NotGregLetiecq

    All that struggling I’ve been doing to make it into the middle class, and thanks to the Immigration Resolution and a little bit of banking deregulation, the middle class is crashing down to me. I should be able to buy a house within the next year. I wonder if I’ll be the type of neighbor they were hoping for when they decided to get rid of the Latinos.

  4. Great….we live in a firesale because we’re such big losers. And now we will be under the thumb of the Land Barons. Celebrate the return of Feudalism….

  5. Not Me, Bubba

    we’re losers because we played by the rules.

  6. “we’re losers because we played by the rules.”

    How so?

  7. Not Me, Bubba

    We’re stuck in thsi economy and cannot get out. We didn’t over-mortgage ourselves, we didn’t overextend, we played it safe and operated within reason – and for that we lose. because this world is not fair, the world plays dirty, and those who follow rules they had nothing to do with establishing always lose. We’re losers because we follow the rules. KWIM?

  8. Red Dawn

    Not Me, Bubba,

    I agree with your comment @ 20:36 about playing by the rules.
    Just give up, trying to explain that sanity of doing the right thing and going the EXTRA mile with HEART behind it.

    I Flipped the other night and it showed. I was accused of drinking, being nuts or not able to project my thought process via the keyboard.

    2 out of 3 I admit too. LOL

    I ADMIT when I am wrong! 🙁

    I thought I would give the 401-keg investment a SHOT (lol)

    see below for the explanation of the 401-keg investment:

    “Moon-howler, 12. October 2008, 19:55

    If all else fails:

    Good Investment Advice! (and unfortunately not original)

    1) If you had purchased $1,000 of AIG stock one year ago, you would have $42
    left.

    2) With Lehman, you would have $6.60 left.

    3) With Fannie or Freddie, you would have less than $5 left.

    4) If you had purchased $1,000 worth of beer one year ago, drank all of the
    beer, then turned in the cans for the aluminum recycling REFUND, you would have
    $214.

    Based on the above, the best current investment advice is to drink heavily
    and recycle.

    It’s called the 401-Keg.”

    Anyway, I do have a problem with written expression and on NUMEROUS posts, I , have made this disclaimer.

    Hope that clear things up.

    I am SORRY for my investment the other night of wine in a BOX ( go get you one and see how much you end up drinking?…you can’t tell it is in a BOX! LOL
    I am just so SICK of everyone being so nasty to each other, that’s all folks.

    Cheers-

  9. DB

    NMB,
    What do you mean that your son has a speech disorder and the child find services won’t help? That’s absurd. If a child under five and not in K has a speech disorder, a parent can and should contact a local child find office and request testing. This is a parental right. The speech therapist will schedule a do a screening. If that child has a speech disorder that is considered not to be developmental than the child receives a speech IEP, and therapy. It is expected that if the child does not attend school that the parents or some designated person transport the child to speech therapy sessions. Once the child begins K, the speech therapy will be done by the therapist located at the child’s attendance school. It does not matter if a parent has insurance. My friend who has private insurance has both of her children in speech therapy through Faquier county schools, and I know for a fact that the speech therapist at my school services children who are not yet attending school, but have been found to have speech issues. Speech is a service, NOT a related service like OT. Children can receive just speech therapy, however children who receive OT must have another disability as well (not including just speech). I do believe though it is expected that more intense audiological screenings, beyond the typical screening tests used by schools, will be paid by parents who have private insurance. However, like you I discovered that my insurance company would not pay for an audiological exam despite the fact that my son’s pediatrician reccomended it. They told me the school had to do it. The school told me that such an exam is not done by them unless the parent has medicaid. Fortunately, my son was able to qualify for speech without the more indepth audiological exam. There is a lack of speech pathologists in most school systems unfortunately, however, if you believe your son has a disorder, have your pediatrician write a referral for child find testing. If that is not working, consider finding a special ed parent advocate to help advocate for you and your son.

  10. DB

    Good god! Sorry about the grammatical/punctuation/spelling errors. It’s been a long hard week:)

  11. Red Dawn

    DB,

    Just wash it away with wine in the box 😉 LOL

    PMS, Post traumatic distress,heartlessness, ECONOMESS……lol

  12. Elena

    Wow, the news about PWC just keeps getting more depressing. I think we need a thread about the good things that keep us here !

  13. Moon-howler

    Elena, good luck with that one. I looked and came up with nada.

    Red Dawn, no one here accused you of anything. No one here is that crass and rude.
    It would probably just be a good idea to keep the dark and the light screen comments seperate.

  14. Wisteria

    It sounds like Pr. Wm. is becoming a ghetto county. Cheap doesn’t sounds so good when talking about the neighborhoods.

    Why would the supervisors want to supervise a ghetto county? They helped make it that way and the voters elected to turn their county into a ghetto.

  15. Jurtuna

    Thank you wisteria for finally recognizing things for what they are. I have repeatedly stated that our supervisors offered us up as the ghetto for NOVA. Here is the history of the tax rate
    2000 it was $1.36
    2003 it was $1.23
    2006 $.91
    2007 $.76
    2009 it went back up to $.97.

    Did it matter that the actual tax bill (regardless of the rate) is thousands below the average of the surrounding area?? Didn’t anyone think our costs of housing needed to stay relative to the region or we would end up the ghetto??? Is it really possible that those that make these decisions actually don’t understand the impact of what they do???!!

    Crime happens in ghettos. Businesses leave ghettos. Economic development does not happen in ghettos. Schools decline in ghettos. Private schools aren’t attracted to ghettos. Does anyone THINK?

    We ALL let this happen. Lower taxes is not always a good thing – but it took this for folks to realize it. I am so disgusted with PWC – elected folks and community. One or two people did not make this happen. Stop making them larger than they are.

  16. Jedi Master Yoda

    The supervisors looked so good lowering our taxes, or so we thought.

    Ghetto thinking produces ghettos. Our houses sell for ghetto prices and our police handle ghetto problems like drive by shootings and open air drug deals.

  17. NotGregLetiecq

    Wisteria,

    Please know that six of the eight Supervisors DID NOT WANT to turn PWC into a ghetto. It was driven by Corey Stewart, John Stirrup, and Greg Letiecq (who was like Supervisor as the chief political adviser to Corey Stewart). Now that Greg has been exposed as an extremist wack-job, and Corey has been forced to distance himself from him several times, and now that the Immigration Resolution has been castrated (i.e. made to conform to the U.S. Constitution), the six sane Supervisors are trying their best to put the county back on track in spite of Corey Stewart’s “leadership.”

    I don’t know if they can do it, with all the damage the Immigration Resolution has done to our economy. I’m a renter. So I’m not tied down to this place. But I did renew my lease after the April changes to the Resolution. I believed things were turning around then. I still do, in terms of having sane people control our county government instead of hate groups from Washington and people like Gospel Greg Letiecq.

    But with the national economy following the PWC economy into the tank, I’m really worried that PWC will suffer all the more in competition with the surrounding counties who will be recovering faster and better than we do because they do not suffer from our reputation.

  18. Jurtuna

    NGL – please go back to the vote to raise taxes in 2007. Caddigan, Jenkins, Barg for, the rest against. Now, back to 2008….. The vote to reduce taxes was not “won” by a minority.

  19. Not Me, Bubba

    “What do you mean that your son has a speech disorder and the child find services won’t help? That’s absurd. If a child under five and not in K has a speech disorder, a parent can and should contact a local child find office and request testing. This is a parental right. ”

    DB – they aren’t saying they won’t test him. In fact they’re eager to test him because they get state funding to do so – for each test they conduct they get additional funds. It is the FOLLOW UP treatment that they said they really wouldn’t be providing because A) we have private health insurance and B) there are needier people out there. I shite ye not. We were told the BEST we could hope for would be one 30 minute session a week if his tests showed he needed help, scoring under 13% of all children out there for age-appropriate speech.

    “It does not matter if a parent has insurance. My friend who has private insurance has both of her children in speech therapy through Faquier county schools, and I know for a fact that the speech therapist at my school services children who are not yet attending school, but have been found to have speech issues.”

    Tell that to Manassas Park schools. We were told otherwise.

    “however, if you believe your son has a disorder, have your pediatrician write a referral for child find testing. If that is not working, consider finding a special ed parent advocate to help advocate for you and your son.”

    Our son has already been diagnosed as dyspraxic. He was evaluated by Children’s Hospital in DC. We have had a developmental pediatrician also confirm this diagnosis and have had ALL possible medical problems ruled out (His hearing is fine). NOnetheless, after telling MP about this, they’re eager to test him, but have told us that because we have private insurance we should go that route because care/services are dispensed on a need and hardship basis. He has the need, but they don’t see us as needy since we have insurance. So we’re going to tell MP to go eff itself and move to PWC or Fairfax in the spring. We’ve spoken to both those school systems and have been told that if we move there, from what we have described, he could get services regardless of whether we have insurance or not. AND we *may* qualify for more than just 1 30-minute session a week. They would still need to see him, but since our son’s most recent Praxis evaluation on language ability scored him at 3% – I’ll wager we’d qualify for a LOT more.

    Manassas Park is a joke of a “city” and should be re-absorbed into PWC. We pay exorbitant taxes and get ZILCH in return – unless you want to include sub-standard water and taxes, taxes, taxes…. I imagine it is quite nice to sit one’s arse in the MP city hall – payment for nothing at the expense of everyone else.

  20. Moon-howler

    No me,

    Have you spoken with the compliance office in Richmond? I believe that the city has to either provide services or pay for you to pick them up elsewhere.

    I am not familiar with the disabilities you mentioned. But I would sure check back with DB and the state compliance office in Richmond.

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