Real Estate is booming in Prince William County. This is a good news/bad news situation. While houses are selling at dirt cheap prices, these sales are helping to set the assessment rate and therefore, the amount of money brought in by the county. The sales are also helping lock in our home value. Anyone who needs to sell their home in the near future is going to be giving away their house.

Another down side of the real estate boom in PWC is that investors are gobbling up properties. Some of our neighborhoods are about 15% rental. The county is considering a rental inspection program down the road. Currently, in order to do that, an area must be declared a blighted area. Very few homeowners would like their neighborhood declared a blighted area.

Neighborhoods that have too many rental units are often plagued with problems from home upkeep to overcrowding. Absentee landlordism has been responsible for the downfall of many local communities as owners moved onward and upward and kept their properties. Other folks sold out to investors. Several examples of rental properties gone bad can be seen in the county and in the city.

Cheaper isn’t always better. Homeowners will have to be vigilant to maintain their neighborhoods if a disproportionate number of homes become rental units. Ideally, the investors will be members of the community. Then there is a real interest in who rents your house.

Hopefully, the upturn in the real estate market is a sign of recovery and that soon good news will emerge.

25 Thoughts to “The Investors are Coming!”

  1. ShellyB

    If all our neighbors turn out to be renters, chances are there will continue to be issues. Hopefully the renters will be diverse enough that no one has any complaints about their skin color or national origin.

  2. Juturna

    Exactly, increaseing absentee landlords is the worst situation possible. Deterioration comes with residents totally uncomitted to the community. We are well on our way to rising to the standards of PG County……

    This is not good news and is NOT a positive of the stinkin’ resolution. It is part of the unintended consequences of the stinkin’ resolution. Those that can’t grasp economics and think sales are up and life is good are sadly mistaken.

    The 4th quarter results will tell the story – will PWC sink futher than a 30% decline?

  3. Chris

    I think we will see a spike in foreclosure in Jan or Feb 2009. The foreclosure “moratorium” did nothing more than postpone the foreclosure process.

    I don’t think anyone wouldn’t want their community declared as blight. However, with a rise in rental properties this very well could happen. This is so sad. I think a pilot rental inspection program is not far off in our future. Neighborhood Services has certainly seen major changes over the past few years. Now, with all these foreclosures they are faced with yet another wave of violations that have not typically been a problem.

  4. Chris

    corr: I don’t think anyone *WOULD* want their community declared as blight.

  5. ShellyB

    Did PWC enter the economic crisis and housing crisis a year ahead of schedule for the rest of the nation, or is that just how it feels when your house drops in value by nearly 40 percent?

  6. Juturna

    It all begins somewhere. According to Chicago Futures back in 2006, South Fla and DC were the beginning. The third wave of ARMS has not hit yet if I am correct, Lafayette?

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  8. Chris

    Right you are. The loans made in 2005-2006 with 2 and 3 year ARM’s are the last of the masses. There were still some of those same type loans made in 2007, but nearly the number we’d seen in the three prior years.

    The prices are ridiculously low. The banks do not want to hold to these properties they want to dump them as soon as they can. This in turn brings the prices down even lower. We’ve still got a ways to go in this county, and across the nation with the foreclosures.

  9. Censored bybvbl

    When I read that article, I knew it would be wildly spun on the darkside as a sign that PWC was making a recovery. If you’re responsible for making the county seem like the armpit of the metropolitan DC area, of course you’ll try to spin a recovery that is just around the corner – but what has happened is that we’ve had sales at fire sale prices compared to our neighbors.

    A few reasons we have fewer houses on the market this month are that it’s the holiday season and people don’t want buyers traipsing through their houses; it’s winter and a routine slow selling time; and, as Chris said, there’s been a moratorium on foreclosures for the holidays. To expect a turn-around and a rosy future within six months as is expressed on the darkside is NUTS!! We have many loans yet to go into foreclosure.

  10. Cindy B

    Here’s a link to a community that has volunteers that help with creative solutions to code violations:

    Why wait for your neighborhood to be declared blighted?

  11. Moon-howler

    I hardly think any of the real estate news qualifies for a celebration. These low prices are just appalling. Military families, especially at the other end of the county have been hit pariticularly hard. One’s credit rating also affects one’s security clearance, does it not? I imagine a foreclosure doesn’t look so good on someone who needs a top clearance to do their job.

    What does a person do if they were transferred here at the top of the market, bought a house and got transferred after 3 years. Their house is worth half what they paid for it and they very well could have to choke up a couple hundred grand in order to sell.

  12. NotGregLetiecq

    Greg Letiecq is the digital equivalent of the girl who carved a backwards “B” in her face and said a tall Black guy who supports Barack Obama did it.
    They both got some attention at first, but once everyone figured out they were lying, they became little more than lurid spectacles.

    Look away if you can. I do. But if you can’t resist the spectacle, remember that he cannot impact our Board of Supervisors or our General Assembly using his own name. He has destroyed his name. And the internet smoke and mirror tricks no longer fool anyone.

  13. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    People here are hilarious. Cycles in the housing market…..we need more illegal aliens! Yeah, that’ll fix everything right up.

  14. Chris

    Slow, who the hell said anything about illegal aliens to buy these houses?
    I hope you do realize these investors will be more than willing to rent to anyone that has money. They will/do not give a shit about what happens as a neighborhood.

    Yes, there are cycles in the housing market, and foreclosures is certainly one of them. The foreclosure cycle was due anyways, and we were hit harder than other local jurisdictions. This in part because we had some of the most affordable housing in the area, decent schools, and safe community. I do NOT want to see my neighborhood go back to the way it was a year and half ago.

  15. ShellyB

    Chris, if it’s true as Gospel and Duecaster claim that people have fled the county, which I don’t doubt, due to the Resolution, wouldn’t you have to add to your list of because’s?

    Now that the reset button has been set in your neighborhood, it will be your job to advocate a different approach when people move into the vacant houses. I’m sure you are already thinking this. But, whatever they look like, where ever they come from, whatever age, whatever jobs they work, whatever it is that can be generalized about them. If they do something that you don’t like, make sure that neighborhood services can address it instead of a mob screaming for a police state.

    I don’t think we can withstand another shock to our housing market.

  16. ShellyB

    NGL, indeed Gospel Greg has a scarlet letter B on his face. It doesn’t stand for “Barack” though. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think Citizen Tom has topped him on the other thread.

  17. Chris


    I’ve met several people of the new occupants on my block. One gentleman was kind enough to give me all the iris bulbs he’d dug up and was going to throw away. I talked with gentleman, wife, and kids for awhile. They’d been living in Culpepper for the last three years, after leaving WG. The wife missed Manassas, and specifically WG. They said they were glad to be living in a neighborhood where their were other children for their kids to play with, have a nice yard for the entire family enjoy, etc.(the same things most want from a community). I’ve met some other folks too. We’ve had a variety of folks move in, and they’ve got the houses to a state of repair/maintenance that I once remembered. I’m not saying it’s perfect, but drastically improved. I’ve seen the same types of changes in the other nearby neighborhoods. I won’t revitalization to happen in all the neighborhoods throughout the county to happen. It will only happen with help of residents introducing themselves to one another, and let the new people now that there are certain things that are expected from the community.

    The list of things certainly does include the resolution. The resolution is NOT numero uno by any means though. I do have a friend that’s been here since middle that has recently become a legal resident, and she said that was the proudest moment of her life, and knows she will be even prouder when she finally becomes a US Citizen. She told me she doesn’t feel like this is the place she’s called home for a better part of her life.

  18. ShellyB

    Thanks for the update, Chris. I’m confused about the claims being made by those who supported the Resolution and those who didn’t. Was it a “success” because people left? Then it should be acknowledged that our housing market is the weakest in all of Virginia as a result. Oh, no, wait, people didn’t move out because of the Resolution? Then stop claiming that the “success” of it was that people moved out.

  19. Chris,

    Good for you that you smile your happy smile when you drive through your neighborhood nowadays.

    Too bad it took a resolution dripping with bigotry and white oppression of minorities to bring that dazzling smile back onto your face. I wonder what happened to all those poor people who had to run and hide. I wonder what became of their dreams.

    Anyways, out of sight, out of mind, right?

  20. Chris


    I didn’t say or even indicate that I drive through my neighborhood with a smile. You are making assumptions. You clearly didn’t bother to read what I said, instead you chose to read “white bigotry” comments into it. Which had nothing to with what I was talking about. I said my neighborhood was improved, not perfect. I still report violations to the county as deemed necessary. My neighborhood’s not perfect, nor will it ever be. However, that does not mean we as a community shouldn’t strive for perfection.FYI-the family from Culpepper was Latino. I bet you thought they were white.

    By the way there’s no dazzling smile on face. The illegal aliens are still amidst us. Trust me, nothing’s out sight, or out of mind to me. Why would it be when many of the same problems still exist just not at the level they once were.

    You sir, are the one that makes regular statements against white people. I don’t make the types of statement about any group like you do about whites. So who sounds bigoted there, Mackie. Hint NOT me.!!

    I have dreams too, Mackie! What about my dreams? Aren’t you concerned about those?
    I dream of living in a safe neighborhood of single family homes with single families living in them. There were at one time a dozen flophouse overcrowded by all males. This might be a dream of yours, and others. It’s not my dream, and I think most reasonable would agree.

  21. ShellyB

    Chris, you don’t have to respond to a question if it’s posed that way. Mackie, c’mon, that’s not necessary to be so tough on Chris. She is one of our best people here and knows the most since she was once in HSM.

    Chris, if can block out that comment, can you tell us if you think it was worth it all in all? The Resolution I mean?

  22. Moon-howler

    Since no one can really tell us what is left in the Immigration Resolution that has any impact on anything, that will be a pretty difficult question for Chris to answer. I keep asking and no one has really answered.

    I have ventured that the entire purpose was to scare people out of town. No one has denied that.

    Seriously all you black velvets, I would like to know how the Resolution has changed anything. I have watched tv and videos of ‘thank you thank you supervisors for voting for this thing.’ What has it done?

  23. Red Dawn

    “Since no one can really tell us what is left in the Immigration Resolution that has any impact on anything, that will be a pretty difficult question for Chris to answer. I keep asking and no one has really answered.”

    The foreclosures were happening BEFORE the CHATTER of the resolution.

    EVERYTHING AFTER that, is up for grabs.

    The ONLY common thing that I see both sides say, is that the area was affordable with a good commute to work.

    Big Mack,

    There is reason for Chris to smile and she is right to say that you have to be ASSUMING the reason why.

    There was a huge problem and it was in HOUSING! The owners may not have cared who rented the house or how many people lived in it as long as they collected their money.
    There were slum landlords back then and unfortunately, we are going to see them again.

    People were buying up house( S), flip flopping collateral around and it came crashing down.
    People bought houses with hopes that they would get a raise in pay- as it was pitch/PREACHED to them AND if not, were told that they could refi to get out of the TERMS(arms/2 yr pre-payment penalty) as it was only TEMPORARY with the market going upward they would have equity, almost double in a YEAR.

    The PROBLEM was the above and both of those situations lead to the homeowner NOT being able to maintain the home-causing the itch of what Chris is talking about.

    Yes, we can account for people being uneducated when it comes to money but when a person has never been through the process of buying a home and the stack of papers to go thru, it is overwhelming.

    People SAW their PEERS being able to do it -word of mouth is a fast and furious vehicle.
    Was it a TRUST issue or a uneducated guess?

    In a normal real estate transaction, there is a Realtor, lender, appraiser,surveyor and settlement company involved.( sure- title company, but they just report court records and can’t fudge 🙂 if they do it’s their job and/or insurance claim.
    If any homeowner wanted to take the time to talk to each and everyone involved in such a transaction, more than likely you would be referred to the next. It is not as easy as it sounds, so many homeowners would just stop at the idea that they are PAYING money for this to be handled.(usually a Realtor/settlement co.)

    Most people cannot read a HUD statement but usually in the end, settle with a attorney(settlement co) and think they have their best interest.

    There is a lot of confusion to do what seems a semi-difficult transaction, that even if you thought you were being consumer savvy, it is challenging.
    The best advice I would have for anyone trying to buy a home is shop around with the Realtor and AFTER finding the house, contact a real estate attorney FIRST and have THEM work with the Realtor, set up the lender, appraiser, title and so on.

    Have the attorney work for you.

  24. Moon-howler

    Going after Chris is probably not a great way to get along on Anti. Chris has probably done more to work with various county services and to meet people half way than anyone on this blog or on the dark screen.

  25. Red Dawn

    And let us not forget that dirty deeds are done dirt cheap


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