2018, the Fed, and Rates

I sure wish I had a crystal ball to help me predict which way or how much the markets will move in 2018. What I can do is give you a picture of some current factors that are moving rates right now and how they affect those of us in the housing market.

In December, the Federal Reserve Board met again and raised the federal fund’s rate by .25% (also phrased as “twenty-five basis points”). This is the fifth time they have raised those rates since December 2015. They raise rates in response to factors such as job markets, inflation, and the country’s overall economic health.

At this time, jobless claims are hitting lows that we have not seen since well before the 2008 market crash. This means that more people are employed and more money is moving through the economy.

As you may know, just because the Fed raises their rate does not always translate to a direct hike in mortgage rates. The federal fund’s rate is what they charge the banks that borrow from them. This means that non-fixed loans such as lines of credit, credit cards, and some ARMs (adjustable rate mortgages) can be affected immediately, but the long-term mortgage rates generally trend with fixed bond markets.

The bond markets that affect housing loans frequently shift when investors move cash out of more volatile stocks and into bonds because they are seeking more conservative, fixed returns.

What’s interesting about our current outlook is that the US stock market is at historic highs and the bond market prices also remain high-even with a healthy economy.

The bottom line for you and me is that 30-year fixed mortgage rates while having gone up somewhat over the last twelve months are still just a little over an average of 4%

Going back to 1971, 30-year mortgage rates have never been this low.

Stocks are high, bonds are high, and mortgage rates are low. We are currently in a rare financial market sweet spot.

This means a couple of things for real estate:

1) With more people back in jobs and mortgage rates low, things should continue to move briskly across the real estate landscape.

2) It is a good time to encourage potential buyers to move ahead with purchasing their first home or upgrading.

If you are currently on an adjustable rate loan, now is a good time to consider refinancing into a fixed mortgage.

While I can’t predict where 2018 will end up in the financial markets, I do know that things are on the rise at this time.

I look forward to serving you as a true partner this year. Please feel free to send an email or call me to discuss anything you need.


Your agent Alan Call me at (571) 398 7061 or email [email protected]

7 Painting Mistakes You May Regret But Can Avoid In Alexandria VA

Painting is about more than sifting through fan decks and playing with online painting tools. Avoid these beginner mistakes, and save your home decor.

  1. Don’t get a sample that’s too small. “When it comes to swatches, size matters. Ask a color expert for an oversize sample or fan deck, and make sure that when you test different shades, you paint swatches that are big enough to evaluate how the color will really look.”
  2. Don’t choose the wrong finish. The finish you choose should correlate with the room’s purpose.”Many homeowners are nervous about using shiny semigloss, but it’s more durable than flat or matte and more moisture-resistant, which makes it perfect for bathrooms and the kitchen,” points out Kristen Chuber, marketing director at Paintzen.On the other hand, flat and matte finishes allow for easy touch-ups, so save those for high-traffic spots like hallways and the kids’ rooms, she adds.
  3. Don’t pick a palette that’s too boring. Beige on beige with some white trim? Zzz … sorry, we dozed off there for a moment.”Some homeowners stick to dull colors so they never have to repaint, but color is a reflection of your personality,” McLean says.
  4. Know your whites before you pick your whites. If you’re new to the world of paint, we’ve got news for you: You can’t just pick “white” paint and call it a day. Even white has different levels and shades, and you need to know what you want before you head to the store.”Some whites are cool, others warm, still more are neutral, so the one you pick will depend on the room’s finishes and undertones,” Gray-Plaisted explains.
  5. Coordinate the ceiling. The ceiling is your fifth wall, so treat it with the same TLC as the other four, Chuber says.”Whether you pick white or a bright color, painting it properly will give you those sharp edges along the top and can make wall color pop,” she says.
  6. Pick the right accent! “Accent walls seem to be the go-to solution for homeowners who are afraid of using color,” says Liz Toombs, president of Polka Dots & Rosebuds Interiors.But think carefully about saturated color on one wall. You don’t simply want the loudest color you can think of, cautions Bee Heinemann, interior designer with Vant Wall Panels: “For an accent wall to work, the bold hue needs to be within the overall color scheme of the room or house.” Plus, going too bright may turn off a potential buyer.
  7. Don’t experiment with trends and crafts. Consult a pro. Stencils and sponge painting may be cute on TV, but adding them to your walls can be tricky.”Some of these can damage the wall, leaving an undesirable texture behind,” Heinemann explains.

Source: Time to Brush Up: 9 Ugly Painting Mistakes You’ll Come to Regret

Types of Condos

Many people picture a high-rise building filled with apartments when they think of a condominium. But, not all condos are high-rises.  In fact, not all condos are buildings, much less hi-rises! For example, a bare land condo  is a condominium in which the owner owns land only.

Even horses are getting into the act! Some stables have gone condo. In a stable condo, the owner purchases a single stall for his horse in a stable, but shares the stable and grounds with other horses and owners. At a marina, it is possible to condo a single slip from a dock. In both cases, the owners pay a fee to the association for maintenance, but in both cases, the owner is solely responsible for his interest in the condo.

A more common type of condominium is the garden-style condo. Garden-style condos are one to five floors of condominiums and usually don’t have an elevator. From the exterior, townhouse condos look exactly like regular condominiums.

It is even possible to have a single family residence titled as a condo. This can happen in a vacation community where the association maintains the exterior and grounds of the house, while the owners have possession of the interior of the house.

This article was reprinted by permission from CondoBenefits.com. If you are a condo expert or if you would like a link from CondoBenefits.com just drop me a line. I’m building a directory of condo experts from around the country at that site and would love your input!


Pope-Leighey House

Frank Lloyd Wright’s take on an affordable American home

Frank Lloyd Wright (June 8, 1867 – April 9, 1959) was an American architect, interior designer, writer and educator, who designed more than 1,000 projects, which resulted in more than 500 completed works. Wright promoted organic architecture (exemplified by Fallingwater), was a leader of the Prairie School movement of architecture (exemplified by the Robie House, the Westcott House, and the Darwin D. Martin House), and developed the concept of the Usonian home (exemplified by the Rosenbaum House). His work includes original and innovative examples of many different building types, including offices, churches, schools, skyscrapers, hotels, and museums. Wright also often designed many of the interior elements of his buildings, such as the furniture and stained glass.

The house of moderate cost is not only America’s major architectural problem but the problem most difficult for her major architects. -Frank Lloyd Wright, 1936

The Pope-Leighey House, formerly known as the Loren Pope Residence, is one of three suburban homes in Virginia designed by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. At the Pope-Leighey House now located at a site on Woodlawn Plantation in Mount Vernon VA, Frank Lloyd Wright strived to solve this problem. Today, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Pope-Leighey House is a National Trust Historic Site, owned and operated by The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a private, nonprofit membership organization dedicated to saving historic places and revitalizing America’s communities.

Inside the home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright

The design follows Wright’s Usonian model of well-designed space for middle-income residents with a design that brings nature inside, using modest materials and a flat roof. This home has an L-shaped single-story floor plan with two bedrooms and a bathroom in one wing and living and dining areas in the other. At the juncture of the two wings are the home’s entrance, a study and the kitchen. To accommodate the original site’s slope, the house features two levels. The home has many interesting architectural details and furniture that was designed by Wright.

Pope-Leighey House is open to visitors from April 8 to December 20 from  Thursday through Monday. Visitors are welcomed.

The Pope Leigh House is located near Fort Belvoir and Woodlawn in the Mount Vernon District of Fairfax County VA

An historic site of The National Trust for Historic Preservation, Pope-Leighey relies exclusively on admissions, shop purchases and tax-deductible contributions to support its mission.

For Sale in Nearby Woodlawn VA