Existing-Home Sales Up Again in January

The uptrend in existing-home sales continues, with January sales rising for the third consecutive month with a pace that is now above levels a year ago, according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

Existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, increased 2.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.36 million in January from a downwardly revised 5.22 million in December, and are 5.3 percent above the 5.09 million level in January 2010. This is the first time in seven months that sales activity was higher than a year earlier.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said the improvement is good but could be better. “The uptrend in home sales is consistent with improvements in the economy and jobs, which are helping boost consumer confidence,” Yun said. “The extremely favorable housing affordability conditions are a big factor, but buyers have been constrained by unnecessarily tight credit. As a result, there are abnormally high levels of all-cash purchases, along with rising investor activity.”

A parallel NAR practitioner survey shows first-time buyers purchased 29 percent of homes in January, down from 33 percent in December and 40 percent in January 2010 when an extended tax credit was in place.
Investors accounted for 23 percent of purchases in January, up from 20 percent in December and 17 percent in January 2010; the balance of sales were to repeat buyers. All-cash sales rose to 32 percent in January from 29 percent in December and 26 percent in January 2010.

“Increases in all-cash transactions, the investor market share and distressed home sales all go hand-in-hand. With tight credit standards, it’s not surprising to see so much activity where cash is king and investors are taking advantage of conditions to purchase undervalued homes,” Yun said.

All-cash purchases are at the highest level since NAR started measuring these purchases monthly in October 2008, when they accounted for 15 percent of the market. The average of all-cash deals was 20 percent in 2009, rising to 28 percent last year.

The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $158,800 in January, down 3.7 percent from January 2010. Distressed homes edged up to a 37 percent market share in January from 36 percent in December; it was 38 percent in January 2010.

NAR President Ron Phipps, broker-president of Phipps Realty in Warwick, R.I., said the median price is being dampened by unusual market factors. “Unprecedented levels of all-cash purchases, primarily of distressed homes sold at deep discounts, undoubtedly pulls the median price downward,” Phipps said. “Given the levels of inventory we see today, we believe that traditional homes in good condition have held their value.”

Total housing inventory at the end of January fell 5.1 percent to 3.38 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 7.6-month supply at the current sales pace, down from an 8.2-month supply in December. The inventory supply is at the lowest level since December 2009 when there was a 7.3-month supply.

According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage rose to 4.76 percent in January from 4.71 percent in December; the rate was 5.03 percent in January 2010.
Single-family home sales rose 2.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.69 million in January from 4.58 million in December, and are 4.9 percent higher than the 4.47 million level in January 2010. The median existing single-family home price was $159,400 in January, down 2.7 percent from a year ago.

Existing condominium and co-op sales increased 4.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 670,000 in January from 640,000 in December, and are 7.9 percent above the 621,000-unit pace one year ago. The median existing condo price was $154,900 in January, which is 10.2 percent below January 2010.

Regional Sales
Northeast: Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast fell 4.6 percent to an annual pace of 830,000 in January from a spike in December and are 1.2 percent below January 2010. The median price in the Northeast was $236,500, which is 4.0 percent below a year ago.

Midwest :”Existing-home sales in the Midwest rose 1.8 percent in January to a level of 1.14 million and are 3.6 percent above a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $126,300, which is 3.2 percent below January 2010.

South: In the South, existing-home sales increased 3.6 percent to an annual pace of 2.02 million in January and are 8.0 percent higher than January 2010. The median price in the South was $136,600, down 2.1 percent from a year ago.

West: Existing-home sales in the West rose 7.9 percent to an annual level of 1.37 million in January and are 7.0 percent above January 2010. The median price in the West was $193,200, down 5.7 percent from a year ago.

— NAR

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Taste the Middle East without leaving Tysons Corner

Alf Laylah, Tysons Corner

Alf Laylah is located at 8605 Westwood Center Drive #100 in Vienna, VA 22180.  If you are looking for a fun time around the Tysons Corner area, Alf Laylah is the place to be on Friday and Saturday nights.  Alf Laylah is a restaurant that on these nights turns into a lounge.  It is a great place to listen to live Arabian songs and get familiar with the Middle Eastern culture.  The lounge has a dance floor, a full bar and has a variety of hookahs available for customers.  The social scene is a fun and youthful.  The prices are modest for the lounge and the food is amazing.

A great fact about Alf Laylah is that when you go you feel welcomed since the staff is very friendly and the restaurant is very chic and has a modern feel to it.  It is not something that you would expect from a typical Middle Eastern restaurant, and the live music is just spectacular.  The fun fact about the weekend nights is that they have live belly dancing performances, which is a very exciting experience for most.  It is a great place for a date or for a group of friends to go eat, drink, dance and smoke.

Homes for Sale in Vienna VA

Chantilly Regional Library in Chantilly VA

The library that caters to all

The Chantilly Regional Library

Located just off of Stringfellow road: 4000 Stringfellow Road Chantilly, VA 20151-2627, The Chantilly Regional Library is a short commute for local Chantilly residents. It is nearby Greenbriar Shopping Center containing several restaurants, stores, a gas station, and a Giant grocery store. Bus stations are located across the street and as you are entering the library as well as bike racks making transportation simple and very accessible.

The Chantilly Regional Library is designed to fit the needs and desires of kids, teens, and adults of every age group. Equipped with internet stations containing free wireless internet, researching and web surfing are available at the touch of a button. Quiet atmosphere, group tables, and stocked book shelves containing thousands of genres loaded with information create a great combination for those in need of a study area. Also available are meeting rooms open to the public perfect for discussions of any kind.

The library isn’t just limited to studying areas and meeting rooms, there are plenty of activities available too! Author events, musical performances, book sales, and discussion groups are had on a monthly basis. There is even a children’s area filled with books that will interest any young mind. It is definitely safe to say this is a full service library.

Nearby Homes for Sale

55 and Older Community in Lorton

A Vibrant Neighborhood for People 55 and Older

Spring Hill Condo’s is a community for active adults 55 and over in Lorton.  The luxurious condos include two bedrooms and two bathrooms, and many also include a sunroom or balcony.   Spring Hill is located only a couple minutes from I-95 which offers convenient access to Washington D.C.  VRE commuter train station is convenient to this neighborhood.  Taking VRE into Washington, D.C. is extremely convenient and saves time due to congestion of traffic.

On the property there is an impressive collection of amenities for you to enjoy including a fitness center with state-of-the-art weight training equipment and workout machines and low-impact aerobics classes.  There is also a playground with fun places to swing, climb, and explore.  An indoor pool is available year round along with a whirlpool tub.  The clubhouse is the ideal place for neighborhood gatherings, special parties and community-wide events.  Other amenities include tennis and bocce ball courts, walking trails where you can take in the scenery.

Home town living

Northern Virginia is growing for a number of reasons.  Many have settled here to get away from the city and found that it has a home town feel that is just right.  The area has experienced a significant increase in residents that have families with children.  As a result, many builders have found a way to cater to this desire and spend as much time selling a lifestyle as they do a property.  When driving throughout the area it’s hard to miss all of the schools, shopping centers, grocery stores, and play grounds.

Towns such as Leesburg have managed to keep their sense of history while welcoming the expanding county line.  They have had to make adjustments like every other town in the area to accommodate the amount of children that are constantly enrolling.  In Loudoun County alone, they expand by adding at least one or two schools a year.  The interesting thing is that despite the amount of children, families continue to have rave reviews about the class sizes and education that many across the United States would love to experience.  Loudoun has ranked among the top tier school systems in the country.

To preserve the neighborhood feel, just about every subdivision has about a five to ten minute drive to the nearest shopping center that is filled with shops, restaurants, and gas stations.  Many small businesses have been able to survive despite the economy due to this concept.  Grocery stores have catered to the areas professionals by adding services like Express Lane and Peapod where they do your grocery shopping for you.  On the weekends, parking lots across the region are filled with Farmer’s Markets.

It is possible to live in a great home town minutes away from the city.  In 2005, it was impossible to purchase a house without twenty bids being on the property within the hour of it being listed.   With the softening of the economy and housing market, this area has remained a top preference for those still looking to realize the American dream and raise a family.  Northern Virginia is a great testament to this fact and precisely why it will only continue to grow.

Lorton Town Center

The Lorton Town Center has retail shops and restaurants, retailers include:

Lorton VA real estate
Lorton real estate
  • Fusion Nails and Spa
  • Lorton Dry Cleaners
  • Verizon Wireless
  • Salon Red
  • InkStop
  • Curves for Women
  • Wachovia Bank
  • Lorton Station Medical Center
  • KC Pharmacy
  • FedEx Kinko’s

Restaurant choices at the Towncenter include:

  • Pane e Vino
  • Daily Grind
  • Maya’s Pastries
  • Subway
  • Fireside Grill
  • Corner Cuisine
  • Vocelli Pizza

Lorton Marketplace

Lorton Marketplace features retail shops, restaurants, and office space. Retailers include:

  • Shoppers Food and Pharmacy – best doughnuts in the area.  But get there early.
  • Virginia ABC Store – friendly employees who will always greet you with a smile.
  • Mattress Discounters
  • My Eye Doctor
  • Escape Salon and Day Spa
  • UPS Store
  • Lorton Marketplace Barber
  • Lorton Cleaners
  • Reflection Dental
  • C2 Education
  • Minnieland Daycare
  • Bank of America

Future plans for an Exxon Mobil gas station and a medical center are underway. The Marketplace also features a variety of restaurant and food service choices, which include:

  • Caribou Coffee
  • My Karma Indian Bistro
  • Quiznos – Great sandwiches and lunchtime deals.
  • Hong Kong Café
  • Tokyo One
  • Z-Pizza
  • Angie’s Creamery
  • Glory Days Grille

About Lorton Station

Lorton Station situated on 300 acres is located in Southern Fairfax County, Virginia. It is a new planned community that offers residents a blend of conveniences from shopping to dining and outdoor excursions. This development consists of 950 homes south of Washington, DC off Interstate 95, with Virginia Railway Express (VRE) commuter train station within the community. Visit http://www.lortonstation.info/amenities_main.asp for additional information regarding Lorton Station.

Amenities

100 Acre Stream Valley – Joseph Plaskett Park

In the North section of the community lies an existing 100-acre Stream Valley Park. In 1999 the park was dedicated to the founder of Lorton, Joseph Plaskett. This park consists of a wooded walking / biking trail that extends through both ends of the park and the Pohick River which winds its way through the community.

Community Pools

Two outdoor swimming pools, sundecks and bath facilities, located in the North and South sections of the community.

Community Recreation Center

Located at the North pool and is the location where committee and board meetings occur. The clubhouse was designed to resemble a train station and provides a warm, rich setting for small parties and gatherings. The rental fee is $350.

Lorton VRE Station

Lorton Station has its very own Virginia Railway Express (VRE) train stop. This convenience makes Lorton Station a very desireable community. The station is minutes from any of the community’s homes and offers direct access to Washington DC and Metrorail. For information regarding the VRE, please visit: http://www.vre.org/

Tot Lots

There are three tot lots within the community.

Other local amenities include the nearby marinas on the Occoquan and Potomac rivers, several local and state parks, recreation facilities, museums, shopping malls, outlet centers, and fine arts and cultural foundations. This neighborhood is located in one of the nation’s top school districts (FCPS).
For other inquiries regarding the community, please contact:

Lorton Station Community Association
9050 Lorton Station Boulevard
Lorton VA 22079
Tel: (703) 339-3824
Fax (703) 339-3825

For sale at Lorton Station

Pohick Bay Golf Course

Pohick Bay Golf Course is located at 10301 Gunston Road, Lorton, Virginia. The golf course is open during daylight hours, all year. The golf course can be contacted at 703-339-8585. They can also be visited at http://www.nvrpa.org/park/pohick_bay_golf_course/content/hours_and_directions

This scenic course is located on the Mason Neck Peninsula in Lorton, Virginia. Local golf magazines repeatedly name Pohick Bay as one of the area’s most challenging courses. Maps of the course and additional information about each hole can be viewed at http://www.nvrpa.org/park/pohick_bay_golf_course/content/golf_course .

Pohick Bay’s Professional Golf Instructor Ferndando Martinez can help you whether you are a beginner or a skilled golfer. Let him help you take your game to the next level. Fernando has worked with men, women and children of all ages. Visit his page for more information http://www.nvrpa.org/park/pohick_bay_golf_course/content/professional_instruction

Men’s, women’s and junior leagues are available as well as tournament packages. Tournament rates are applicable Monday through Friday for groups of 24 or more golfers and a maximum of 120 golfers for a tournament.

Tournament packages are as follows:

Basic Package $53 per person
Includes:
18-hole greens fee
18-hole cart fee
Range balls
Course gift (logo ball, tee package, course coupon)
Outdoor tent with table and chair setup

Standard Package: $58 per person
Includes:
All items in basic package
Longest drive and closest pin markers
Personalized cart signs and scorecards

Deluxe Package: $63 per person
Includes:
All items in standard package
Post tournament scoring
Morning coffee setup

Basic Junior/Senior Package: $45 per person
Includes:
18-hole greens fee
18-hole cart fee
Range balls
Course gift (logo ball, tee package, course coupon)
Available only to recognized junior or senior golf groups

Standard Junior/Senior Package: $50 per person
Includes:
All items in basic junior/senior package
Longest drive and closest pin markers
Personalized cart signs and scorecards
Outdoor tent with table and chair setup
Available only to recognized junior or senior golf groups

Additional Services include the Pro Shop and a beverage cart service,
The pro shop features a snack bar that offers sandwiches, grill items, breakfast muffins, hot and cold beverages, candy and chips as well as inside seating.
The beverage cart is offered at no charge and carry beer, Gatorades, sodas, water and snacks.

Golf memberships are also available at affordable rates and offer flexible options for all kinds of golfers plus three courses for the price of one! Member benefits can include advanced tee time reservations, unlimited range balls, discounts on pro shop merchandise and even discounted or free greens fees for your guests. All memberships are for twelve months from the date of purchase.

Is Luxury Making a Comeback?

Uber-rich Americans are spending again, on everything from fancy cars to second homes.

“Personal embracement of luxury is now back to (pre-recession) 2007 levels,” marketing specialist Jim Taylor, author of “Selling to the New Elite,” told USA Today. “We’re seeing that in cars, private jet usage and finally, in high-end real estate. There’s a real change in the way people feel about money. They’re making purchases they put off during the recession.”

For example, second-home markets are on the rise: Vacation homes in Cape Cod, Mass., for example, increased 9 percent in 2010. In Palm Beach, Fla., home sales increased nearly 40 percent, and in Hilton Head, S.C., home sales were up nearly 14 percent. Luxury home sales in Southern California are also beginning to pick up, analysts say.

“We’re starting to see movement,” says Madison Hildebrand, a real estate professional who specializes in selling homes in Southern California, and also star of the Bravo’s “Million Dollar Listing” reality show. “People are more confident.”

Analysts also note that when the wealthy start buying, it often has a trickle down effect among middle and upper-income shoppers too.

Source: “For the Wealthy, Luxury is Back,” USA Today (Feb. 20, 2011)

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