Scott York, Chairman Loudoun County Board of Supervisors met with the Dulles Area Association of Realtors Government and Political Affairs Committee yesterday. The purpose of this meeting was to discuss the Loudoun housing market and other Loudoun real estate related issues.
Some of the topics covered were:
- Current state of the housing market and future projections
- Foreclosure and short-sale situation and issues
- Loudoun down-payment assistance program and county employee housing assistance
- Best use of $2M from Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP)
- New Loudoun County tax rate of $1.245 per $100
- Proposed increase in proffers
- The first annual Dulles Home Fair
- Moorefield Station and Dulles Rail update
I think that we surprised Scott York with some of the latest information and statistics on the Loudoun County housing market as well as the foreclosure and short-sale situation. But that was a given… The market, bank policies and rules change so quickly and often that it’s hard to keep up – even for full time real estate agents.
Some of us made the suggestion that the county use the $2M from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program more for down-payment assistance than for buying up foreclosure properties to rehab and flip. Rather than buying 10 to 12 foreclosure properties, rehabbing them and flipping them, they could do something like offer $15K in down payment assistance to 150 home buyers who really need it. This could benefit people such as county employees many of who live in West Virginia or Maryland because they couldn’t previously afford to live in Loudoun.
Personally, I think that down payment assistance is a much better use of those funds because it’s helps a far greater number of people than flipping a few bank-owned homes. (Click here to read more about what’s going on with the Neighborhood Stabilization Program and the money)
The first annual Dulles Home Fair was also a topic of discussion, particularly the classes being offered at the event. The classes will help Realtors and consumers better understand the current real estate market and home buying opportunities. (On a side note…Loudoun County is helping sponsor the event)
The latest news on Moorefield Station is that it will be completed sometime in 2016 rather than the 2013-2015 date previously thrown around. Scott York mentioned that the bulk of the construction will occur within the last 2 years of development. Consider the next 4 to 5 years to be the calm before the storm…
And the topic that many of you have been waiting to hear about – the new Loudoun County tax rate.
When sharing our concerns with the new Loudoun tax rate and those of our clients and others we’ve spoken with, he looked as though he had heard the same things from others hundreds of times before. And then he brought up an interesting and great point…
When you do an apples-to-apples comparison of the tax rate of all the counties and areas in Northern Virginia, Loudoun County is NOT the highest in the area as many claim it is (including mass media).
Loudoun County has one real estate tax - $1.245 per $100 – that covers everything while other jurisdictions have multiple taxes that they add on top of the real estate tax. Examples of taxes that other jurisdictions add on to your tax bill are fire and rescue, stormwater service, leaf collection, refuse collection and community centers. These additional taxes make for much higher overall tax rates than advertised.
In addition, Loudoun County’s commercial tax rate is lower than many other jurisdiction’s rates. This may not mean much to many of you, but it means a lot to those of you who are involved in commercial real estate or are a business owner.
So even though Loudoun’s tax rate seemed really high at first glance, it’s actually not as high as others in Northern Virginia (*cough*…Prince William County… *cough* …Fairfax County… *cough* …and others…)
Definitely a productive meeting with lots of good information and ideas discussed. I got some good things out of it and hope Scott York did as well.
I just stopped by to see Todd Shea over at the Gulick Group model home in Brambleton to see what was going on with Gulick, their homes, base prices and lots. I was pleasantly surprised after learning about Gulick's new lower base prices, incentives, revised products and available lots – many of which back to water.
Base prices on their Garden Terrace series (3-car garage) have been reduced as following:
- The Hampton model – was $884,900 – now $769,500
- The Townsend model - was $914,900 – now $799,500
Base prices on their New American series (2-car garage) have been reduced as following:
- The Brentwood model - was $797,900 – now $677,500 or $727,500 (depending on section)
- The Ashcroft model – was $842,900 – now $699,500 or $749,500 (depending on section)
Gulick is offering $30,000 in free options and $10,000 in closing costs (regardless of lender-a huge plus). Considering Gulick homes come standard with a lot of the things other builders consider "options", that $30,000 can go a loooooong way.
For example, 4-sides brick, granite countertops in the kitchen, stainless steel appliances, high-quality double-hung windows, 42" cabinets, hardwood, etc., are all standard.
One way you could use that $30,000 is to finish off the rec room, full bath and game room in the basement. Or you could upgrade all the appliances in the kitchen for $3,800, put granite in the bathrooms for $1,200, upgrade the padding and put tile in the laundry room for a few thousand, etc.
The point is that you don't need to spend a lot of money on options because Gulick homes come loaded to begin with. So basically, you could put in some really nice options and not even spend more than the base price.
The only place where you may have to spend a bit more is on the lots that back to the water – they're $20,000 more than the lots that back to other homes. Twelve out of the fourteen lots that back to the water have walk-out basements (the other two are walk-ups). Though the non-water lots don't have walk-out basements, their lots are slightly bigger.
The one thing Gulick also did was revise some of the models so that you could get either a front load OR rear load garage – something not previously available. This gives you more options as far as which model you can put on which lot.
Delivery dates are 7 to 8 months (Gulick is good about staying on schedule). The Earnest Money Deposit needed to move forward is $60,000 which can be given to them all at once or broken up into 2 or 3 equal payments over 30 to 60 days.
If you're looking to move within 30 to 60 days (or less), Gulick does have a fully loaded Ashcroft model which backs to the water available for immediate delivery. It's priced in the mid $900K's.
If you're interested in taking a look at the model home, speaking with Todd or getting more information about Gulick and/or Brambleton, send me an email or call me – danilo.bogdanovic (at) gmail (dot) com – 703.582.6900 (cell). I'm well versed in the ins and outs of new construction and the various builders in Loudoun, as well as how to get the best deal possible.
P.S. If you're interested in Gulick "resales" on the market, let me know. There are currently 3 Gulick resales on the market in Brambleton ranging from $859,500 to $1,199,000. They can go quickly if priced correctly - one Gulick resale on Minerva Dr just went under contract the other day after only 6 (six) days on the market. It was listed for $649,900 (bank-owned) and it received 7 offers before it was pulled off the market so that the bank could pick one of the offers.
Here' an update on what new construction and spec homes are available in Van Metre Homes' Stone Ridge community located off of Route 50 in Loudoun County:
Stone Ridge – Single family homes
Van Metre has 5 home sites available for the Hickory model (which is part of the Savannah Collection). In addition, they have one spec Hickory model available.
All 5 of the "to-be-built" home sites and the spec home are 20% off. The base prices for the "to-be-built" Hickory models are $475K. The spec home is pretty loaded and, with the 20% off, is $438K.
Van Metre has one Brighton spec home available. It's loaded with options including a finished basement, full bath an 2 bedrooms giving it a total of 7 bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms.
They have a total of 50 single family home sites left in the community, but they don't anticipate many of those lots having any more Hickory models on them, just the other series, which the Brighton is a part of.
Stone Ridge – Town homes
Van Metre has 4 Erickson (interior model, 2900 square feet) specs available. With all incentives, they price out between $358K and $389K (prices vary due to options chosen). Delivery dates are all in February.
They have several of the smaller town homes (2400-2500 sq ft) available. They are "to-be-built" and with all incentives come out to a base price of $340-$370K. New buildings have been released and offer pond views (covered bridge, fountain, landscaped). Delivery dates on "from dirt" town homes range from April/May to June/July.
Note: $10K of the incentives on the single family homes and $5K of the incentives on the town homes are tied to using Intercoastal Mortgage and the builder's title company of choice.
If you'd like more information about Van Metre, Stone Ridge, available lots and models or want to visit the community in person, contact me – danilo.bogdanovic (at) gmail (dot) com – 703.582.6900.