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Last November I posted an entry here pointing readers to an item on the Northern Virginia Housing Bubble Fallout blog, showing the asking price for a home in Woodbridge, a close-in suburb about 15-20 miles south of Washington D.C. The house had last sold in the spring of 2005 for $315,000 and was now being listed for $115,000. I posted it just to counter the spin from denialists that “Washington DC real estate never goes down.” (or that if and when it does, it only falls in waaaaaaay-out exurbs like those on the way to West Virginia. You know, not really near D.C.)
My posting was met with a fair bit of criticism from some readers like this:
“Let’s get serious. This is such an unrealistic example of what is typically happening in the market today in the metro DC area.”
“Bottom line, don’t think this will be the price it eventually sells for.”
“Think the writer needs to get a serious beating on his performance review for this one!”
"The problem with this example is the final price drop. A cape like this would probably have sold for $200K."
I actually didn't mind the comments, even those recommending that I receive a "serious beating." I prefer this blog to offer a free-wheeling exchange of views, and if it didn't, it would be pretty boring. And given that we journalists have a bigger megaphone than most Americans, I don't actually mind the personal shots--as long as they remain verbal.
I raise all of this because the author of the NOVA Bubble blog saw the comments, and made a mental note to keep checking to see if the house in Woodbridge ever did sell--and for how much. Even our NOVA blogster wondered if the price had been low-balled just to stimulate interest, and that the final sale price would be much, much higher.
The news here, as reported on the NOVA blog, is that the house did sell -- on December 17th -- for $150,000, according to the Prince William County's assessment website.
That's 52% below the property's prior sale in 2005, and was much lower than the prices Deutsche Bank had listed it at for seven months.
Your volley, readers...
BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.