The holiday season is well underway, which explains why this recap is later than usual! November brought news about homeowner equity, the Amazon-effect in the DC-Metro area, and more!
Home Equity News
CoreLogic released its quarterly Homeowner Equity report for 2019 Q3, and there is great news on this front. U.S. homeowners, accounting for roughly 65% of all properties, saw an equity increase of 5.1% over September 2018. Total, that’s an increase of $457 billion (that’s Billion with a ‘B.’) Frank Nothaft, CoreLogic’s Chief Economist, stated, “Ten years ago, during the depths of the Great Recession, 11 million homeowners had negative equity or 25% of mortgaged homes. After more than eight years of rising home prices and employment growth, underwater owners have been slashed to just two million, or less than 4% of mortgaged homes.”
The local angle? West Virginia’s home prices have seen a steady rise since 2017 and are essentially on-par with the national index numbers. Prior to 2017, West Virginia seemed to lag a bit behind in home prices recovery but has caught up nicely in the last two years. Coupled with the steady drop in delinquency rates – 1.1% in September for mortgages 90 days+ past due – and a rise in real household income means West Virginia homeowners are seeing their equity increase. These trends indicate the overall market for West Virginia is not looking too shabby.
The Amazon Effect
Amazon announced it would be opening new headquarters in Crystal City a year ago. Since then, the DC-Metro area has seen an explosion in home prices. This has the possibility to affect the Eastern Panhandle region, specifically Jefferson County, as Charles Town and Harpers Ferry are included in the DC statistical area. Amazon has just started hiring for the region and the area closest to the announced HQ2 has already seen double-digit price increases; Arlington County saw a 33% surge in prices since the announcement and a 49% reduction in available listings. This mirrors what happened in Seattle with home prices, supply, and affordability.
CoreLogic’s Chief Economist Ralph McLoughlin: “Amazon has created a new hotbed of demand in Northern Virginia. Given that we’re seeing double-digit upswings in house prices and Amazon has only just started hiring in the region, I think we can expect prices to increase further in already hot ZIPs and spread to ZIPs farther out.”
We’ll be keeping watch over the situation and the pricing spread in the coming year.
Two of West Virginia’s airports are about to receive a nice windfall for improvements. The Senate Appropriations Committee, which both Senator Manchin and Senator Capito are members of, announced $4.6 million in funding through the FAA’s Airport Improvement Program. The recipients are Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport and Greenbrier Valley Airport, with the aim of improving safety and efficiency.
Day of Giving
West Virginia University and the WVU Foundation hold an annual Day of Giving and this year raised more than $11 million overall, with United Bank making a donation of $1 million in support of WVU Medicine Children’s. The funds will be put toward family-friendly facilities near the main lobby and a welcome center located in a new tower. The spaces will include a pharmacy, gift shop, and lounge area. John Fahey, senior vice president, and bank spokesman:
“This is more than just a check; it’s an investment. What better investment could one have than investing in the health and the healthcare of our youth and our young people?”
We couldn’t agree more. Thank you United Bank.
New Homeowner In Your Life?
A few years ago we put together a “New Homeowner Holiday Gift List” and it was a big hit. Still need ideas? From personalized doormats, Homeowner Tool Sets, to splurges like Sonos home speakers, check out our suggestions: Cool New Homeowner Gift Ideas.
Building Community, One Home at a Time
We love our state and the people who live here with us, and we’re invested in building strong communities. Contact us today for all your panhandle real estate needs!