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Old 01-13-2009, 11:46 AM
 
72 posts, read 166,367 times
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Are salaries in NOVA representative of the cost of housing? For example, if you make $200K/yr you are able to afford a $500K house/townhouse. What is a reasonable salary in NOVA that will allow you to afford a new house/townhouse?
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Old 01-13-2009, 12:33 PM
 
Location: Burke, VA
269 posts, read 900,526 times
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No they are not! I work as an Accountant and were I a single woman, I would have to count pennies to survive in the D.C. area. This is why there are so many double-income couples here, you really need 2 incomes especially when just starting out. Now if you are a law-firm partner or medical doctor (pretty much the only people who consistently make $200k/yr) and/or very established in your corporate or federal gov't career, perhaps it's doable to afford a nice life.

Btw, don't believe the hype about this being a so-called "Buyer's Market". My husband & I just put in an offer on a bank-owned SFH yesterday and it was rejected without even a counter-offer. The home was listed for $400,000 and is old and very outdated, but it got snapped up quick and we are utterly heartbroken. Please buy IMMEDIATELY if you find a home that is affordable and nice, do not wait because the market is really ticking up and there are no deals to be had in NOVA. Even for a home that is $500,000 you may need to put in some "elbow greese" and it won't even be all that nice.

Good Luck!
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Old 01-13-2009, 12:47 PM
 
1,261 posts, read 5,618,301 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 05c6400 View Post
Are salaries in NOVA representative of the cost of housing? For example, if you make $200K/yr you are able to afford a $500K house/townhouse. What is a reasonable salary in NOVA that will allow you to afford a new house/townhouse?
It will depend on your credit history and your income/debt ratio rather than just your salary. I purchased my first home in North Arlington when I was single, had only been working 3 years and was making $50K. And now that I'm married, I chose to stay home with our child (with my husband's support of course). Our mortgage is our only debt. Every home we've bought we've made sure we could pay with only one salary so we have saved for a good down payment.
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Old 01-13-2009, 01:23 PM
 
72 posts, read 166,367 times
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Thank you for your responses. Yes, I know that it will be based on credit history and income/debt ratio. Even though I make a six figure income and with a high credit score and no debt I can only be approved for about $390K - $417K. Just hard to find a nice SFH or TH for that price. It just feels like the county is driving people out of certain income levels.

Last edited by 05c6400; 01-13-2009 at 01:38 PM..
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Old 01-13-2009, 01:59 PM
 
9,738 posts, read 8,069,520 times
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Originally Posted by 05c6400 View Post
Thank you for your responses. Yes, I know that it will be based on credit history and income/debt ratio. Even though I make a six figure income and with a high credit score and no debt I can only be approved for about $390K - $417K. Just hard to find a nice SFH or TH for that price. It just feels like the county is driving people out of certain income levels.
Go to a mortage broker. A six-figure income should qualify you for at least $700K with an interest only loan.
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Old 01-13-2009, 02:16 PM
 
7,968 posts, read 18,094,647 times
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The reality around here is that people adjust their expectations as far as what kind of housing they can get for their money. So many well-paid people live here that the housing market, while falling, is still more expensive than most. For your approximate $400K in Fairfax County, Arlington or Alexandria, you can get a really nice 2BR condo, an okay TH or in rare cases a SFH in a distressed situation. Those who really want or need a newer or well-kept SFH head out to Prince William, Loudoun or points beyond (including West Virginia). The $400K will get you some nice single family homes in PW but the commute will be brutal. It might be a stretch in Loudoun for SFH but you could definitely get a nicer TH.

To answer your second question, a $200K household should be able to easily afford a $500K townhouse... but it depends on the individual circumstances (dependents, debt, etc.).
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Old 01-13-2009, 02:17 PM
 
112 posts, read 771,638 times
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Originally Posted by kevinm View Post
Go to a mortage broker. A six-figure income should qualify you for at least $700K with an interest only loan.
Why would anyone consider this option for a home? Living the "American Dream" is eventually owning the home. This is nothing more than borrowing the dream that can quickly turn into a nightmare.
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Old 01-13-2009, 02:19 PM
 
7,968 posts, read 18,094,647 times
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Originally Posted by kevinm View Post
Go to a mortage broker. A six-figure income should qualify you for at least $700K with an interest only loan.
To each one's own but I don't know if an interest-only loan is advisable in this market. If one is buying at all, it may be better to catch a "deal" at or under one's approved amount.
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Old 01-13-2009, 02:29 PM
 
Location: Arlington, VA
147 posts, read 368,328 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevinm View Post
Go to a mortage broker. A six-figure income should qualify you for at least $700K with an interest only loan.
That's about the dumbest thing anyone could recommend. Has no one learned anything about interest only loans from the current mortgage fiasco? "Qualify for" and "afford" are two different things.
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Old 01-13-2009, 02:39 PM
 
5,210 posts, read 9,137,285 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 05c6400 View Post
Are salaries in NOVA representative of the cost of housing? For example, if you make $200K/yr you are able to afford a $500K house/townhouse. What is a reasonable salary in NOVA that will allow you to afford a new house/townhouse?
Your "new" specification will really limit your options in Fairfax County. You might be able to find something newish in Centreville or Fairfax Corner (townhouse or condo). You could also look at Kingstowne.

For a new sfh or large th, you'll need to look a bit further out. Or you'll need to come up with a big down payment.

Other new developments in Fairfax County - Lorton Station and condos near Dunn Loring.

Good luck!

Last edited by springfieldva; 01-13-2009 at 02:56 PM.. Reason: Added info
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