house_well-11(NOTE: This post is an updated copy of my 2014 post post [see also: 2013,  201220112010,  2009,  2008])

(Check our your property value using the official Fairfax county link.)

THE BASIC SUMMARY: Our real estate assessment grew 14.65% — the 4th best year of the 16 years we’ve lived here. Things are back on track.  This is greater than our average-average-gain of 7.3% a year.

Our house went up ~20% — the most since the addition. (2014=10%, which was also the most since the addition).  Not counting our addition completion coinciding with a real estate bubble, this might be the best year of actual return-for-nothing. I think it’s the remodeling of a nearby school.

Our land went up 8%, which is significant.  It’s only gone up 7 of the 16 years we’ve lived here, and about 3 of those were real-estate-bubble related… So this is probably top quartile “real” growth.

Our real estate value increased $4,055/month (2014=$1,365). Our mortgage is currently about $1090, and includes all taxes & insurance. It’s almost like we’re getting paid $2965/month (2014=$275) to live here, but then I remember this house comes with other associated costs: Electricity, internet, home warranty, trash, water/sewer, and maintenance.

In 1999, we bought the house at  $141K.
In 2000, we  were  assessed  at  $142K.
In 2001, this  grew   by 3.5% to $147K.
In 2002, this  grew   by  39% to $205K.
In 2003, this  grew   by   3% to $211K.
In 2004, this  grew   by  24% to $261K.
In 2005, this  grew   by  34% to $349K.
In 2006, this  grew   by  13% to $395K. [addition basically complete]
In 2007, this  grew   by   3% to $406K  (peak)
In 2008, this dropped by   7% to $375K. [addition officially complete]
In 2009, this dropped by   3% to $364K.
In 2010, this dropped by  18% to $298K. (ouch)
In 2011, this  grew   by   3% to $307K. (Finally a gain!) 
In 2012, this  grew   by  ~3% to $316K.
In 2013, this remained        at $316K. (Hmm...)
In 2014, this  grew   by   5% to $332K. (back on track)
In 2015, this  grew   by  15% to $381K. (woo)

We’re 6% down from our peak value. (But not like previous years: 18%,22%,??%,37%).

We still owe $129.2K on our mortgage [2014/13/12=$131.8K/$133.9K/$136.1K].

The house is worth 2.95X more than we owe on the mortgage (2014/13/12/11: 2.52,2.36,2.32,2.27).

In 2014, we owe about $2600 less than we did the prior year.
[2014/13=$2100/$2000. 2012=we owed $700 MORE than the prior year due to refinance costs to get a $260/mo cheaper mortgage payment].

So we are still ahead (“ahead” means “assessed value minus what is owed on the mortgage”) by $251.7K (2014/13/12/11/10=$200.5K ,$182.0K,$179.8K,$171.7K,$163K).

Our gain in getting ahead was $51.2K  this year ($4266/mo), which was greater than previous years’ gains (2014/13/12/11…=$18.4K,$2.2K,$8.1K,$8.7K).

We’ve lived here 16 years now [despite numbers being 1 to low in all previous version of this annual report], so that’s a running average of getting $15,734 ahead each year. [2014/13/12/11=$14,318/$12,997/14,903/15,609)
Per month, that is $1311 ahead each month, for all months that we’ve lived here. [2014/13/12/11=$1193,$1083,$1249$1300].

Considering that we took $30K out of the house to pay for an addition, that’s a pretty good rate of return.

Our mortgage is now up to $~1056.48 (2014/13/12=$1059/$1025/$1300), so this place seems to literally be paying for itself: It’s value goes up more each month, on average, over the entire time we’ve lived here… Than how much we current pay each month!  Too bad about those “associated costs”, though.

(Of course, the addition wasn’t free, it was about $80K, so we’re really only $171.7K ahead (2014/13/12/11=$120.5K/$102.0K/$99.8K/$91.7K).
…Which is $10,734 ahead per year (2014/13/12/11=$8,604/$7,283/$8,317/$8,336).
…Which is $894.52  ahead per month (2014/13/12/11=$717/$606/$693/$694).

Still not shabby. How much of your rent did you get back this month? (If you got free utilities — that at least counts as something.)

These people who say houses aren’t a good investment don’t know what the fuck they’re talking about! Even if it’s value drops 90%, you’re still getting 10% more of your money back than if you were renting! And we’re sure as hell doing better than dropping 90%… We’re getting double our money back, assuming value holds.


And even if we lost 100%… e also have way more living space than people who pay the same amount: 2500 sq ft @ 1025/mo = 42.2592 cents per square foot per month [2014/13=42.35/41]. Renting space in D.C. is often paying 3X as much per square-foot-month as what we are paying. And that’s with no yard or parking.

It’s amazing how much more you can get when you don’t demand every little thing be perfect. Things break every year, our electric bill breaks $200 most months, and $400 in January… Yet our on-book expenses are only $2500/month for 2 people (16 year average).

So when I read all these “You need to make $100,000/yr to survive comfortably in DC” type articles…. I get kind of skeptical. Find a better deal. They’re out there. It’s not easy, but it’s easier than making $100,000/yr just to be comfortable. We could almost live 2 minimum wages, if we lived a very monastic lifestyle with no health care.

And things will get about $600/mo cheaper when we pay off the house. Which will possibly-to-likely be this year.  It can happen now, but we want a bubble of financial security before we go broke again.

Here’s the new graph:

Here’s 2014’s graph:

2014 real estate assessment graph



Broken down via land vs. building:

2000: $71K
2001: $71K
2002: $90K (+27%)
2003: $100K (+11%)
2004: $150K (+50%)
2005: $184K (+23%)
2006: $166K (-10%) [addition completed]
2007: $166K
2008: $184K (+11%)
2009: $166K (-10%)
2010: $148K (-11%)
2011: $148K
2012: $152K (+2.7%)
2013: $152K
2014: $152K
2015: $164K (+8%)

2000: $71K
2001: $76K (+7%)
2002: $115K (+51%)
2003: $111K (-3%)
2004: $111K
2005: $165K (+49%) [addition possibly counted here]
2006: $229K (+39%) [addition completed]
2007: $241K (+5%)
2008: $192K (-20%)
2009: $198K (+3%)
2010: $150K (-24%)
2011: $159K (+6%)
2012: $164K (+3%)
2013: $164K
2014: $180K (+10%)
2015: $217K (+20%) [school remodel influence?]

FOOTNOTE: 2006 was about when the construction was mostly finished, but due to problems with it being completely finished, it might not have been legally counted as finished until 2008.

RANDOM NOTE: The Google Chart Playground is very, very useful. Saves a lot of manual page refresheses…




NO WAIT.. OLD GRAPHS! Too beautiful to not carry over each year ;)


2013’s graph:

2012’s graph:

2011’s graph: