As sour as the economy has been lately, a panel of executives from four of the region's largest REITs were downright bullish about the outlook for commercial investment in Richmond and other second tier cities.
The country's dire financial straits extend beyond homeowners, as one Virginia city's officials are learning. In the go-go days of 2004 and 2005, the city of Buena Vista in the Shenandoah Valley borrowed $9 million to build and refinance a city golf course. On the refinance application, they offered up two public buildings as collateral: the Buena Vista city hall and its police station.
Now, the bills are coming due and the city can't afford to make payments, making it quite possible that the financier, ACA Financial Guaranty Corp., will exercise its right to seize the buildings.
Virginia's economy stands to take a heavy blow if Secretary of Defense Robert Gates's proposal to cut the Pentagon's budget goes ahead as planned. And there's little recourse for the Commonwealth's political leaders who are obviously concerned about the proposed cuts: Congress doesn't need to approve them. Here's what's at stake in the Commonwealth.
On Monday, the directors of the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development are expected to pass revisions to the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code that would include a requirement that all new residential construction in the Commonwealth include a fire extinguisher in or near the kitchen. This provision is likely to be adopted instead of a proposal that would have required sprinklers in all new townhouse construction. According to an article in Leesburg Today, the current code requires that sprinklers be installed in all new townhouses with more than three stories. New single family homes have no sprinkler requirements, according to the article.
Town officials in Herndon are preparing residents and business owners for the new Herndon-Monroe Metro station, which is slated to open in 2016. Plans are afoot to make the area surrounding the coming station more appealing to passengers. Officials would like to see the area transformed into an attractive, walkable urban community.
Homeowners should take advantage of opportunities to be heard during this planning process. If well executed, careful development could make the area surrounding the Metro station pleasant and inviting. Prices of nearby homes could be positively affected.
Read more in The Washington Post....
Virginia officials are working to lay the groundwork for the state to become a national hub for wind technology. If they are successful, it could mean an estimated $80 billion to the Commonwealth and more than 5,000 long-term jobs.
"We have the potential for not only wind turbines off the coast of Virginia, but for Hampton Roads to become the silicon valley of wind development for the entire east coast," said Bob Matthias, assistant to the Virginia Beach city manager.
Learn more at WAVY-TV 10....
Virginia Business reports that commercial real estate in the Commonwealth may be headed back in a positive direction according to 2Q figures released by CoStar.
All three of Virginia's major metro areas (Hampton Roads, Richmond, and Washington DC) have vacancy rates below the national average of 17.4% and Northern Virginia has actually seen a drop in its vacancy rate in 2Q, from 16% to 15.6%.
Governor Bob McDonnell says that Virginia has seen a net increase of nearly 72,000 jobs since February. Experts say that an improved job market will help lead a general economic recovery and bolster the housing market. It's also positive news for the commercial real estate market.
The net gain in jobs could have a strong impact on homeowners, who are more likely to keep up with their mortgages if they are employed. Sellers looking to market their homes will also benefit from an increase in jobs, as buyers with jobs will be able to qualify for financing.
Read more from The Associated Press....
For the vast majority of Realtors®, satisfying the Virginia Real Estate Board's (VREB) continuing education (CE) requirements is something you do to improve yourself and your professionalism. To stay current on what's happening in the industry, you seek out high-quality education like (shameless plug) the REal Show, courses from your local association, or from other approved real estate schools.
This just in: Northrop Grumman has purchased 2980 Fairview Park, near the corner of the Beltway and Route 50 in Fairfax County to house its corporate headquarters when it relocates from California. The defense contracting company is expected to bring 300 high-paying executive level jobs to Fairfax, a move courted heavily by Gov. McDonnell.
Earlier, Northrop Grumman announced that it had selected Virginia over Maryland and DC for its corporate offices. Fairfax, Arlington and Alexandria were considered the frontrunners to land the mammoth company's headquarters.