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Rents on the rise, listing prices down

According to a report by property search site HotPads.com, rent prices nationwide rose 11.6 percent in 2010, from an average of $1,181 in January to $1,319 in December.

"With the U.S. unemployment rate over 9 percent throughout 2010 (up from 4 percent in 2006), low-risk housing options became more desirable, a trend that may continue in the coming months," the report said.

Realtor® Day on the Hill is February 9

On February 9 we need you to tell your legislator...

... to stop re-taxing people -- no more recordation taxes on refis!

... not to hold you responsible if public records are wrong!

... that toxic drywall needs to be disclosed!

...to pass agency laws that protect you and your clients!

It's our best chance all year to get our message across -- and we need bodies to do it. We want to crowd their offices with Realtors® so it's crystal clear: We care about property rights, the economy, and our industry.

Know some great real estate pros?

Know some outstanding real estate professionals? Now is the time to nominate them for the Virginia Real Estate Awards.Most nominations are due January 10.

Presented at the Get Active Legislative & Education Conference in February, the Virginia Real Estate Awards highlight excellence in a number of real estate categories, including

Cash-strapped governments ramping up tax-collection efforts

Tax officials in the DC area are trying new, and maybe extraordinary, efforts to collect tens of millions of dollars in delinquent payments. These efforts are hoping to help combat the huge projected budget deficits that threaten to slash public services.

Together, DC area localities are owed more than $40 million in overdue real estate taxes from fiscal 2010. In Arlington, real estate tax delinquency has nearly tripled since 2003.

Though collecting cars and the other measures may seem extreme, they ultimately may seem minor compared to the cuts to public service that may happen.

Read more at the Washington Examiner.

Clarendon church apartment project could be national model

An Arlington church is building an apartment development above the church sanctuary as a way to generate revenue while they face a shrinking budget.

The Views at Clarendon will consist of 70 affordable apartments and 46 market-rate apartments on eight floors being built on top of the two-stort sanctuary of First Baptist at Clarendon. The development is expected to open late next year and is gaining national attention from many urban churches.

Read more at the Washington Examiner.

Cheery outlook for Richmond commercial market

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. 

Property Managers Conference is Nov. 17-19

The Virginia Property Management Coalition Conference will be held Wednesday, Nov. 17 through Friday, Nov. 19 at the Omni Hotel in Charlottesville.

Real estate attorney Grimes Creasy will present “10 Steps to a Successful Eviction” plus new amendments to the VRLTA, recent Virginia Supreme Court decisions, and foreclosure issues. 

Other topics include:

DEVELOPING: DoD seeks spending cuts in VA

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.

Builders likely to win sprinkler code battle

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.

Planning begins for future Herndon-Monroe Metro station

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....