May 14, 2010

A look at a Columbia apartment complex that doesn't exist

You've probably seen video walk-throughs of homes for sale. But what about apartments that don't yet exist?

The 3D demo above was put together to give people an idea of what a Columbia affordable-housing project will look like when the aging Guilford Gardens complex is razed and the 269-unit Monarch Mills rises in its place.

Larry Carson reported earlier this month that demolition has begun and the first new units are slated to be finished early next year. Monthly rents will range from $360 to $1,700. (The plan is a mixed-income community.)

Do you find video walk-throughs helpful? From a house- or apartment-hunting perspective, are photographs alone insufficient?

Here's an example of a video walk-through of a fixer-upper that is decidedly not affordable housing:

Continue reading "A look at a Columbia apartment complex that doesn't exist" »

Posted by Jamie Smith Hopkins at 7:00 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Affordable housing, Video

May 3, 2010

The last-minute rush for the home buyer tax credit

In case you missed it over the weekend: A Brooklyn Park resident trying to purchase a home before the first-time home buyer tax credit expired let me tag along with her on Friday as she looked at her final choices.

You can read the story -- with all the deadline drama -- right here. Above is videographer extraordinaire Christopher Assaf's take on part of the day.

On the flip side of the Friday rush were potential buyers who decided to wait until after the credit expired to seriously look. Mike Fowler, 26, is in that group. I chatted with him in the credit's waning days.

"My main reason for waiting is that I need to save more," said Fowler, who works at Baltimore-based T. Rowe Price. "I've got money saved, but not enough to put a sizable down payment down."

His secondary reason: He suspects the tax credit "is delaying the inevitable decline in prices," and he'll get a better deal later.

"I do think the credit was a good thing initially because at that time, our whole economy was collapsing," Fowler said. But the extension? Not so much. He figures the pool of buyers will shrink now, "and then sellers are going to be sitting with these inflated listing prices."

That's his best guess, anyway -- he hastens to point out that he's not a housing professional. But all of us, pros and amateurs alike, will find out soon enough what a post-credit market looks like.

April 23, 2010

Getting rich off the housing crisis -- in song form

Bet Against the American Dream from Alexander Hotz on Vimeo.

Because what credit default swaps really need are some jazz hands: The Avenue Q folks have put together a song to go with a This American Life story about a hedge fund that turned the collapse into cash. Catchy! ("The housing market's losing steam / And all we gotta do / To make our dreams come true / Is bet against the American Dream!")

On another note, The New York Times suggests that you use the "20" rule of thumb if you're deciding whether to buy or rent. That is, divide the home's sale price vs. a year's rent for a comparable place. If it's above 20, you're probably better off renting. Below, and you could be better off buying. (The Baltimore metro area, it says, dropped from 21 in 2005 to 18 last year.) Thoughts?

On yet another note, RelocateAmerica's Top 100 Places to Live in 2010 -- which this year focused on "communities poised for recovery and future growth" -- includes Baltimore.

Happy Friday.


February 13, 2010

Relive snowstorm #2 in 2 minutes

Will Cocks of Greenmount West made this time-lapse video from nearly 1,800 photos taken between 2 p.m. Tuesday and 8 p.m. the next evening -- or as Will puts it, "Snomageddon 2.0."

Thanks for sharing, Will! And now let's hope the rest of the winter is positively springlike.

December 20, 2009

Greater Lauraville: a video

Bet you thought the hidden-gem-neighborhood project was over -- not least because I said so. But there was, actually, one remaining piece waiting for its finishing touches. And here it is: the freshly edited video I shot of Greater Lauraville while I was in the neighborhood.

Enjoy, I hope. Please forgive my imperfect camera work. And feel free to re-read the Lauraville profile, which happens to be in the real estate section today.

Posted by Jamie Smith Hopkins at 8:37 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Hidden-gem neighborhoods, Video

September 28, 2009

Video of Brooklyn Green Townhomes

Interested in seeing the video that goes with today's affordable-housing story? Here it is:


Posted by Jamie Smith Hopkins at 10:34 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Affordable housing, Video

November 30, 2007

Rehabbing video series, part V

In this final installment of the five-video series, Mel Stachura offers a look at one of the plans for the Little Italy rowhouse he's helping rehab. Yes, that's it on the wall there.

Thanks to Stachura and homeowner Tianne Baker for participating, to Sun tech whiz John Lindner for editing and to you all for watching.

Posted by Jamie Smith Hopkins at 6:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Video

November 29, 2007

Rehabbing video series, part IV

In this fourth of five video clips on rehabbing, Mel Stachura offers a handy tip about when you have to bring something up to code -- and when you don't.

Tomorrow: No, I won't spoil it. You have to see it. It makes me grin every time.

Posted by Jamie Smith Hopkins at 6:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Video

November 28, 2007

Rehabbing video series, part III

In this third of five video clips, Mel Stachura talks about the difference between owner-occupier rehabs and investor rehabs -- and why he thinks it's a much better time to try the latter than it was during the housing boom.

Posted by Jamie Smith Hopkins at 8:37 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Video

November 27, 2007

Rehabbing video series, part II

In this second of five video clips, Little Italy homeowner Tianne Baker talks about why she decided to buy a house and tear it apart before moving in.

Keep those rehabbing tips coming, guys! You can't beat the voice of experience.

Posted by Jamie Smith Hopkins at 4:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Video

November 26, 2007

How-to Monday: Rehabbing

Admit it: You've thought about rehabbing. You have a house that could use some work, or you fantasized about buying, fixing and flipping a rowhome during the boom, or perhaps you just wondered how on earth people do it. (Maybe you've actually rehabbed a place yourself, in which case you've thought a whole lot about rehabbing, up to and including "what have I gotten myself into.")

Continue reading "How-to Monday: Rehabbing" »

Posted by Jamie Smith Hopkins at 8:31 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: How-to Mondays, Video

October 9, 2007

Let me rephrase that

Remember some of the overly optimistic things people said about the housing market at the end of the boom and beginning of the downturn? The Surviving the Crash blog has a video comparing these nuggets to quotes by experts right before and after the stock market crash of 1929. It's "Housing Bubble vs. Great Depression."

Thanks to Baltimore Housing Bubble for pointing it out.

Seen any other housing-related videos -- depressing, cheery or just plain funny? I'm all ears.

Posted by Jamie Smith Hopkins at 8:15 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Video
Keep reading
Recent entries
About Jamie Smith Hopkins
Jamie Smith Hopkins, a Baltimore Sun reporter since 1999, writes about the regional economy. Her reporting on the housing market has won national and local awards. Hopkins is a Columbia native and has lived in Maryland all her life, save for 10 months spent covering schools in Ames, Iowa.
She trained to become a wonk by spending large chunks of time as a geek and an insufferable know-it-all.
Baltimore Sun articles by Jamie

Most Recent Comments
Baltimore Sun coverage
Baltimore Sun Real Estate section
Archive: Dream Home
Dream Home takes readers into the houses of area residents who have found their ideal home.
Sign up for FREE business alerts
Get free Sun alerts sent to your mobile phone.*
Get free Baltimore Sun mobile alerts
Sign up for Business text alerts

Returning user? Update preferences.
Sign up for more Sun text alerts
*Standard message and data rates apply. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Sign up for the At Home newsletter
The home and garden newsletter includes design tips and trends, gardening coverage, ideas for DIY projects and more.
See a sample | Sign up

Charm City Current
Stay connected