Take that Tax Cut Bonus & Do Some Online Shopping

So, let’s say you want to revamp your decor with a few new pieces, and you want to do all of the shopping online. This week, we’ll dig into some great websites for everything from designer discounted furniture to low commitment accessories.

And, it wouldn’t be the second week of the month if we didn’t get the latest housing data. Housing statistics for the DC Metro area for 2017 are now available and it paints exactly the picture you would expect – higher prices, extremely low inventory. Lastly, there have been a lot of headlines about employers giving out bonuses on the back of the Corporate tax cut. So, how many have done it, and how many companies have actually given permanent wage increases? Let’s discuss.

Source: Svenskt Tenn

DESIGN TRENDS
A new year means all sorts of new projects. Maybe yours is to finally decorate the master bedroom (it is often neglected!)? Or, perhaps you need to carve out a study space for the kids? Or, you just want to switch up some smaller items like pillows, bedding and table linens? Here are some great websites to get you started. If you’re looking for designer furniture, check out Viyet, Chairish, or 1stDibs. You will find a selection of new, vintage and gently used items. In this article, several designers were asked for their favorite sites. My personal favorite from this list is Spartan Shop. Two additional sites you may enjoy perusing on a lazy weekend morning – Svenskt Tenn, a Swedish design shop with all things Josef Frank, and Anthropologie, believe it or not, for an eclectic furniture selection with a healthy dose of whimsy.

 

LOCAL REAL ESTATE & DEVELOPMENT
As we look back on the housing market in the DC metro area in 2017, it is no surprise to find that prices were up and inventory was extremely tight. For the metro area, the median sales price for the calendar year was up 2.4% vs last year. One of the most striking statistics from this report is that “each month’s median sales price was higher year-over-year and every month’s median sales price was the highest monthly level of the decade.” Wow!  In the District itself, the annual price increase for the calendar year was only 0.9%, while Montgomery County saw a larger increase of 2.5%. Prince George’s County, Fairfax City and Falls Church City had the highest overall price increases. So, what about inventory levels? In the metro area, inventory was down 9.7% in December 2017 vs 2016. See the table below for more detail on sales prices.

Source: Bright MLS

REAL ESTATE, INTEREST RATES & MORTGAGE NEWS
What has a greater impact on your life – a one-time bonus or a permanent pay increase? One can be a great surprise when it is unexpected or given for your achievements and hard work. The other is something you can count on, which means you may actually change your spending patterns and have a positive impact on your local retailer. And, which one have more companies given out on the back of the new tax legislation? You guessed it. One-time bonuses. More than fifteen well-known US companies have given out employee bonuses. But, just a small subset of this list has announced a permanent wage increase, which would contribute to economic growth. This CNN piece highlights ten companies that have given out bonuses, of which three have raised wages. Now, this whole tax plan happened very quickly at year end and my sense is that many companies are still assessing its full impact. So, let’s just wait and see, and hope, that more permanent steps are taken down the road as the legislation is fully digested.

In the mean time, the market loves the new tax cuts and everything is going up, up, up! Stocks are on fire, and as a result rates are higher. The 10-year US Treasury is over 2.50% and the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was surveyed at 3.99%, according to Freddie Mac.

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