City Club – DC Metro’s New Way to Keep your Home Maintained

Have you ever thought of joining a membership club for home maintenance, as you would a gym for maintenance on yourself? City Club is a new home improvement membership club based in DC Metro. It’s been specifically designed by experts as a more practical way to help you keep your home maintained. With membership, you’ll be able  to create home maintenance plans with the help of longtime experts in the field.

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Free 1 Hour Interior Energy and Moisture Audit

When it comes to saving on heating costs, many people will tell you about the importance of tight windows. Oftentimes, when people are looking to save money on energy, they are often recommended to have energy audits of their homes. This is a good idea, but not only for energy reasons. Infrared inspections can also detect moisture or mold issues within your walls!

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Drafty windows can cause you to lose up to 25 percent of your home’s heat, so properly identified, it’s easy enough to fix these drafts which could save you thousands in heating costs.

Plus, infrared inspections additionally help you discover any moisture leaks or mold from leaky plumbing. Not only could there be unseen damage if there’s moisture or mold, but also the air quality of your home could also be adversely affected, as well.

While infrared inspections are fairly affordable, City Renovations currently has the best offer in town. Right now, City Renovations is offering a Free 1 Hour Interior Energy and Moisture Audit using our FLIR Infrared camera.

To learn more about these kinds of inspections from City Renovations, visit our Infrared Inspections page.

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Silicon Valley is Boosting the D.C. Housing Market

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The Washington D.C. housing market has been stagnant, primarily due to a lack of middle adequate middle-class jobs. However, with an influx of potential new jobs, the market may grow rapidly over the next few years. The city has attracted a number of technology startups, which should stimulate the economy and drive the housing market in the months to come.

Entrepreneurs Leave Silicon Valley for Washington D.C.

Silicon Valley in California has historically been the nation’s hub for technology startups. However, many entrepreneurs are abandoning Silicon Valley and launching businesses in Washington D.C. instead.

These entrepreneurs are relocating from dozens of countries around the world. Zainab Zak is the founder of a rent-a-space building in Fairfax County that moved from India in 2010. Faced with a struggling economy and few job prospects, Zaki decided to relocate to the United States. “America is the land of dreams in which you can get what you want if you work hard enough to get it,” she told Imigrant Exodus.

Zaki is one of many immigrants that chose to launch a business in Washington D.C. rather than Silicon Valley. There are several reasons entrepreneurship is thriving in D.C. The federal government has launched a number of new initiatives to lure tech startups and talented engineers to the city. The government hired a number of programmers to develop the Healthcare.gov website. Many federal agencies may also need these coders for additional projects in the future.

Leading Silicon Valley tech firms are also trying to expand in D.C. Samsung recently purchased D.C. startup Smart Things. The mobile device manufacturer believes the city offers many great opportunities to expand its business.

City Tech Boom Will Help Housing Crisis

Mayor Vincent Gray has repeatedly discussed the city’s affordable housing shortage. He wants to create 10,000 affordable housing units by 2020. The city is halfway towards reaching that goal, but housing experts warn the supply of affordable housing is going to still contract sharply after a price ceiling expires in a couple years.

Some experts argue that the largest problem isn’t a lack of housing units. Recent data from Trulia shows that 75% of the houses on the market are affordable to the average citizen working in a career requiring a bachelor’s degree. However, few people outside the federal government sought employment in Washington D.C. up until a few years ago. Middle class families that wanted to purchase a home needed to relocate to other cities. The influx of technology jobs is an encouraging trend that will make it easier for families to afford housing in D.C.

The only sustainable solution to the city’s economic problems is creating more middle class jobs. A growing supply of new technology businesses will enable more people to relocate to Washington D.C., which should fuel the city’s sluggish housing market.

Washington D.C. Moves Closer to Affordable Housing Goal

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Washington D.C. remains one of the most expensive cities in the country to live. Many working families are having difficulty keeping up with the rising rents. However, the city government has launched a new program to alleviate the crisis low income and middle class families are facing. Mayor Vincent C. Gray recently confirmed that the city has made substantial headway.

City Constructs 5,000 Affordable Housing Units

Gray intends to build 10,000 affordable housing units by 2020. He said that the city is over halfway towards reaching that goal. While he will be leaving office in December, he  is confident his successor will continue the affordable housing project.

Gray is attempting additional steps to deal with the city’s housing problems. He proposed modifying the federal Height Act of 1910, which limits the heights of buildings to 130 feet. Gray is confident that raising the height limit could alleviate the housing shortage. Darrell Issa, Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, also felt the issue should be discussed, but other members of Congress didn’t seem to feel that the issue was a priority.

The Height Act has made it more difficult to increase the stock of housing units for lower and middle-class families. However, Gray and other city lawmakers are confident D.C. will still make progress in the months to come.

More Urgent Solutions Still Needed

Gray and other D.C. officials continue to take steps to increase the supply of affordable housing. Unfortunately, those solutions may not be sufficient to address the city’s long-term housing shortage.

Aaron Wiener, a housing complex reporter for the Washington City Paper, said that the problems may intensify in the next few years. Wiener said that some of the city’s rent control measures are set to expire in 2020. According to a paper Bethesda-based Abt Associates prepared for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, at least tens of thousands of properties will be impacted by those expirations. As many as one million D.C. area residents could face much steeper rents in six years.

Wiener said that some landlords may not raise their rates immediately, but rates will most likely increase as the housing market becomes more competitive. The D.C. real estate market is already highly competitive, indicating that prices are going to increase significantly after the price ceilings expire. Wiener feels the construction of 10,000 additional housing units will not be sufficient to help people that may be displaced if rents increase substantially higher.

However, other experts are more optimistic. They believe that the city is making substantial progress towards achieving its affordable housing goal and will pursue new solutions in the years to come.

Will Merrifield, an attorney with the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless told the Washington City Paper that the city can help these people by subsidizing rental costs. Some experts have criticized the government for failing to prioritize subsidies to needy families, but lawmakers have shown an inclination to expand aid in the near future. In any case, there is progress being made, and hopefully within the next six years, some other solutions will be found.

Reused Shipping Containers May Be Solution to D.C.’s Housing Shortage

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Would you live in a shipping container?

Washington D.C. is facing a serious housing shortage, which has made rent unaffordable for many working class families. James Ray is one of the residents that are struggling. Ray and his wife are paying over a third of their income for a two-bedroom apartment to house for themselves and their two children.

Many other residents are having even more difficulty. Experts have discussed possible solutions to the housing dilemma. Two former Catholic Cardinals football players may have found the perfect solution – building new housing from old shipping containers.

Background for their New Concept

The Washington D.C. housing market began to deteriorate several years ago. The subprime mortgage crisis, a growing population and a stagnant economy have made it difficult for many families to find affordable housing. Terri Lee Freeman of the Community Foundation said that the housing problem has created many challenges for residents throughout the city. Freeman said that the average family has lost 4% of its buying power as rental prices continue to surge.

Matthew Grace and Sean Joiner purchased a rental property five years ago. They soon realized the building was too dilapidated to rent out. They considered making the necessary repairs, but decided to take a more innovative approach. They tore the building down and planned to build a new structure in its place. They decided to replace the building with a new housing structure that would be made from old shipping containers.

Grace credits one of his former classmates for the inspiration. He befriended an architectural major while he was attending The Catholic University of America. His friend introduced him to one of her professors. The three of them traveled to Ireland, where they saw buildings made from reused materials.

Will Shipping Containers Help the Region’s Housing Problem?

Washington D.C. is struggling to address its growing housing problem. The Council of Governments and the Urban Institute conducted a recent study which found that over 50% of D.C. citizens were overpaying for housing. They stated that the supply of affordable housing needs to be increased, but haven’t proposed any solutions to the problem.

Local entrepreneurs such as Grace and Joiner will need to help address the problem. Creating new housing units from old shipping containers could help more residents find affordable housing.  However, it is unlikely to lead to significant improvements on its own.

A number of commenters on the Washington Post criticized the idea that people will need to live in old shipping containers. They said that the government needs to get far more serious about addressing the housing problem. However, people that genuinely can’t find affordable housing may be greatly relieved to have the opportunity to live in any sort of affordable housing that they can.

As a remodeling contractor, we would much prefer that D.C. area residents are able to live in more traditional homes. But it’s also not fair that residents are having to pay out nearly a third of their monthly income for apartment rent. We hope that the real estate market in D.C., which is looking up again after a few bad years, will heal to the point where these measures may not be necessary. However, Grace and Joiner do have a good solution for affordable housing, and if their project is successful, it could be a boost to a strained housing market.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons