The Market 

Interest Rates Top 7% Again. The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage jumped back over 7% on Thursday, rising to 7.1%. Continuing fears of inflation are pushing bond yields higher, which in turn drives mortgage rates higher. 

Rates rose to over 7% last October which was the highest level in more than 20 years. However, they declined all the way to 6% in the following months as inflation appeared to be easing. This drop in rates spurred a significant increase in buyers signing contracts on existing homes. With continued volatility in interest rates it appears that we may be in for another roller coaster ride regarding home sales in 2023.

Family Fun

Get in the St. Patrick’s Day spirit a little early by attending Old Town Alexandria’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Held annually on the first Saturday in March (March 4th this year), the long-beloved St. Patrick’s Day parade in Old Town Alexandria features pipe bands, Irish dance schools, and a host of other musicians and performers. The parade begins at 12:30pm at the intersection of Alfred and King streets and proceeds east on King St. until it turns left onto Lee St. 

The day’s festivities will also include a Classic Car Show, located on the 100 block of N. Pitt Street, between King and Cameron Streets. The cars will be on display at 9:00 am.

Local Business Highlight

The European-style bakery Dolce and Ciabatta recently opened a second location on Fort Evans Road in Leesburg. In addition to pastries, gourmet chocolates, cookies, cakes, artisan bread and more, the menu at the Fort Evans Road location now includes sandwiches, salads, savory crepes, soups and pizza which is cooked in an authentic wood-burning pizza oven from Italy. Patrons can expect to see more new additions to the menu in the spring, including ice cream, sweet crepes and beignets.

Outdoor Activities

Take a trip to Georges Mill Farm in Lovettsville, an eighth generation family farm in Loudoun County, Virginia producing farmstead cheeses, caramel, gelato, soaps, and pork. While their cheeses and gelato are amazing, our favorite part about the farm is kidding season. Starting in early March you can reserve a spot to snuggle and bottle feed newborn baby goats! The first babies are due any day now. The owners love to share this special place with visitors, but ask that you please call and make an appointment before coming to see the farm. You can also purchase tickets to snuggle or feed the baby goats on their website

Try This!

According to an article published in 2017 in Inc. magazine,  a 30 second cold rinse can improve your outlook, health, and energy. We are not talking about a “coldish” shower, but a blast of icy cold water. It may sound crazy, but it has proven benefits including:

  • Stimulating white blood cell production, & increasing circulation in the blood & lymph systems
  • Triggering fight or flight – heightening awareness, attention, & stimulating the release of endorphins & noradrenaline (the feel good chemical cocktail that gives you a sense of optimism and energy)
  • Stimulating hair follicles & not stripping the hair of natural oils.
  • Activating your brown fat (this is the good fat that increases your metabolic rate so that you can burn more calories)
  • Reducing levels of cortisol, the hormone produced by stress .