Charlottesville, Virginia, is the happiest city in America, according to the study. The University of Virginia college town narrowly beat Rochester, Minnesota, Lafayette, Louisiana, and Naples, Florida.I'm assuming they're including Albemarle County in their metrics.
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Each of these is going to affect how we get around Charlottesville and Albemarle ... and I'd wager quality of life will be affected (mostly positively in the long run) as well.
"... we'll give some key data points. Some of the happiest cities measured by Glaeser and company were Charlottesville, Virginia; Rochester, Minnesota; Lafayette, Louisiana; Naples, Florida; and Flagstaff, Arizona—"
Belmont Bridge's future may be decided tonight - This is the sort of thing that will shape the City and how we live in it.
City engineers have whittled down the options for the Belmont Bridge replacement project to two resolutions for Charlottesville’s City Council to consider Monday night: endorsement of a $17.2 million design less than half the length of the current span, or scrapping all four concepts now in the running and return to the drawing board.
The engineers are recommending the shorter replacement — 205 feet instead of the 440-foot span now standing — as the most responsible use of public funds available to the city, according to a staff report.
State seeks completion of Route 29 projects by fall 2017 - I'll be shocked and impressed if this happens on time. Keep in mind that 29 will be a construction zone for some time.
Cilimberg said VDOT expects most of the projects recommended by former Commissioner Philip Shucetto be completed by October 2017. On Thursday, the agency will issue a request for qualifications from firms that want to bid on the universal contract.
Very, very cool. I do hope that they require (or at least strongly suggest/offer) a class in how to ride a bicycle safely and considerately.
The Western Bypass takes its place the history books.
Dating back at least 30 years, the Commonwealth "voted to cancel all previous decisions approving construction of the 6.2-mile road” and the former owners of the properties purchased by VDOT that would have been used by the Western Bypass can now buy back those properties … for the original purchase price (thanks to Sean Tubbs for this knowledge).
Cvillepedia rightly calls the Western Bypass “defunct.”
I wonder just how much money was spent on the Western Bypass.
If you’re curious:- This is what the Western Bypass might have looked like (2012) - Graelyn Brashear at C-Ville did a great story last year on the Bypass. - A reader asked me in 2008 why the Western Bypass hadn’t yet been built - The Bypass should have been longer; by the time it got to the actual planning/funding stages, it was outdated.- $270 million - the estimated cost put forth in 2007
We're at the halfway point. I think the market can be summed up thusly: Buyers are buying, sellers are selling, but there is, and has been, an underlying mistrust of the market by both buyers and sellers. A lot of buyers were burned or saw their friends or parents burned in the previous market and are reluctant to take the plunge to buy. A lot of sellers remain underwater - even those who bought five to ten years ago - and are either reluctant or unable to sell. About a third of sellers nationwide are still in negative equity positions. (I don't have access to local data). Short advice: If you need to sell and can, do. If you want to buy and have the life circumstances to do so, consider buying.
On to the data, solely for Charlottesville City and Albemarle County, respectively:*
Sold in 1st Half 2013: 246 + 695 = 941
Sold in 1st Half of 2014: 259 + 683 = 942
Flat market, right?
Looking broadly at the data, one can reasonably and simply conclude that when prices go up, sales go down and when prices go down, sales go up. In the City of Charlottesville for single family homes, 19 more homes have sold so far this year than last year's first half, but June's median price is down about $5K. The County's market is equally odd; 26 fewer homes have sold in the first six months than last, but June's median price is up by about $28K. Huh?
Micro markets matter.
Broad trends - even at the locality level - can be misleading. I've been advising clients (and writing and writing) that national data, while good for headlines, matters little when making buying or selling decisions in the Charlottesville area. If you're looking to make a decision, analyze your micro market.
For example, the $475K - $600K single family detached market in the Brownsville and Crozet Elementary districts: There are 64 such homes under contract in Albemarle County; 38 (59%) are new construction. In Crozet, there are 22 homes in that price range under contract; 18 (82%!) are new construction. If you're trying to sell a home in Crozet in that price point, your primary competition is new construction and you need to prepare and price with this in mind. In contrast, in Baker Butler and Hollymead Elementary school districts (29 North region), there are 46 single family homes under contract and four in the $475K - $600K range and all are resales. Micro markets are far more relevant than county-state-national market data (or zestimates).
Broadly, we might be witnessing a balancing of the market. I'll let you know next year what today's market is doing.
(All of my PDFs are here, if you're curious and/or you want to fact-check me. Please do; I'd appreciate constructive criticism.)
The inventory question:
In the Charlottesville MSA (Charlottesville, Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, Nelson), 2,759 homes have been listed so far this year versus 2,876 last year, which is a small enough difference - about 5% - that I'm going to call the new listing numbers mostly flat.
Have questions about the market? Curious what your home might be worth? Thinking about buying? Call or email me anytime - 434-242-7140.
Update 12 July 2014: We at Nest Realty have released our First Half 2014 market report. Download it here; it’s a brand new format - I/we hope you like it!
Update 14 July 2014: I wrote a brief market report specifically for Crozet, Virginia; it’s a highlight that micro markets matter.
I should have made a “list” category when I started this blog to efficiently catalog the lists on which Charlottesville (Charlottesville + Albemarle) has made it.
However, the number one spot is reserved for a more Southern town. Indeed, Charlottesville, home of the University of Virginia, does the best job of any city on the list of combining traditional metropolitan interests with the interests of the students who frequent it. The result is a harmonious whole, balancing the resources of an urban area with the desires of the students who live there. From the historical aura of Monticello, to the entertainment provided in the famous (and recently redecorated) Paramount theater, Charlottesville has it all, a place any college student would be proud to call home. Which is why we at Traveler's Today have listed it as the best college town in America.
Taking the fluff our of what they’re saying: Charlottesville is a great place to live. I did chuckle at their reference to the harmony and balance that they perceived.
Know what this is? (we wouldn’t have had we not done the well inspection)