Low Housing Inventory Stinks – in Charlottesville – Albemarle

If you’re a buyer in the Charlottesville market, you know that right now, inventory is low. Quality inventory is lower. Depending on your market segment, much lower.

Be prepared to wait. And then, be prepared to move quickly when the right house comes on the market. Now is the time to start your education on and about the Charlottesville real estate market, so that when January comes, you’ll be ready. (Seriously; if you’re looking, ask me what the first steps are)

There are a lot of reasons for this low inventory, starting with time of year/seasonality of the market, number of transactions (broadly) are up – see the bottom of this post -, reduced foreclosures and a few other reasons, but I have a working theory on why we’re going to see this type of reduced inventory for a few years. Starting with an example that lends credibility to my hypothesis:

I was showing houses this weekend (I’m a real estate agent donchaknow) and we saw a house in Charlottesville.

Asking price is $550k, slightly reduced from its initial asking price nearly a year ago.

House sold in 1993 for $290k

Sold in 2001 for $380k

Sold in 2007 for $570k.

Worth (in my opinion) significantly less than what they paid in 2007.

Not many people have accrued ~ $50k – $100k to get out of a house. And this homeowner isn’t alone.

I propose that we still have a ways to go to get through the inventory of homes owned by those who still can’t afford to sell … and with the fact that getting a mortgage after foreclosure is easier than ever, the business decision of walking away still makes sense for some (many?)

In short, I think we’re going to see low levels of quality housing inventory – for homes that many buyers want to buy – at low levels for years to come. This low level is going to lead to some interesting trends I’m starting to see; more on this in another post.

Here’s the data – all pdfs – (don’t pay attention to the CDOM – Continuous Days on Market – they’re likely not accurate)

Albemarle County – November 2012

Charlottesville City – November 2012

Fluvanna County – November 2012

Greene County – November 2012

Nelson County – November 2012

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