Author Archives: Jim Duncan

Goodbye Western Bypass

11-20110712-29Bypass-Rendering

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yet been built - The Bypass should have been longer; by the time it got to the actual planning/funding stages, it was outdated.- $270 million - the estimated cost put forth in 2007
Posted in Albemarle, Charlottesville, Transportation | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Wednesday Photos – Drilling, a Meadow & a Lochlyn Hill Takes Shape

A few pictures from this week in Charlottesville and Albemarle ... From the Charlottesville City parking lot on Tuesday morning. (great discussion about this on Facebook, too) From this morning's bike ride - out near Sugar Hollow The first lots in the Lochlyn Hill neighborhood. Lochlyn Hill - 16 July 2014
Posted in Albemarle, Charlottesville, General Real Estate | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Mid-Year 2014 Charlottesville Area Market Update

This is from my monthly note … I don’t often post here what I write there, but am making an exception.
Single family, attached and condos - first half 2014 - Charlottesville MSA

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.

Differential - Single family, attached and condos - first half 2014 - Charlottesville MSA

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.

Posted in Albemarle, Charlottesville, General Real Estate, Market statistics | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Charlottesville: #1 College Town

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.

From Travelerstoday.com:

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.

Posted in Albemarle, Charlottesville | Tagged , | 1 Comment

This is Why I Recommend Well Inspections to My Buyer Clients

Know what this is? (we wouldn’t have had we not done the well inspection)

Posted in Albemarle, Buyers, General Real Estate | Tagged , | 1 Comment

July 2014′s Monthly Note – Triangles, Weather, Trails & the Market

Interested in reading only one email every month that incorporates market analysis, tangentially related real estate stories, and a summary of the better blog posts every month on RealCentralVA and RealCrozetVA? Two clicks and it's yours.
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Goodbye Five Guys and South Street Brewery

Untitled

The rumors on facebook and Twitter over the weekend seem to be true - South Street Brewery has been sold to Blue Mountain Brewery. If Blue Mountain, who are already killing it, replicate what they’re doing in Afton, they’re going to continue their massive success.

Five Guys on the Downtown Mall closed the other day - there are now no chain restaurants on Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall; if you need your Five Guys fix, they’re still open in Barracks Road and Hollymead Town Center. Ironically, the first commercial I saw this morning on NBC29 was one for Chaps Ice Cream with him saying, "you don't need five guys to make a good burger!"

Update 3 July - Blue Mountain is buying South Street, but they're not changing the name from South Street. Good stuff.
Posted in Albemarle, Charlottesville | Tagged , | 7 Comments

Prepping for Mid-Year 2014 Market Update

Looking briefly at the homes that have gone under contract in Albemarle and Charlottesville from 1 January to 30 June (June’s not yet over as of this writing) and if you do the math, you’ll see that this year’s market is (broadly) moving a bit faster than last year’s. I’m looking forward to digging into the numbers.

Halfway through 2014 and the market remains odd. Low inventory in some market segments, high inventory in others, houses hitting the market prior to hitting the MLS more often than I’ve ever seen, new construction prices increasing rapidly, new developments selling like crazy, and I’m starting to look at data to figure out what the market’s been doing.

Here’s a little bit of data looking at some price range statistics for Charlottesville and Albemarle so far this year - June 2014.

Questions, comments about the market? Let me know.

Posted in Albemarle | Tagged , , | 4 Comments