Author Archives: Jim Duncan
This is not real estate related story other than the fact that many people choose to move to Charlottesville because of our excellent health care. Also, knowing what you are going to pay for something in healthcare is an oddly radical and seemingly impossible achievement.
Graelyn Brashear at C-Ville reports that the “Monticello Community Surgery Center (MCSC), an independent outpatient center owned by 22 shareholding physicians, is embarking on a new model centered around price transparency.” (although I cannot find a website for them other than this page)
When the list price for medical care is arbitrary and obscured, nobody can make an informed decision, and cost and quality become uncoupled.
“What’s wrong with our current system is that nobody understands what the cost of services are that they’re able to obtain through insurance, unfortunately in part by design,” he said.
I’m wondering – is what they’re doing similar to what the Surgery Center of Oklahoma is doing?
The two doctors who started the Surgery Center of Oklahoma, Dr. Keith Smith and Dr. Steven Lantier, are committed to charging fair prices, and they founded their hospital with the goal of price transparency. “What we’ve discovered is health care really doesn’t cost that much,” Dr. Smith told KFOR-TV. “What people are being charged for is another matter altogether.”
They have been posting all of their prices online for the past several years, and they charge significantly less than other hospitals in the area.
Anyone who knows me knows how frustrated I’ve been whenever I’ve broken myself playing soccer. Getting injured stinks; not knowing how much an MRI or X-Ray or doctor’s visit cost adds enormous stress and frustration to the equation.
So – will more people from around the country see this progressive option and move to Charlottesville? Conveniently, they’re going to be located close to the SOCA soccer facility … surely they will be some cross marketing, right?
Related reading: Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills are Killing Us
“I don’t want to play your game. It sounds monstrous.” “TOO LATE WE ALREADY DESIGNED MODERN CITIES AROUND IT” pic.twitter.com/YU5sCmQxJ6
— Peter Sachs Collopy (@collopy) March 7, 2014
- Four reasons bikes should not pay the same fines as cars
- The most revealing broadband maps we’ve ever seen
- 7 Essential Elements of your Home Inspection
- NAR: Pending home sales index down 9% year-over-year
- Why home prices are climbing again and what you should do about it
- New-home building is shifting to apartments
- Albemarle County Schools are building their own fiber network (search the doc for “dark fiber”. Continue reading
Assessments are up. So might be the mil rate.
Recommended budget value: $349.3 million
Increase over current year: 8.3 percent ($26.8 million)
Proposed real estate tax rate: 80.8 cents/$100 assessed value
Current rate: 76.6 cents/$100 assessed value
Impact: The annual tax bill on a property assessed at $300,000 would increase from $2,298 to $2,424 at the proposed rate.
Proposed raises: 2 percent for county staff
So … the tax rate cannot go higher than 80.8 cents/$100 assessed value. And it could stay at 76.6 cents. Of the proposed 4.2 cent increase, nearly half of that would be dedicated to the Albemarle County schools. This should be an interesting debate.
If you’re curious to learn even more about the Albemarle County budget, the County has a lot of information on their site.
It’s snowing again, so I figured today was a good day to post my “thanks to Charlottesville meteorologists story.” I’ve found an awful lot of value in my Charlottesville Media Twitter list – it’s the first place I go to check on news in the Charlottesville area, and notably this year, the weather. Recently I realized just how valuable Twitter-friendly meteorologists can be. NBC29 is active on Twitter, but not to the degree as Newsplex’s weather folks.
Having a local, knowledgable meteorologist to whom I can direct my dumb questions *and get answers* is awesome. Thanks, @TravisKoshko
— Jim Duncan (@JimDuncan) February 20, 2014
So, thanks, Charlottesville weather people. For those not in the Charlottesville area and considering moving here, you might find value in following this list to get a sense of Charlottesville weather and news – it’s currently comprised of 43 accounts, and I think it’s up to date (it’s not uncommon for reporters to start in Charlottesville and move after a year or two). Continue reading
I’m aiming to publish by Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. Curious or interested in reading some stuff I’ll likely never publish elsewhere? Too many posts in a month and you want just one email a month in which I recap some of the better stories from the previous month? Two clicks and you can subscribe.
I was curious about what assessments were doing in Crozet so I did a quick look. If you’re curious about background, context and methodology, please read the full post at RealCrozetVA.
It costs nearly $12,000 per year to educate a kid in Albemarle County Schools. This year, the County Schools are facing a proposed funding gap of nearly $7 million and the cry from many parents, administrators and citizens has been to “fully fund the schools. (including emails from the schools’ email distribution newsgroups).”
Rather than repeat myself, this is a story I wrote three years ago and it’s still relevant. Schools matter for housing values. Period. People move to the Charlottesville area all the time for the schools. Schools. Matter. (this is as good a time as any to remind folks to check your school district before you write an offer to purchase a home )
How should the citizenry pay for the schools?
Asking for “more!” without referencing the “how?” in my opinion diminishes the argument.
* note: one of my kids graduated from Western Albemarle schools and one is currently enrolled.
As with some stories I post here, I’m posting for two reasons. First, I want to educate and inform those who read (thank you) and second, I refer to my blog all the time – and it’s much easier to google my blog than my brain. For now.
I’ve been looking at some national trends lately and how they affect home buyers and sellers. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, has been very candid lately. (he also noted a few years ago that there were too many Realtors)
Hearing this story on NPR yesterday was timely, as the two economists echoed what I’ve been thinking for the past few weeks:
Lawrence Yun has been crunching numbers too. He’s chief economist at the National Association of Realtors. He says for the last six months, fewer than 30% of all home sales were to first time buyers.
“And this is historic lows,” he says. “Typically it should be about 40% to 45%. And I believe the key reasoning is that many of the younger households, they are saddled with student debt.”
Which makes it harder to qualify for a mortgage.
But before we wag the finger at student loans, there may be a twin culprit. Rohit Chopra is the student loan ombudsman for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. He says student loan burdens are rising much faster than wages.
“Real wages when adjusted for inflation have actually been flat for new college graduates for about the past ten years. So young people have more debt but are earning the same or less income,” he says.
From what I’ve seen in my real estate practice, the home buying cycle is slowing down. First time homebuyers are now buying at later stages in life. As noted a couple years ago, the 0-5 Buyer is Gone. And right now,
First time homebuyers, when they do choose to buy, are buying at later points of their lives – once they’ve established themselves in their careers* and found their mates if they so choose, and have determined that their lives – kids on the way, jobs … have or represent some sort of stability.
Many of these first-timers have either seen their friends and families decimated by the housing market or have experienced it themselves in selling or trying to sell – either normal transactions, short sales or foreclosures.
As I noted in my monthly note, so far I (and others) have been wrong about the inventory coming to the market in the Charlottesville area. March and April should prove telling. If more quality, well-priced homes don’t come on the market in those months, I suspect that we’re going to see reduced home sales for the entire year. Keep in mind that “new normal” is another way of saying “today.”