Tag Archives: 22901 real estate data
At least, after showing dozens of houses over the past few days and seeing many desired homes go under contract before my clients could get to them, this is my conclusion: Some segments of the Charlottesville – Albemarle real estate market have turned.
Not all. Maybe not most, but several, possibly even many micro-segments of the Charlottesville real estate market are seeing remarkably low, unhealthily low levels of inventory.
In the Baker-Buter and Hollymead elementary school districts:
There are currently 36 single family homes under contract.
- 26 of those have continuous days on market of less than 30.
- 19 have continuous days on market of less than 7!
In Crozet and Brownsville elementary school districts:
There are currently 63 single family homes under contract.
- 44 of those have continuous days on market of less than 30.
- 36 have continuous days on market of less than 7!
In the City of Charlottesville:
- There are currently 69 homes listed as being under contract.
- 32 have continuous days on market of less than 30.
- 17 have continuous days on market of less than 7!
For Charlottesville + Albemarle:
- There are currently 323 homes under contract.- 121 have continuous days on market under 7. Holy. Cow.- But. 68 of those 323 homes have days on market of at least 180. - YOUR market will vary.
What does this mean?
For buyers – get ready. Be prepared (to be frustrated as well as ready to move fast). Be pre approved. Identify your target micro market, and be ready to act quickly. Bidding wars are happening. Houses are going under contract in days rather than weeks. Scheduling showings on Monday for a Saturday showing is no longer an option.
For sellers – now could be the best time in 7 years for you to sell. But … you might not have a place to move into.
* Excluding new construction. If you want new construction in Charlottesville or Albemarle, it’s everywhere; you can get it.
Title edit: when I posted this this morning, assessments weren’t out. Now (3:45 7 February) I just received the press release from the County. Click through to read the whole thing. (but they’re still late )
I don’t know that there’s a “must have these sent by X date” for the release of the Albemarle County real estate tax assessments, but over the past few years, Albemarle assessments have been released by the end of January.
In 2012, I noted the new assessments on 27 January; many (most) property values had declined. I’m thinking that 2013 is going to show a measured response – anywhere from 3% down to 1.5% up.
5 Reasons why real estate assessments matter:
2) The assessed value is the value upon which property owners pay taxes.
3) Buyers look at assessed values as a measure of market value … but really, it’s a point in the equation, but are neither a definitive point nor a necessarily accurate one.
4) Also – “Virginia, unlike some other states, by Statute requires localities to assess property at 100% of fair market value, based on an objective analysis of the property’s fair market value…”
5) Sellers look at assessed values and wonder if buyers will think that the assessment means their home is worth X (it doesn’t).
Curious – what’s the over/under for how assessments will come out?
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.
- Can I sell my house in Charlottesville (area) right now?
- Should I buy a house in Charlottesville (area) right now?
Answer to both: It depends.
Buyers: If you need to live somewhere and know you’re going to be somewhere for at least 5-7 years, now might be a great time to buy … ** interest rates remain extremely low. But … there is a dearth of quality inventory on the market right now. I’m finding that buyers are searching for (much) longer timeframes, so that when the right house does come on the market, they are prepared. Start early; do your research and be prepared to move quickly when the right house comes on the market.
Sellers: If you need/want to sell, understand that buyers are still looking for quality and value … and that selling a home is work. (It’s hard work; I task my seller clients with loads of prep work) , but know this: unless your home is one that is priced and conditioned to sell in two weeks, be prepared to be patient. And to defend your price with data and facts, not emotions and expectations — neither buyers nor appraisers care about what you need/want to make or how much the house is worth to you.
Year over year:
(Inventory level = # of homes on the market)
Charlottesville – Inventory level is down nearly 20%, median price is up slightly to $255k – up about 7% (but still way below 2010)
Albemarle – Inventory level is down a bit, median price is up about 5%
Fluvanna – Inventory is down about 8%, as is the median price.
Greene – Inventory is down a little and the median price is up significantly – about 30% … keep in mind that this increase was based on 11 closed sales this July versus 19 the previous July.
Louisa – Inventory down about 23% while the median price down nearly 20%
Nelson – Always an inconsistent market due to the variety of product mix there … Inventory is down about 12% while median price is down 24%.
The takeaways from this month’s look at “what’s happening in the Charlottesville real estate market”:
1 – In some segments of the Charlottesville – Albemarle MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area), the buyers’ market looks like it’s over. Good houses that are priced well are moving … sometimes in a matter of days and occasionally with multiple offers. Inventory is down, some prices are up. (Low Inventory isn’t necessarily a sign of recovery though)
2 – Foreclosures and short sales are still out there, and are seemingly comprising a smaller portion of the market than we’ve seen over the past few years. But there are anecdotes everywhere – I almost showed a short sale in Albemarle in which the asking price is $450k … down from the initial asking price was $1.19 million … in 2008.
3 – I don’t feel like a complete fool saying that the recovery is near. I don’t know when “near” is, but I do know that “normal” is a moving and shifting target. “New normal” is an absurd term; today is normal. So is tomorrow. So is yesterday.
4 – Product mix shift – anecdotally, we’ve seen this coming, but we’re seeing more and more buyers are opting for single family detached homes as opposed to attached homes. Condo volume seems to be stabilizing … the condo buyer of today is more interested in the condo lifestyle (location, no maintenance or yard work) than we saw in the previous market*. What we’re also seeing is a demand for the condo lifestyle in single family homes; that solution doesn’t really exist yet, but there’s a market for it!
5 – Real estate market Data is but part of the conversation and analysis – experience and conversations with other experienced real estate agents matters tremendously. It might sound silly to in-lookers, but being able to tell that a property is great and will sell soon is crucial. Example: I showed a house on Saturday and told my buyer clients that I expected it to sell in the “next couple days” … then I heard Monday that the sellers got three offers. That insight comes from experience, not just looking at data. … and educating my buyers so that they are able to discern a well-priced, well-marketed home is one of my favorite things.
One big notation: I’m no longer comparing today’s real estate market; what happened in 2005 – 2007 and before is interesting, curious, anomalous and ultimately irrelevant to today’s real estate market. EVERYTHING is different now – interest rates, economic outlook, international economic events, gas prices, employment trends – making comparisons between this market and that market is a distraction.
First, the bullet points:
- New Listings – Fewer than the past two years and trending down; this is a very good thing. As fewer houses come on the market, more houses will sell and we’l be able to find our way through the current spate of houses on the market. *
- New Pendings (Better reflecting current market activity) -
- Median Sales Price (for all properties) – Lower than last year, trending up.
* I’m not totally convinced that the houses that are coming on the market in the Charlottesville and Albemarle real estate market are the ones that buyers want to buy - whether size or energy efficiencies, I think that the inventory we’ve seen over the past 18 months has not quite matched to what buyers want, and this is a reason that we’ve seen the new construction market in the Charlottesville area do so well.
With the overwhelming flood of real estate data and information, what matters to you? I know what I think is important, but what’s important to you?