Tag Archives: 22901
These are a few stories I’m reading/processing/mulling as 2013 begins.
- 5 Types Of Buyers Will Be Rushing Into The Housing Market In 2013 (I don’t think “rushing” is the valid term for the Charlottesville market, particularly as this story could have been written in 2012 with reasonable speculation; now it reads with more confidence.
- Recap: Five Housing Issues to Watch in 2013 – I’m not quite sold that we’re at bottom, but I think we’re darn close. (Hopefully)
- Sales Ratio: Existing to New Homes – The Charlottesville area is set to have a ton of new homes in 2013. Good, bad, ugly, it’s going to happen
- Human Settlement Patterns – Mapping the Census: A Dot for Every Person – Just because this is an incredible display of the US population. (zoom into the Charlottesville area)
Alerted by a press release and filed under “for what it’s worth …”
Correction: Not just “a” best place, but “the” best place to live. (the press release links to the 2005 “Best Places” – I’m looking for the 2012 press release and data; in the meantime I’ve provided up to date median home prices below) Note that they haven’t updated the text in several years. The median prices have changed.
Update: Turns out the press release was from 2005. Either way, this is a great opportunity to note that
1) I’ve posted median home prices for Charlottesville – Albemarle
2) Sperling’s current listing for Charlottesville still has inaccurate median home prices.
3) Don’t trust everything you see without verifying.
Median price for Single family homes in Charlottesville – Albemarle in 2012: $328,000 ($325k in 2010)
Median price for Attached homes in Charlottesville – Albemarle in 2012: $226,900
Median price for Attached homes in Charlottesville – Albemarle in 2012: $142,000
1. Charlottesville, VA
Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, most areas of this idyllic city are accessible by foot or bicycle. Charlottesville enjoys clean air and water, and pleasant weather year-round, highlighted by especially beautiful fall foliage. Nearby Shenandoah National Park offers a wealth of recreation opportunities. Charlottesville is home to the University of Virginia, which strengthens the area’s healthy economy by providing steady jobs and a wealth of amenities and entertainment. Homes are not cheap (median home price $225,000), but the cost of living is manageable. The city’s low unemployment rate and significant recent job growth promise continued prosperity. As more and more people learn about this year’s best city, Charlottesville may find staying affordable and sprawl-free is its greatest challenge!
Interestingly, this is the first time that I can recall a list noticing that there’s more to “Charlottesville” than “the City of Charlottesville”. Even though the City of Charlottesville prominently displays its “best places to live” – from 2004 – on its site.
Charlottesville is a great place to live … but I think these lists do a disservice to Charlottesville (and likely other areas) due to their inaccuracies.
I always wonder if these list writers have ever been to Charlottesville.
A Peachmac Apple Store –
yes, that kind of Apple Store – will soon be replacing the Hallmark in the Barracks Road Shopping Center.
Redistricting, by its very nature tears families and communities apart. And that sucks. But it is what it is.
There’s quite a conversation happening in Albemarle County right now as many school districts are undergoing redistricting discussions – evaluating current, past and projected enrollment numbers. I’ve been writing about the proposed redistricting a lot in part because schools matter. Better schools = better housing prices. (and better educated kids, too, presumably)
As I’ve told my clients for years:
1 – The only way to be assured that your kid is going to go to that school is if that school is private.
2 – Always. Always. Always. Check your school district – yourself – before you buy a home.
Albemarle is going to grow. There will be more people here. In Albemarle: 115k in 2020, 134k in 2030, 155k in 2040. (see: Weldon Cooper Center) Schools will need to grow. (so will roads, bike lanes, taxes).
We need to accept and deal with the growth, no matter our internal struggles with the ramifications of growth.
Now (really, 10 years ago) is the time to plan for such things.
- Adequate Public Facilities legislation. Virginia is a Dillon Rule state, so the localities can’t do anything without the General Assembly’s blessing. Learn who your legislators are. Find out who funds them. Get organized. Understand that getting such legislation is likely going to take longer to enact than your kids are going to be in elementary (and probably middle, maybe high) school.
- Proffers. Each new family costs money. Each student (new or old) costs money. I’m somewhat making this number up, but if a student costs $10k to educate at a public school (really, why no vouchers to allow choice?), and the home brings in between $1500 per year for a $200k home to $4500 for a $600k home … these homes are not paying for themselves. The bulk of school funding comes from property taxes.
- Special Tax District. I know other areas of the country have school taxes (and fire taxes, etc) – would you consider paying a school tax if you could be assured that the money would be spent wisely and only for schools (not increased bureaucracy or unnecessary administrators)?
- Limit population : Now that you’re here, would you want a cap on how many people are permitted to live in Albemarle County? (see: ASAP)
- Make no mistake; there are social and economic demographic idiosyncrasies in each of these schools that distinguish each school.
Neighborhoods may be split; the biggest target is Old Trail, but other neighborhoods are likely to face splits … does it have to be this way?
I noted this for the first time in 2009, when the City of Charlottesville codified their allowance of chickens. The street on which the subject of the above story lives has some wooded lots ranging from .3 to .5 acres – probably plenty of room for a couple chickens to peacefully coexist with the neighbors.
I haven’t been around chickens consistently since I was a child enough to know whether they smell … do they?
From a real estate perspective, I’d say about 10% of my clients ask about keeping chickens in their backyards … a notable increase over the past several years.
A twist for homeowners’ associations: I’d wager that most of the HOAs in the Charlottesville area have similar language to this, copied from the HOA docs of a local neighborhood:
“No animals, livestock or poultry of any kind shall be raised, bred, or kept on any portion of … except that dogs, cats, or other usual and common household pets, may be permitted in a Lot.”
One of the first posts written here was about redistricting schools in Albemarle County; sadly I hadn’t yet mastered the art of proper out-linking, so the stories to which I pointed are mostly dead. Today’s story by Aaron Richardson in the Daily Progress * succinctly describes the current state of some Albemarle County schools: “School redistricting is a headache for everyone, yet Albemarle County is at it again, considering a shuffle for a second time in as many years.”
High-quality schools are one of the more-cited reasons my buyer clients use when choosing to move to the Charlottesville – Albemarle area. I hope this acclaim is justified and continues to be the case.
In talking to a potential incoming client last week, we naturally discussed Albemarle County schools as part of a wider ranging conversation about whether this is the right place for his family. He’s looking for a rural property preferably, but also wants his kids to go to elementary school … and prefers to have a reasonable-length bus ride. How does one define “reasonable-length” in this context?
There really is not much to add to the Albemarle County Schools redistricting conversation than this:
- Read this from last year – Albemarle County Schools’ Populations Are Growing. Unexpectedly. ?!
- If you want 100% certainty that your kids will go to X school, that school better be private.
- Get involved in the process and the conversation. Schools matter, to our kids’ lives, our lives, our property values …
- Always, always, always check your school district before you buy a home in Albemarle (or anywhere, really)
Some stories reflecting the ongoing uncertainty regarding some schools in Albemarle County:
Parents and neighbors in southern Albemarle County are getting more information about a plan to possibly shut down Yancey Elementary School in Esmont. NBC 29 – August 1 2012
- Scottsville tells its supervisor it feels like ‘the redheaded stepchild‘ – Daily Progress – July 26 2012
One thing is true, the Meriwether Lewis parents are perhaps the best organized and mobilized parents in the community. For those in the Crozet district, I’d love to hear what the School Board representative, Barbara Massie Mouly, thinks about this; I haven’t seen word one from her in the press or any kind of outreach to the public.
* I’m glad to consistency in reporting from the Daily Progress; Aaron Richardson also wrote about redistricting last year. Having consistent knowledge is crucial when knowing about and reporting on local issues.
PS – I’m working on a story about growth areas in Albemarle County and their impact on livability and certainly of lifestyle.
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.
via press release: (links added by me)
… announced the opening of several restaurants at The Shops at Stonefield including: Black & Orange, Parallel 38, and Cyclone Anaya’s. These restaurants will join Jason Alley’s Pasture, Travinia Italian Kitchen and Burtons Grill to create a unique culinary destination in Charlottesville. The Shops at Stonefield will open in November 2012.
So … Burgers, Mediterranean, Mexican. No big chains. Good.
Curious – Charlottesville prides itself on its local food, local restaurants, its general local-ness …
1) Will any of these restaurants source their food locally?
2) When was the last time you ate at a chain restaurant? (personally, I avoid them as Charlottesville has so many outstanding local restaurants)
3) What chain would you like to see? (if Olive Garden, please try these local options: Tavola, Bella’s, Vivace, Sal’s, Carmello’s …)
4) Anyone have early reviews/opinions on the soon-to-open restaurants?
Update: Interesting conversation on Facebook about this question. While I’ll never move the comments here to Facebook, I definitely want to link to the conversation so that I’ll be able to find it one day …