Tag Archives: Albemarle
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.
This should be fun. For those who read last month’s note, you know that I was contemplating accepting the invitation to be on this panel put on by ASAP – Advocates for a Sustainable Population. Anyone who has read RealCentralVA for a while knows that I’m extremely skeptical of forced (and arbitrary) population limits. You also know that I struggle with growth, its implications and the inherent conflict between being a real estate agent who ostensibly benefits from growth – while at the same time recognizing that unbridled, unmitigated growth is, for lack of a better word – bad.
I’m looking forward to an interesting conversation tomorrow night at ASAP’s annual meeting.
Click through to read ASAP’s email about the event.
Goodbye, Charlottesville Bubble Bloggers. Today marks their final post . Thanks for the insight, the forced introspection and for bringing some life to the Charlottesville real estate conversation. Please don’t let your blog become yet another abandoned internet place feeding dead links.*
Mid-2008 brought the advent of the Charlottesville Bubble Bloggers. Much consternation followed in the Charlottesville real estate agent community. They brought candor, some snark, brutal analysis and anonymity to the Charlottesville real estate conversation.
I, for one, welcomed them – engaged them thoughtfully and I’d like to think earned their respect (and they mine).
And then in 2011 they interviewed some of the Charlottesville real estate agents who had engaged them** on their blog (as an aside, that image remains one of my all-time favorites).
And so now, they are moving on … and have been so kind as to answer a few of my questions.
1 – Who are you? (don’t worry, we won’t tell anyone)
In the beginning “we” were several people who were interested in/shocked by prices/obsessed with real estate in Charlottesville and Albemarle. Though in ’08 and ’09 there was lot of blog snark (which was true across the Internets), we actually did and *do* love Charlottesville. It’s a fantastic place to live, and it’s too bad the secret is out. This makes the traffic truly awful; sometimes it seems very crowded; and RE prices are up, for good. (More on how that is true, and not true, in the final post on the C’ville Bubble Blog).
2009 and 2010 were awful years for the American Economy, home owners, savers, and millions of workers. Our belief system turned to Econogeddon and Prepper, and we became hand-wringers over the control Too Big to Jail Banks had and have over the US Government and political parties, property-owners, and potential buyers. We chronicled this in terms of the local and national.
It remains a fact that many people will never recover their standard of living and neither would have the rest of us w/out the kick-the-can-down-the-road heroics of money-printing Fed Chair Ben Bernanke and Treasury Sec Tim Geithner.
Along the way, through life-changes and the improving economy, “we” morphed into “I”…around the time the blog took to Twitter. Tweeting is a lot more efficient than blogging, though certainly not less time-consuming. 2011 was a busy year of blogging–but mostly because there was a lot going on.
There were signs that housing was entering a new phase by early 2012, with the National Fraudclosure Settlement, though it ultimately was to provide not much relief for home owners. There was a New Year’s resolution to wrap up the blog…which got derailed. But the last blogger standing did manage to generate 80% less content than previous years :0).
2a. Okayfine. Could you have written as you have had you not been anonymous?
Now that it’s 2013, an anonymous blogger or internet entity might need to be explained. The Internet now is Nice. But back when the blog started, mid-2008, ‘anonymity’ on the web was still a viable, if not preferable, option. Many people still had funny little names as email addresses, and blogged, or commented on blogs, with wacky monikers.
Locally, there was an extremely popular website / gossip extravaganza called The Cvillain, which was up-to-the second, in-the-know, controversial, snarky, anonymous. Nationally, there were a number of housing and econ blogs that were widely read and anonymous: Zero Hedge with lead blogger Tyler Durden; Dr. Housing Bubble; Calculated Risk, who was known as CR (but is now known as Bill McBride), who co-blogged with one of the best writers about mortgages and the bubble, called Tanta, whose identity was only revealed after she died in 2009. There was precedence.
Could we have written the same if we had not been anonymous? Probably not. People would have looked at our current or previous jobs or pursuits or financial status or owner status, rather than the data on the blog.
What’s equally interesting as our own (and my own) anonymity is the kind of people who rejected it or accepted it. There’s one particular TV station in town that wouldn’t have anything to do with the blog, at least publicly. But NBC29 and Daily Progress, The Hook, and C-VILLE reporters were savvy enough to use it as a resource and interact via Twitter.
Too, the blog had long-term private email and Twitter correspondence with a number of area RE agents, home buyers and sellers, finance guys, UVA profs. None of the correspondents spent too much time pondering the anonymous question.
2 – Do you think the bottom is here? The end of 2011, and the Q1 of 2012 was, anecdotally, the bottom of the bust. I believe the City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County have seen their price bottoms, especially in the “First Time Homebuyer” category of under $300k. It’s a question of very low inventory. Here’s a national chart on pricing which confirms pricing ideas.
But the most convincing bit of data for Q4 2011/ Q1 2012 being the bottom is that several of the blog’s long-term commenters / correspondents bought houses: “Serious Buyer,” “Craigger,” “Anonymous,” among them.
These folks tracked the local and nat’l markets closely for years and independently decided to finally buy, deciding if it wasn’t “the” bottom, it was close enough. And with mortgage interest rates solidly under 4%, they were all happy.
(part one of two)
The Best, Most Popular Neighborhood in Charlottesville is …
All of the above. None of the above.
The real answer to, “what is the best neighborhood in Charlottesville” – depends on you.
What does “best” mean to you?
Most popular? I could answer that by looking at the search data to determine what are the “most searched” neighborhoods.
How do you define “best” neighborhood ?
There are a lot of factors that go into the equation of “is this the ‘best’ neighborhood for me? These are some -
I’m often told that the information provided here is educational. Part of my own education is knowing the right people to whom I both direct my questions and clients. As such, I’ll have a few posts in the next couple weeks from lenders whom I trust. First up is Matt Hodges discussing how FHA loans (which require at least 3.5% down payments and comprised about 10% *of the closed transactions in our market** in the past 14 months are becoming far less attractive. Next week’s post should be an interesting one, too.
FHA does not want to be your first choice, period.
Since December, HUD has been anticipating changes to the FHA loan program. On January 31, HUD released a mortgagee letter which changes the program. To read the entire mortgagee letter, click here.
The first change goes into effect on April 1st – no fooling! Here’s what changes:
For loans less than $625,500 (which is everything in our market that uses FHA, as the high limit is $437,000 in the Charlottesville MSA), annual MIP increases 10 basis points (bps). This means that the $200,000 loan now costs $16/month more.
The June 3rd changes:
1. If one puts down 10% on a purchase, mortgage insurance premiums will last at least 11 years, which is up from the current 5 years.
2. If one puts down less than 10%, mortgage insurance premiums are PERMANENT, regardless of future loan to value.
3. 15 year loans with 78% initial loan to value no longer has annual mortgage insurance waived initially – you must pay for 11 years.
The threat of lowered interested party (seller, Realtors, etc) concessions from 6% to 3% of the sales price, has not materialized yet. Our belief is that could prevent the lower priced homes from being able to use the FHA program, which might be discriminatory. It is still being considered, and it might have a ceiling and then tiered percentages below that.
Keep in mind, these changes are for pulling a case number, NOT closing. So, as long as we get the loan application done by March 29th for the first change and May 31st for the second set of changes we will still be using the current standards.
4. MIP = Mortgage Insurance Premium
5. Basis points = percent of the loan amount that you pay the insurance on. For example, 10 basis points on the annual MIP = .1% of the loan or $200,000 x .1% = $200 / 12 months = $16.67 per month.
Basically, talk to a great lender early in the process.
For most people, (Match Day) is just another day. But for medical students, it’s Match Day, the day that determines not only where they will work after medical school, but what kind of doctors they will become.
For the first five years of my career, Match Day was a big thing for the Charlottesville real estate market – UVA Medical Residents would buy homes. In 2005 (the first year of this blog), I wrote:
This past Thursday was Match Day, the the new Residents find out which Medical School they will be attending. Most importantly, these Residents are a built-in market that comes about each year. Good for real estate.
You know what? At that time, UVA medical residents (and law students and Darden and other short-timers in Charlottesville) were a significant portion of the market.
The buyers who would buy and sell in a zero to five year timeframe are gone. In other words, the stepping stone of the “buying a home” lifecycle has been pushed further.
Which brings us to 2013.
Are the UVA Medical residents going to buy homes this year?
Answer: Maybe. Maybe more than last year. I’m hoping/expecting to see more quality inventory coming on the market this year than we’ve seen in some time, which should provide
“It’s become normal now to take out loans to get anything of value,” said Dr. S. Ryan Greysen, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and lead author of a fascinating study published this month on the historical and social factors that have contributed to rising medical student indebtedness. “Getting a medical education has become similar to getting a mortgage on your house.”
There is a lot of positivity in the market right now, and a lot of buyers who are buying now are buying with the intent to rent that house when their stint in Charlottesville is over. (this is a fantastic resource for real estate investors)
- Closed home sales are up in Charlottesville and Albemarle (where UVA Residents tend to live – as it’s within their ~20 minute distance threshold)
- Prices in some market segments are seeing upward pressure for the first time in years.
- Buying can be less expensive than renting. (ask a good lender about options)
- I rarely actively solicit business here, but for those incoming residents, I’m taking on new clients.
There’s nothing worse than buying a home, a large part of that buying decision being the school district, to then find that you’re not in the school district you thought. (hopefully before you close)
“School District” is one of the most important criteria identified by my buyer clients searching for homes – school districts matter. Better schools = higher home prices.
Bad data entry happens. To all of us.
A client emailed me the other day about a new listing … great home, great location, great school district … just not the current great school district; it was marked as being in an adjacent school district, pre-redistricting.
I tell my clients that I trust the Charlottesville MLS about 83.875% of the time … it’s greatest flaw is that it’s run by humans, humans, many of whom don’t give a second thought to the value of accurate data.
Here’s what happens when a realtor in Charlottesville inputs a new listing into the MLS:
- Cloning is more efficient.
- Double-checking is not.
If a property last sold 7 years ago via the Charlottesville MLS, there’s a darn good chance that the school districts have shifted.
- Search the MLS for homes by school district.
- Assume it’s accurate.
- Verify for your own self whether it is accurate.
- Check the website of the school system to verify whether your house is in X school district.
- Call the school system to verify. (take notes and names)
Looks like Crozet will be getting a hotel … in Old Trail.
If you’re curious, check out the state of the “Major Site Plan Amendment” at Albemarle County’s outstanding County View – Planning Application number is SDP201300011
This is an interesting development … Old Trail has been in a bit of flux for the past several months after new management took over, and it’s been quite challenging to advise buyer clients as to what the future of Old Trail is going to be … other than “it’s going to be a lot more dense, a lot busier, and they’ve no plans to address traffic (to be fair, the County doesn’t have any plans for traffic – here or anywhere)”. I don’t mean that to be a negative, but an honest statement … Old Trail is an outstanding neighborhood – one of the most walkable and popular neighborhoods in the region, but having a clear, defined plan would be helpful – both to new residents and existing ones.
It seems that their plans are taking shape.
Charlottesville (and the urban ring in Albemarle County) is poised to have a lot more hotels … but this is the first one in Crozet, and is a much-needed hotel. With the number of vineyards hosting weddings, tourists coming to town to hike and visit the many breweries in Crozet and Nelson County, I’m betting a 43 room hotel, assuming it’s a nice boutiquey thing, will do extremely well.
A boutique hotel had been planned/discussed for the Barnes Lumberyard, but after the bank bought the lumberyard back at foreclosure, I’m betting the only hotel Crozet sees is the one in Old Trail.
I’m working on figuring out a timeline for the site plan review, who’s building it and other details. But for now, I’m off to see a client about a house.
PROJECT: SDP2013-011 Old Trail Village Block 2B – Major Site Plan Amendment
PROPOSED: Request for major site plan amendment approval for a four story, 43 room hotel with a 1,000 square foot restaurant and associated parking.
LOCATION: At the corner of the intersection of Golf Drive and Claremont Lane, near The Lodge at Old Trail.