Date Archives November 2005

Builders’ Blitz

This story in the DP this morning is a good sign that the Builders Blitz is ready to take off.  I wrote about this in June, and am excited to see it coming to fruition.  It sounds like the premise of one of those reality shows: Six building teams and six architects will try to construct six houses in one week in a Charlottesville neighborhood.  …Michael Bednar, Builders Blitz design coordinator and a professor of architecture at the University of Virginia, agreed.  “These are not the homes you would see in a usual Habitat project,” he said.  “The houses will be more innovative and different.”Nationwide, the weeklong project is expected to result in the construction of 1,000 homes across the United States, including several hundred for hurricane victims on the Gulf Coast.There are several similar Habitat for Humanity projects throughout the Commonwealth.  To support Habitat, please call 434-293-9066.

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Green buildings’ footings take hold

It is interesting that the DP presents this story about energy-efficient construction the same week that I start the Eco-Broker course.  There is so much to learn, and I am hoping that I will be one of the few to embrace this trend early….  From my EcoBroker course material (see if you think of Charlottesville, too):Marketing the energy and environmental features of real estate may be more naturally successful in communities which are already aware of the financial, environmental, and comfort-related benefits of other greener products and services.  
 The success of the organic food market is an example of consumer support for healthier lifestyle choices and sustainable practices.  Understanding the markets in which the organic food industry has flourished provides insights into markets that may more readily understand the benefits of energy efficiency in real estate.  As a result of increased awareness and current activity in related industries, there are geographic markets which have a higher propensity to emphasize energy-efficient and environmental design features….  Why would you want to buy a “green home”?Some of the Piedmont Housing Authority’s new homes are going to be energy efficient.  Crozet has the first fully-compliant energy efficient home in Virginia.

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Affordability calculator and our region.

Affordable housing, particularly for the service sectors of our region, is one of the most pressing crises we face….  This is an interesting calculator that highlights the following:When it comes to the health and vitality of America’s communities, affordable housing is key….  Employers struggle to attract and retain the labor force so vital to their bottom line.  Low- to moderate-income working families work longer hours, endure long commutes or cut back on basic necessities in order to pay for housing.  

Who are among the ranks of America’s workers struggling to afford housing?  In some high-priced communities, people who provide the bulk of vital services – teachers, firefighters, police officers, retail sales workers and restaurant workers – cannot afford to live in the communities they serve.  Even in more moderately-priced communities, people who work a full-time job pay an excessive portion of their income for housing.Check out what a firefighter makes and how much he/she would have to make to afford a median-priced home in Central Virginia….  I have.The median sales price for the entire market area in the third quarter was $270,000 which is $40,000 more than the previous year’s figure.Thanks to CAAR for the data.

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Google Base and real estate marketing

Google has just launched (in beta) their newest method by which they are seeking to catalogue the world’s information – literally.  From their FAQ page:4.  What kind of information can I submit?Remember, our goal is to organize the world’s information and make it universally useful and accessible, (bolding mine) and “the world’s information” certainly includes almost anything you might wish to contribute.  We encourage you to submit your item, whether it’s your store inventory, collection of original poetry, or research paper on cancer receptors.  
Limitations: – simply too much information- mapping aspects of Google are limited; identifying specific property addresses is not accurate.

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A few new listings

I have just listed a couple of homes that are not yet in the MLS.  We have decided not to put them in the MLS for a variety of reasons, and each property and clients’ reasons are different.If you have the time and are interested, please check out:Home on almost 2 acres 15 minutes from Downtown.Unique home that flows very well in Wintergreen.  (this one will be in the MLS today or tomorrow)Great home on 4 beautiful acres in Afton.Don’t forget about:This gorgeous home in Crozet.Nice private home in NE Albemarle.

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Transportation, the MPO and streetcars

Charlottesville Tomorrow has a podcast and report of the Charlottesville-Albemarle Metropolitan Planning Organization’s meeting on 17 November.  Who would have thought a year ago that today we would have two podcast producers – Wordcast and CvilleTomorrow?Another nifty item of note is the renewed push for streetcars on West Main Street.The work highlights the integral link between land-use and transportation, by examining how a modern streetcar system could shape development along this central corridor.  Also presented is the successful streetcar project in Portland, Ore., and its potential relationship to the Charlottesville Streetcar Initiative.  The exhibit will allow Charlottesville residents and leaders to see first hand how these alluring transit systems can provide access, reduce traffic and stimulate transit-oriented development.  (Hat tip to Road to Ruin)
ACCT has been working on this for some time….  Property owners via real estate taxes?  That would hardly seem fair and equitable.  Transportation has been in the news a lot recently – creative, productive community involvement and a search for alternative methods of transportation is a good thing.

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