Real estate Sunday in the Daily Progress – a deeper look at the housing numbers

The DP, Charlottesville’s biggest daily newspaper, has quite the real estate focus today:

Prices put dream of homeownership out of reach
Flight from high prices costs in road woes
High housing prices hit city in rankings
Housing boom benefits but wages still lag
(All stories on one page)

A point of clarification and expansion referencing this (I don’t know why I am taking on the ombudsman role today):

In response to the affordable housing issue, Phillips said, the real estate industry has built more moderately priced condominiums and town-houses. There are 633 active listings for attached homes, which is higher than usual, he said.

In the entire MLS, there are 638 condos or attached properties actively on the market. Albemarle, Charlottesville, Fluvanna and Greene, there are 476 condos or attached properties active on the market, 329 of which are priced under $300k, 151 are under $200k and 38 are under $150k.

Breaking the numbers down a step further to what I believe is a reasonable requirement for many, if not most:

Of all attached/condo properties on the market, with at least three bedrooms:

Under $150k: 0
Under $200k: 1
Under $250k: 2
Under $300k: 6

Another clarification:

The region’s homes-for-sale inventory is also increasing, giving buyers more choices and slightly lower prices. There are currently 3,443 active listings in the region, representing a three-fold increase over three years ago.

In Charlottesville, Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene and Nelson, there are actually 2,581 properties on the market. I noted inventory levels two days ago, as well as on 31 May.

*Source of data: CAAR (the data was a bit iffy today for some reason)

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  1. TrvlnMn June 10, 2007 at 15:21

    I’m going to nitpick this quote:

    “We have gone from the really rapid appreciation to what I consider is a more normal market,” said Lori Chapman, a real estate agent with Real Estate III and president of the Charlottesville Area Association of Realtors.

    “Normal” is a very subjective word. This market would be normal if it were a suburb of Los Angeles (or maybe Chicago). If you say it often enough- that doesn’t make it true. But hey maybe the suckers will believe it and come out and spend some money.

  2. JR Jackson June 11, 2007 at 10:38

    While I admire the Progress’s effort on this series of articles, it does support the “Regress” nickname you hear from time to time. This series seems like its about 12 months too late.
    How about some articles looking forward regarding the impact the decline in the housing market will have on municipal budgets? Local governments have been gorging themselves on the massive increases in residential assessments for the last few years, but what happens in 2008, 2009 and 2010 if the rate of home price appreciation is in line with (or, worse, trails) inflation? Has anyone in local government even considered the possibility that double-digit hikes in assessments every year is not the norm?
    My guess is they either haven’t, are pretending to ignore it because they don’t want to think about the difficult decisions they might eventually face or they’re believing the spin from David Lereah’s successor at the NAR.

  3. cvillemommy June 11, 2007 at 10:56

    As small business owners, we just tried to boost salaries in an effort to help our employees with the same problems we ourselves are facing- affordability. However, even giving sizeable pay increases of more than quadruple minimum wage this year is doing little to alleviate the problem. This article mentioned that the market is just waiting for salaries to catch up, but how do they really figure that is possible? I know people who make six figures who are struggling to afford a 3 bedroom home in this area. It makes the issue of housing for even lower incomes nearly impossible.

  4. C June 11, 2007 at 11:41

    I think the 3 bedroom threshhold is a little high for average household needs. In my opinion, asking children to share a bedroom is not too much to ask.I just did a search for 2 bedroom residential units under 200K and came up with 176 on the market.

    One thing Sunday’s article failed to point out is that the school teacher it featured, CHOSE to purchase a house for 280K in Cismont (not a cheap area). Had he opted for something less expensive (perhaps a condo), he could have afforded furniture for his new abode. The concept that everyone should be “entitled” to a single family house has gotten a little out of control in this country.

  5. Jim Duncan June 11, 2007 at 12:11

    thank you everybody for the great comments.

    Trvlmn – absolutely. “normal” is a relative term.

    JR – whew. Don’t tell governments that they have to tighten up. Those “tax cuts” off the property tax rate likely will go back up to compensate for their incompetence and gluttony.

    Cvillemommy –

    Thank you for both being a small business owner and for doing what you can.

    C –

    I agree with you, but as it stands right now, Americans don’t:

    American homes are getting bigger — at least when measured by the number of bedrooms they have — according to a new analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. In 2005, one in five occupied homes (20 percent) had four or more bedrooms, compared to 17.7 percent in 2000.

    In 2005, Utah was the leader among states in this category, with four out of 10 homes (39.2 percent) having four or more bedrooms. Maryland ranked second at 28 percent. Colorado (26.2), Delaware (25.8), Minnesota (26.2), North Dakota (26.1) and Virginia (26.5) also have a large percentage of bigger homes.

    I have yet to have a couple with a kid or two say that they could deal with a two bedroom rather than a three. It may be time for peoples’ expectations to change.

    Keep in mind also that those condos often come with condo fees of $100-$150 a month, which certainly affects affordability.