Media appearance – WINA this afternoon and a brief Charlottesville market update

After suffering being bumped last week, today I’ll be on from four thirty to five. To get ready, I ran a few statistics to get a fresh handle on the market:


Things are selling. Repeat after me. Properties are selling in the Charlottesville market – but … things are certainly different. I’ll be posting a full market report in the next few days, to include the Waynesboro/Augusta market as well.

Update 03/19/2008: Thanks to CvillePodcast, here is the audio.

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  1. Scott March 18, 2008 at 14:21

    Nice “Months Inventory” numbers! The spike so clearly matches the August MBS market collapse.

    I don’t think it really is different here…perhaps the crunch took longer to hit us, but with that much inventory on the market, things will have to start to come down in price.

  2. Dave Phillips March 18, 2008 at 16:57

    Great stats, but I hate the “months of inventory” part. It is just too hard to explain. I think it is something like this… based on this months sales it would take X months to sell all the inventory. But in that time, the market will be added to and subtracted from and the sales in future months like May will be much higher, so the months of inventory will go down even thought the number of listings on the market are up.

    How’s that for a nice run on and on and on sentence. That’s why I don’t like ‘months of inventory.” It makes me babble.

  3. Jim Duncan March 18, 2008 at 17:28

    “Months of inventory” isn’t hard to explain, or interpret – it’s a clear indication of the volume of houses moving through the market.

    There are more houses on the market now than at this time in 2005, and fewer are selling. Easy.

  4. Fred March 18, 2008 at 19:21

    Sure, things are selling. But not many.

    I’m a buyer in a good position: $ for a down, exc. credit, flexible closing/moving–and nothing to sell.

    According to Wash Post, as of Feb. there were 15 Million homeowners stuck in mortgages that were higher than the current value of their houses. These aren’t people who are going to foreclose. It’s people now stuck with neg equity.

    I’m prepared to buy, and I know three other folks in same position, but we don’t want to be added to those 15 million.

    The days of rising and rising home values are over–for years to come.

    Yet there’s an optimism, still, from homeowners and seller’s agents here in C’ville about what houses are worth and what the asking prices are. For instance, in Belmont, of all places, where everything is just blocks from Section 8 housing, 439K is the 2008 equivalent of 2007’s 360K.


    Meanwhile, 100 more houses came on mkt in C’ville/Alb alone in past seven days.

    Can you explain why sellers are so reluctant to drop inflated prices, Jim? (Even long-term homeowners.) Anybody? Is it just denial, or like I said, optimism? Or thinking that UVA/NGIC will bring in enough fresh buyers?

  5. Jim Duncan March 18, 2008 at 19:59

    Fred –

    Thank you for stopping by and commenting. I appreciate your taking the time.

    I’m a buyer in a good position: $ for a down, exc. credit, flexible closing/moving–and nothing to sell.

    You sound like a buyer I’d love to work with! 🙂 (and tell your friends about me, too!)

    /selling myself.

    Sellers are reluctant for at least a couple of reasons –

    1) they love their houses
    2) they can’t sell for $280k when they bought it two years ago for $300k.
    3) they can’t sell b/c they bought for $250k and have a maxed-out home equity line for $75k and their house is worth $300k.
    4) they don’t *have* to sell.
    5) They (may) think the market’s going to come back quickly (I don’t think so)
    6) their neighbor’s house sold for x six months or two years ago, “and our house is so much better!”

    1, 2, 3, 6 are entirely irrelevant from a market-value point of view. the house is worth what a ready, willing and able buyer is going to pay.

    The others are emotional responses and are also irrelevant.

    But yes – there is also a substantial mix of denial and optimism in the market – on behalf of buyers, sellers and Realtors.

    Seriously – if you’re searching for a Buyer’s Agent, I would appreciate the opportunity to talk with you. I don’t *ever* sell (look for an upcoming post)

  6. Pavel March 19, 2008 at 08:22

    Micro-markets within the market: I’ve been in two multiple-offer situations this year already (I was the listing agent); in my neighborhood one home went under contract in 8 days this month, another in 31. Things are moving/selling, but selectively – Jim has very good points in his post. 2-3 years ago it didn’t matter if a home had a steep driveway, it would sell. Today, the buyers are looking for the perfect combo: location, condition, price. If a property matches all 3, it sells pretty quickly given proper marketing and exposure. In today’s market the house with a very steep driveway or a dated kitchen needs to be adjusted in price accordingly. Also, home buyers in general like new and with so many “new” options they leave the “needs updating” properties behind. Example: Cherry Hill – adjusted their prices in December of 2007 and got 11 under contract taking 11 buyers from re-sale homes.


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