Consistently Vacant Homes in Charlottesville Homes for Sale

The vacancy rate has been seriously consistent – when analyzing the market, and controlling for so many inconsistencies in the data entry*, about 33% of residential homes on the market in the Charlottesville area have been listed as vacant in the Charlottesville MLS for nearly the past three years.

What does this mean?

CNBC noted last week that vacant homes are having a national impact on the market, but this post is about the local market –

Some of the consequences of vacant houses – potential identity theft, homeowner’s insurance rates going up (or being canceled), snowball effect on neighborhoods, … localities’ budgets will likely be impacted by all the vacancies

If you’re a buyer looking at a vacant house, you may want to (get permission) and come in before the home inspection and spend some time flushing toilets, running water, running the dishwasher, washer/dryer, etc. – the snapshot provided by a short (although thorough) home inspection may not provide all the insight you need.

For some perspective –

July 2006

There are almost 1200 residential properties actively on the market in CharlAlbemarle. Almost 400 of these show as vacant, while almost 300 of these vacant homes are new construction.

For the entire market area, there are about 2,000 homes on the market, 600 of which are vacant, 450 of which are new construction.

January 2007

In the Charlottesville/Central Virginia area*, there are 1709 residential properties on the market. 620 of these are vacant – a staggering 36%.

Breaking the numbers down a hair more:

1278 properties are not marked as “new construction.”

38% of these are vacant.

January 2008

For Albemarle, Charlottesville, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa and Nelson, there are currently 2,012 active residential properties on the market – 36% of these are vacant.

In the Waynesboro MLS, there are 1107 properties on the market – 46% of these are vacant.

October 31 2008**

In Charlottesville, Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa and Nelson there are now 2,540 active residential properties on the market – 33% of the current inventory is listed as vacant in the Charlottesville MLS.

Solely in Charlottesville/Albemarle – of the 1,355 properties currently listed as “active” – 35% of these (472) are vacant.

— A new construction breakdown, to demonstrate the nuances possible inaccuracies (and inability to find good correlations) of the data –

18% of the properties in CharlAlbemarle are listed as being “new” – 32% of these are listed as “vacant” – huh? Aren’t all new construction properties vacant? Probably. Many, many of the vacant new construction homes have listed under “Showing Instructions” – “Drive Out” or “Call Owner” or “Call, no answer use lockbox” or “call agent.”

An interesting data point – 10% of the properties listed for sale in the MLS have “LLC” in the Owner Name field – (45% of these are condos!) these are builders, banks, investors … a further breakdown is coming on this in a forthcoming post.


* Caveats – the data provided here is only as good as the data input by the Realtors responsible for maintaining the integrity of the MLS data. New construction data is notoriously unreliable, for example.

** I pulled the data on 29 October and don’t foresee statistically significant changes happening between Wednesday and Friday.

*** I really think that I wrote about vacant houses in 2005, but I couldn’t find the post.

**** Isn’t data fun?

(Visited 106 times, 1 visits today)


  1. JH October 31, 2008 at 09:01

    Great post Jim. I would think the govt would not aid vacant home owners (but who can be sure of anything these days!). The unanswerable question is how long can the vacant owners afford to pay monthly housing costs. Renting is not a solution because rental income is not enough to meeting housing costs associated with 2005-2008 purchase prices. The possibly knowable question is how many of the vacant homes have adjustable mortgages, because this will be a forcing function for foreclosure etc. I’m more and more convinced that the only way to get reasonable prices for houses is to buy them from banks.

  2. Pingback: Vacant Homes for Sale in Charlottesville and Albemarle – June 2010 |

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *