Charlottesville Regional Real Estate Update – August 2009

Huge thank you to Barry Merchant with VHDA for speaking and CAAR for inviting him again to speak. This is an update to his presentation in March of this year, and it was informative, enlightening, candid and sobering.

Comments, questions and feedback welcomed. I’m planning to leave this post at the top of the page for at least the next few days, as the charts, graphs and information are very valuable. I am also planning to post my thoughts and comments shortly, but wanted to get this up as quickly as possible.

CAAR Conference Presentation 6 August 2009

Download the presentation yourself:



See it on my Posterous

Google Docs

One of the brightest notes was the audience – I looked around and the vast majority of the audience were experienced, productive Realtors from the Charlottesville area.

Update 2 – -8/7/9: CAAR provides coverage/linkage

Update 1 – 8/7/9 – Podcast:

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  1. Buyer 2010 August 6, 2009 at 15:44

    Jim, you may not have the answers to the questions below, but thanks for posting this info and giving the opportunity to ask them.

    The last slide says (paraphrased) that prices will continue to fall and the market will continue to correct into 2010. So how’s a buyer to figure out what to make as an offer? Not in terms of what the seller will accept, but in terms of protecting self, as much as possible, from getting underwater as soon as the deal has closed….or of having a couple of years of mortgage payments wiped out before they are even made (on the assumption the buyer intends to stay in the property for 7+ years).

    You can look on the IDX search on this site or ‘price reductions’ at Trulia, and see there are places (at all different price points) that have already had significant reductions. How does a buyer “price” these? If the CMA’s aren’t doing the trick, what will?

    On another topic, if somebody needs the VHDA loan to “monetize” the $8k tax credit because they don’t have the cash for closing (as opposed to using the cash, received later, for new furniture or landscaping), should they really be buying? How about renting, which is still cheaper in this area, until the economy “normalizes” again? (Whatever “normal” will mean.)

  2. Jim Duncan August 7, 2009 at 11:10

    Buyer 2010 –

    You raise some very interesting questions. Thank you.

    Regarding what to offer in order to protect yourself … the short answer is you can’t fully protect yourself. I’m telling all of my clients who are buying now that they should be prepared for their properties to be worth less in the near future, but that over the long term you should be able to at the least maintain value and likely see some appreciation.

    A buyer prices things with the help of a good Realtor advising them with all of the best data that is currently available. CMAs have been derided by some, but they provide the best attempt to try to ascertain the best value. Each property is different and unique and requires a specific analysis. Some of the properties that are coming on the market are very well priced, and are going under contract in days while some are sitting for hundreds of days.

    Some sellers are able to sell at a reasonable price – and are – some are not and have not yet capitulated.

    I absolutely understand your perspective and concern; it is very common, but I think that all housing is a risk to a certain degree. The best you can do is to hire the best representation you can, be patient and unemotional but ensure that the house to buy is one you truly like and love and think you will be happy in.

    The best way to protect yourself is to rent … and I mean that honestly with no sarcasm.

  3. want-to-buy August 7, 2009 at 20:53

    Jim, thank you for making Barry Merchant’s presentation available to us. It is very helpful to have an objective opinion on the C’ville market.

    1. Jim Duncan August 8, 2009 at 07:08


      You are quite welcome. Thank you for stopping by. Please let me know if you have any questions about the content. It was a very interesting presentation.


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