Charlottesville – A Healthy Housing Market (for New Construction) – With some Context

There’s danger in putting much faith in large-scale housing analysts and analysis, but I’ll take Builder online noting Charlottesville as being relatively healthy as a good thing.

Reason #1 that I’ll give the analysis a bit of credibility: They explicitly recognize “Charlottesville” as “Charlottesville metropolitan area”. Most lists about “Charlottesville” do not seem to recognize that “Charlottesville.”

Really, we’re less bad than many, many other markets.

From Builder magazine: (better context for building permits’ history at the bottom of this post)

6: Charlottesville, Va.

– Health Index: 81.0
– 2010 Population Forecast: 201,599
– 2011 Total Building Permit Forecast: 634
– 2012 Total Building Permit Forecast: 798

Charlottesville isn’t a very big housing market, but it’s a pretty strong one. Home to the University of Virginia, the region has benefited from some strong household growth in recent years. It continues to attract second-home buyers from Washington, D.C.

Bargains are tough to come by in Charlottesville, where the median home price in August stood just below $300,000, according to local real estate agent reports. Though prices are down so far this year, Moody’s expects them to rise 1% next year.

The region has had some strong household growth in recent years, a trend expected to continue through 2012. It will also benefit from strong growth in median income–3.7%.

You know what? I’ll take good news/analysis. We need it.

Ted Strong with the Daily Progress looked at this article as well, and what I said there is true.

Military growth hasn’t been what was once expected, but has been helpful, Duncan said. UVa has provided some buffer, as well, he said, but he pointed out that even the university has had to tighten its belt.

There’s also that Charlottesville remains what’s called a destination location, he said. “People choose to live in Charlottesville and work elsewhere,” Duncan said.

My take on the Charlottesville market being one of the healthiest markets? It’s all relative. We have significant pain here – short sales, foreclosures, stuck sellers, buyers afraid to buy – but we also have buyers and sellers who are able to achieve what they want/need to achieve.

A further thought on buyers’ shifting demands … I will expand on this in a later post, but briefly:

I’m seeing that my clients tend to want new condos or newer, smaller, smarter, better-located homes, single family or townhouse, and they’re driven by price, maintenance and locational constraints.

And … many if not most of them don’t have time pressures to buy.

Albemarle County’s building permit reports are here.

Context (for those who want to see the data for themselves):

– In 2004, Albemarle County issued 599 building permits, 484 of which were single family and 31 were single family attached and 39 were for town homes.

– In 2010, Albemarle County issued 650 building permits, 220 of which were single family and 2 were single family attached and 112 were for town homes.

Through the 2nd Quarter 2011, Albemarle County has issued 87 building permits, 53 of which were single family and 0 were single family attached and 30 were for town homes.

– The City of Charlottesville says about their building permits: “The Development Report for 2010 is now being Compiled. Thank you for your patience!” I’m not holding my breath. Charlottesville is the only locality that doesn’t have a GIS site. Which in this day and age of transparency is simply irresponsible.

Greene County’s site doesn’t even have a search function.

Fluvanna County’s site wasn’t as easily searchable.

Related: The Charlottesville Bubblers have a perspective.

* Edited headline by adding “(for New Construction)” for clarity

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