Date Archives December 2011

Deciding to NOT Move To Charlottesville – How Much is That Worth?

How much would a customer/buyer be willing to pay for the advice to *not* move to Charlottesville?

A few weeks ago, I spent a full day with prospective Charlottesville residents, wonderful people who were evaluating whether Charlottesville is right for them. Ultimately, with my help, guidance, expert advice and insight, they decided that Charlottesville is not the right place for them. (that’s ok, Charlottesville’s a great place to live, but we can’t be everything to everyone!)

Thank you so much for spending the day with us in Charlottesville. You should be hired by the Chamber of Commerce, you are absolutely a great cheerleader for your town.

My question is – what is coming to that decision worth?

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Year-End Review of the Charlottesville Real Estate Market

So far* in 2011, more homes have sold this year in Charlottesville and Albemarle than sold last year in the same timeframe. Who knew?

Charlottesville Albemarle area home sales so far for 2011

Charlottesville Albemarle area home sales for the first 11 months of 2010

Listen to the podcast of my discussion with Coy Barefoot as we look back at the 2011 Charlottesville real estate market and a look forward to 2012.


I’m not saying that the depression is over, but the fact that more homes have sold in Charlottesville and Albemarle, year over year, is a good thing. That the outlying counties’ numbers are down is due to a slew of factors, from foreclosures and short sales to people acting on their desires to be close to stuff. Walkability=Affordability=Profitability=Livability

Attitudes of Young Americans Bode Ill for Housing Recovery (Forbes) – This is something that is going to affect all real estate markets, not just Charlottesville’s, for years (decades?).

The lack of assets isn’t the only encumbrance to housing: Echo Boomers value education, people and leisure more than other American generations.  Of the Echo Boomers I spoke with, 13% were homeowners, yet less than a third reported interest in owning a home someday (with female Echo Boomers wanting homes more than male Echo Boomers).  They preferred graduate degrees, living in social areas (not suburbs) and freedom instead of homeownership.  A few of these Echo Boomers will need a decade to pay off their student loans after which another large loan, like a mortgage, might lack appeal.  And while suburbs seem to offer community and safety, they also add transportation costs with a lack of social diversity.

Goodbye, 0-5 Buyer -OR- Finance a House or an Education? (RealCentralVA)

People are staying in their homes longer – whether by choice or necessity. If selling is not a viable option, you need to fall in love with your house all over again.

Residential Remodeling Index at new high in October (Calculated Risk)

Now in Vogue: Practical Remodeling (Wall Street Journal)

UVA Credit Union’s Power Saver Loan

These new PowerSaver loans will offer qualified homeowners up to $25,000 to make energy-efficient improvements of their choice, such as replacement doors and windows, metal or asphalt roofs, HVAC systems, water heaters, insulation, duct sealing, solar panels, ground source heat pump systems and more.

Interest Rates are still historically low – and they won’t start to matter until they rise.

Shadow Inventory – What will it’s affect be on the Charlottesville real estate market?

Shadow Inventory graphic from USA Today
(thanks to KCM Blog for pointing this out)

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Places like “The Farm” Make Charlottesville a Fun Place to Live

The Farm is decidedly not homogeneous, and that’s part of what makes Charlottesville a special place to live.

It’s small, jam packed with local foods – breads, beer, coffee, eggs, produce, milk, tofu – and is full of character and it’s been open for just over three months. And if you’re near Belmont, stop in and check it out for yourself.

Described on Foursquare as:

A “gourmet bodega” in the Belmont neighborhood, featuring locally sourced foods, including produce, meats and more! There are fresh-baked baguettes and pastries from Albemarle Baking Company in the mornings, as well as coffee from Shenandoah Joe’s brewing all day.

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Friday Links – 16 December 2011

Charlottesville is a Great Place to Retire – Isn’t it about time that these lists stop referencing Charlottesville as having been rated the “best place to live” in North America in 2004? Charlottesville is a great place to live; 2004 is so 8 years ago.

Redfields Rezoning Denied (Charlottesville Tomorrow) – I suspect that even though it’s denied, this isn’t the end of this story.

The Buyer Pool Revisited (San Diego Castles) Click through for one of the funniest graphics depicting buyers’ expectations in this market. Also a reminder: There is NO National Housing Market.

Student loan debt — and default — will hurt home sales (VARBuzz) – This is something we discussed here a few months ago; the higher education bubble is one that is going to affect everything for years to come.

Living by Default (The New Yorker) – Defaulting strategically makes a lot of sense sometimes.

Best Parking Job Ever. (Bill Risser) – It’s funny. Watch it. And please don’t do this to my car.

I love PolitiFact.

Did you see how Americans’ rights are about to be stripped? So much for being the “land of the free.”

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It’s Not about the NAR’s Numbers, It’s about the NAR’s Credibility

I’ve tried to write this story about the National Association of Realtors’ revisions and I can’t seem to write anything new that I or others haven’t said before.

Or more succinctly:

@mortgagereports How will they help? More accurate data is good, but who trusts the NAR? My take is: national is irrelevant,local is crucial

There’s a bit more after the break, but the above sums it up.

And … question everything. Always. I do.

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