Date Archives January 2012

Case Shiller Doesn’t Track Charlottesville’s MSA – or – Nest Realty’s 4th Quarter Report

Five year trend of sales activity in the Charlottesville MSA

I’ve said it before. Case Shiller’s Perspective on the Charlottesville real estate market summed up in one phrase: it doesn’t exist.

As I said this morning on Google+

So we’re getting ready to widely release Nest Realty’s 4th Quarter 2012 Nest Report … there’s some interesting data and analysis in there.

Combined with the reports I’m hearing from agents about the massive traffic at open houses, I’m thinking that *pockets* of the Charlottesville – Albemarle real estate markets are likely to see some stability & even price increases this year.

As far as Case-Shiller and the NAR? They don’t track our market. They’re good insofar as they give insight into other markets and their respective psychological impacts are interesting but not particularly relevant to our local market.

Here’s Nest’s 4th Quarter report – (Download your copy of the PDF here)

What we’re seeing is this:

– Buyer activity is up. Way up, over the past few months and years

– Multiple offers on desirable properties are becoming almost common place

– Foreclosures and short sales are going to be with us for a long time

Buyers want to buy. They just don’t want to buy crap or overpriced homes.

– (some) Sellers are becoming more realistic.

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Charlottesville Real Estate Market Conversation – 29 January 2012

Matt Hodges and I had a good time on WNRN radio yesterday discussing what’s happening in the Charlottesville real estate market, mortgages, buyer activity, real estate assessments, government interference, gas prices’ impact on real estate decisions, and a whole lot more.

I’m going to listen to the show (thanks to Charlottesville Podcast) and put up some show notes, but in the meantime, feel free to what I think was a pretty interesting hour of real estate.

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Albemarle County Real Estate Assessments are Live

See the updated Albemarle County real estate assessments yourself. I’ve done a random sampling and although I’ve been told that Albemarle County assessments are down ~3%, I’ve seen drops ranging from 1% to nearly 20%.

This stuff matters, not simply because the assessed values affect homeowners’ taxes, but the County’s entire budget and to a certain degree property values in that buyers look to assessments for an indication as to what market value may be. My opinion that that the assessment rarely is equivalent to true market value.

Aaron Richardson at the Daily Progress reported last week:

Albemarle’s county executive, Tom Foley, has told the Board of Supervisors he was basing his budget request for next fiscal year, which is still in the works, on an equalized tax rate of 76.5 cents per $100 of assessed real estate value.

Schools Superintendent Pam Moran based her budget request for next fiscal year on the same figure.

For now, the tax rate sits at 74.2 cents per $100. The equalized tax rate is the rate that would have property owners paying basically the same amount of taxes as the previous year, the side-effect of falling property values. That equalized rate is also in the county’s five-year financial plan.

County spokeswoman Lee Catlin said that the 76.5 cent rate is a “working” figure that will be finalized in the next couple of weeks as the county finishes this year’s assessments.

Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Ann H. Mallek said she is in favor of the equalized rate. Moving to the new rate, she said, will make possible long-neglected capital improvements such as the Crozet Library and a police firing range.

Assessed values have been declining for years, and they absolutely matter – to local budgets, to schools’ budgets and quality, and to communities’ qualities of life.

I’ve written about real estate assessments many times over the years; if you’re interested in this subject, you may want to spend some time reading some of those stories.

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Real Estate Radio – 29 January 2012

We’re doing it again … Matt Hodges and I will be on WNRN radio this Sunday morning at 11 o’clock. We’ve done this several times over the past few years and it’s always a good, thorough and in-depth conversation.

These are a few of the ideas that may come up …

If you have suggestions, please feel free to suggest them here, on Twitter, G+, Facebook …

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Search for Homes in Charlottesville by Radius (Proximity)

It’s not often that I get super-excited by real estate search and technology anymore; the last time I got excited was’s app. And sometimes implementing simplicity is brilliant

Diverse Solutions provides the “search for homes” tool that so many people use, and yesterday it got even better with their new release (researching this post, I realized that it’s only been a couple months since their last release).

– Radius search – check it out now! Walkability and proximity to stuff are two of the most important things my buyer clients are asking for.

– Search with polygons (only available on the backend by me for now … what polygons do you want?) and I imagine that soon it will likely be available to users

– Driving Directions

(have you seen that you can search for open houses as well? It’s an older feature but mighty useful!)

I have long wanted to provide the best real estate search tool in the Charlottesville area for my readers, visitors, buyers, etc – my role is a client representative, and I firmly believe that by empowering my clients, we all are better off.

Soon I might do a voice-over, but you really don’t want to listen to me, do you?

I’ll be testing this out myself (and implementing it more widely shortly)

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Hotel-a-Palooza in CharlAlbemarle

C-Ville reports on the coming boom of hotels in Charlottesville-Albemarle.

In light of the Cavalier Inn’s reprieve, (from 2009) …

When the Board of Visitors first approved the Arts Gateway to the University of Virginia in 2007, the project—an estimated $118 million plan that would include, among other buildings, a new art museum at the current site of the Cavalier Inn—was slated to begin construction during the spring of 2009. Now, with renovations underway for the UVA Art Museum on Rugby Road, Vice Provost for the Arts Elizabeth Hutton Turner says that plans for the Arts Gateway are on “indefinite hold.”

… it seems there are going to be quite a supply of hotel rooms in Charlottesville.

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