Match Day 2012 – Are the Residents going to Buy?

Match Day happens every year and March 16, 2012 is Match Day for the medical folks – the day in which they find out where they are going to do their Residencies. I’ve worked with a lot of UVA Residents over the years, and they’re all unique and different, but also tend to have very similar criteria, the foundation of which tends to be “no more than 20 minutes from UVA Hospital”.

For the first six or seven years of my career, 2001 – 2008, incoming medical Residents comprised a significant portion of the Charlottesville real estate market. Since 2007 – 2008, most of that segment of the market has chosen to rent; in other words, the 0 – 5 Buyer has gone.

2011’s real estate market feels a bit different; a lot of buyers are coming back to the market. I’m still uncertain as to what impact Residents are going to have, as I’m betting that quite a few are going to be reluctant to take on more debt.

Student loan debt is crippling our country:

How does the housing bubble debt compare? If you add together mortgages and revolving home equity, then from the first quarter of 1999 to when housing-related debt peaked in the third quarter of 2008, the sum increased from $3.28 trillion to $9.98 trillion. Over this period, housing-related debt had increased threefold. Meanwhile, over the entire period shown on the chart, the balance of student loans grew by more than 6x. The growth of student loans has been twice as steep — and it’s showing no signs of slowing.*

But … if you are a medical Resident moving to Charlottesville thinking about buying, there are quite a few options on the market now that meet the typical criteria – at least three bedrooms, two baths, under 20 minutes to the UVA Medical Center.

This year, I’d be surprised if many (any?) incoming UVA residents move to anywhere other than Charlottesville or Albemarle; prices have declined such that looking in Greene or Fluvanna is likely to be a choice rather than a fallback because nothing is affordable in Charlottesville or Albemarle. It’s going to be interesting.

If you’re searching, search for homes by proximity to UVA (I’d use 1 Hospital Drive)- I’d be inclined to keep the maximum radius at 10 miles; in our market that should be sufficient to keep the drive time under 20 minutes.

The fact that the bulk of the Match Day selection process is ostensibly accomplished using an algorithm is fascinating (I know that the algorithm doesn’t have the final say 100% of the time; as in most things, if you know the right people, you’re likely to have a bit more insight into where you’re going to Match)

ReadWrite Hack had this story looking at the Match Day program

Imagine looking for a job at the same exact time that everyone else is doing it, and you have to adhere to rigid interviewing and application standards. Now imagine that to get the job you have to be matched with your prospective employer by a national computer system. The program is designed to take into account your preferences and your prospective employer’s. That is precisely what is going on next week, when medical students from all over North America participate in what is called Match Day. For more than 50 years, Match Day has happened in March, on the third Thursday, which is next week.

“The matching algorithm is unique,” said Signer. “It handles couples as participants and links their lists to the requests of both partners, and it also matches applicants simultaneously to both of their first and second year training requests. Plus, program directors can donate unfilled positions in one program to other programs. There are a lot of subtleties.” She told me that the actual software run takes about 10 minutes, but that is the easy part. “We have to verify everyone’s credentials for each applicant, and do other clean ups of the data. That is what takes some time. Once we processed the algorithm, we have to create individualized emails and Web pages and prepare a lot of reports that we post on our Web site. All of that is done before Match Day begins.”

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