Date Archives March 2012

City of Charlottesville to Use Eminent Domain in Fry Springs?

$24k for a half acre of land in the City? I have quite a few clients who would jump at that opportunity.

Charlottesville’s development staff needs that land to move forward on projects on Old Lynchburg Road. That includes adding sidewalks and bike paths, as well as improving drainage systems all along that street.

Plans have the vacant space at Fry’s Spring turning into a storm water basin, but Beach Club President Jim Veale says that comes at a serious cost to the club.

I wish the City would condemn the abandoned and now-going-to-auction-Landmark Hotel and tear it down.

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Charlottesville Real Estate Market February Update

Contracts are up in the Charlottesville area – significantly. Prices are down, inventory is down, sales are up. There is some positivity in the market; multiple offers, while not “the norm” are definitely common.

As I’ve said to clients: properties that are priced well*, in great condition, and in great locations tend to be selling well.

Nest Report – Feb 2012

I’m still trying to make time to run a few different numbers – breakdown of property type, etc. I’m doing these for my clients on property-specific instances frequently) but haven’t been able to do it for here …

* Priced well is part science, part art, part data analytics and part luck, sometimes not in equal proportions.

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Interesting New Market Report – Some Positivity in the (Macro & Micro) Market

One of the best parts of this Housing Prospects 50 States Release March 12 2012

One of the things I said in the Newsplex story is that any market analysis that is broader than a street or neighborhood is too broad to make an informed and educated decision.

Excerpting from the report won’t do it justice; if you’re interested, download the pdf and read it.

The one quibble I would make is that depending on Zillow for local analysis with respect to the Charlottesville MSA is perhaps not the best idea; but from a macro perspective, they’re worthwhile.

Perhaps the best part of the report is this – William Lucy states the need for local analysis and local perspectives. The housing system may be broken, but the solution is not a one-size-fits-all

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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.

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Redfields Neighborhood’s Next Phase Going to Court

From Charlottesville Tomorrow –

The Redfields Development Corp. has filed a lawsuit against the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors for denying a request to expand the neighborhood. 
The county wants the suit dismissed.

If the property was zoned/approved in 1990 for development, and it hasn’t been downzoned since, I’m failing to see the logic of denying the developers’ application now. “You’ve made money” doesn’t strike me as a viable argument; “… (they have) reaped the financial rewards of its planned residential development zoning classification for 22 years …”

Along that same vein, it seems both the County and the Developer share responsibility for not clearly communicating to the Redfields residents (and each other) that that “open space” was actually “site of future development.”

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