Fighting FUD – Charlottesville Real Estate Market in 2014

FUD: Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. There’s going to be a fair amount of that in 2014, and more than ever, it’s going to take real estate consumers (and real estate pros, for that matter) more effort to distill the good information from the bad.

2013 is over. 2014 is here. Goodie. Reflecting on my “6 Things to Watch in 2013,” I’m satisfied that the six things were on point, and all six points – Quality Inventory, Home Prices, Fewer Distressed Sales, Confidence in the market, buyer frustration and a lot more apartments – will carry forward into 2014.

I’ve been practicing real estate since 2001 and each year i’ve said that the market is interesting and different – it’s one of the reasons I continue to practice; every day is a new day with new things to learn.

I’ll be posting individual stories on these “topics to watch in 2014” over the first two weeks of January:

QRM – Qualified Residential Mortgages (note that many of the rules have yet to be written). Will it be hard or harder to get a mortgage in 2014?

Interest Rates – will they go up or down or stay flat? This speculation always brings uncertainty into the market

Inventory – I predict there will be more – more resales and more new construction

(Un)Employment – this is going to be a key factor in the Charlottesville MSA

Home prices – Up, down, flat? Can sellers sell? Can buyers afford to buy?

I’m going to touch on these as well in my January monthly note, which, based on feedback, has proven to be equally valuable to those actively in the buying/selling process as well as those who bought years ago and remain in Charlottesville.

All told, I think Lauren at the Newsplex accurately quoted me in her story last week, and what I said well captures 2013 entering 2014:

“For Charlottesville/Albemarle we’re going to see a mix of cautious optimism and optimism,” says Jim Duncan, partner at Nest Realty. …

“This is going to be the second year where a lot of sellers are going to be able to have the legitimate conversation about whether they can sell and not lose money and that’s going to be a real shift in our market,” says Duncan. “I think that’s going to bring on more inventories which are going to be more competition for sellers and more choices for buyers.”

“Fewer people in the market are under water, meaning that they are able to sell and not lose their down payments or their savings,” Duncan explains.

But as many people continue buying homes in 2014, the amount of renters will also rise.

“We’ve seen people who used to buy now choosing to rent, because they don’t know if they are going to be here for more than four to five years,” says Duncan. “I think there has been a reevaluation of what it means to buy a home.”

Finally, my words from last January remain true:

My advice to my clients, whether they are buying or selling, (sounds silly, I know) starts with listening. Where are they now (in life, jobs, homes), where do they want to be (see previous notes) and where can they get realistically?

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  1. Simon Campbell January 1, 2014 at 18:18

    The foreclosure and subsequent real estate market “crash” has gotten a lot of people worried. Worried that they will lose money on the sale of their home. Worried that if they buy a home they will lose money on it. The low interest rates were an incentive that offset the perceived risk, but as rates increase it is us professionals that will need to dispel the fear.


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