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It costs nearly $12,000 per year to educate a kid in Albemarle County Schools. This year, the County Schools are facing a proposed funding gap of nearly $7 million and the cry from many parents, administrators and citizens has been to â€œfully fund the schools. (including emails from the schoolsâ€™ email distribution newsgroups).â€
Rather than repeat myself, this is a story I wrote three years ago and itâ€™s still relevant. Schools matter for housing values. Period. People move to the Charlottesville area all the time for the schools. Schools. Matter. (this is as good a time as any to remind folks to check your school district before you write an offer to purchase a home )
How should the citizenry pay for the schools?
Asking for â€œmore!â€ without referencing the â€œhow?â€ in my opinion diminishes the argument.
* note: one of my kids graduated from Western Albemarle schools and one is currently enrolled.
As with some stories I post here, I’m posting for two reasons. First, I want to educate and inform those who read (thank you) and second, I refer to my blog all the time – and it’s much easier to google my blog than my brain. For now.
Iâ€™ve been looking at some national trends lately and how they affect home buyers and sellers. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, has been very candid lately. (he also noted a few years ago that there were too many Realtors)
Hearing this story on NPR yesterday was timely, as the two economists echoed what I’ve been thinking for the past few weeks:
Lawrence Yun has been crunching numbers too. Heâ€™s chief economist at the National Association of Realtors. He says for the last six months, fewer than 30% of all home sales were to first time buyers.
â€œAnd this is historic lows,â€ he says. â€œTypically it should be about 40% to 45%. And I believe the key reasoning is that many of the younger households, they are saddled with student debt.â€
Which makes it harder to qualify for a mortgage.
But before we wag the finger at student loans, there may be a twin culprit. Rohit Chopra is the student loan ombudsman for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. He says student loan burdens are rising much faster than wages.
â€œReal wages when adjusted for inflation have actually been flat for new college graduates for about the past ten years. So young people have more debt but are earning the same or less income,â€ he says.
From what I’ve seen in my real estate practice, the home buying cycle is slowing down. First time homebuyers are now buying at later stages in life. As noted a couple years ago, the 0-5 Buyer is Gone. And right now,
First time homebuyers, when they do choose to buy, are buying at later points of their lives â€“ once theyâ€™ve established themselves in their careers* and found their mates if they so choose, and have determined that their lives â€“ kids on the way, jobs â€¦ have or represent some sort of stability.
Many of these first-timers have either seen their friends and families decimated by the housing market or have experienced it themselves in selling or trying to sell â€“ either normal transactions, short sales or foreclosures.
As I noted in my monthly note, so far I (and others) have been wrong about the inventory coming to the market in the Charlottesville area. March and April should prove telling. If more quality, well-priced homes donâ€™t come on the market in those months, I suspect that weâ€™re going to see reduced home sales for the entire year. Keep in mind that â€œnew normalâ€ is another way of saying â€œtoday.”
Who knows if and when the Western Bypass will be built? Know this – lots of people will show up to comment on it. Again.
A vote on the resolution could follow the hearing, set to begin at 4 p.m. Wednesday in the County Office Buildingâ€™s Lane Auditorium. That session is expected to stretch into the night and generate huge turnout, the latest turn in the enduring saga of the Western Bypass of U.S. 29.
I asked years ago a question about the Meadowcreek (John Warner) Parkway that could (and should, in a reasonable world) be asked of the Western Bypass – How would they design the Western Bypass today, with todayâ€™s human settlement and development patterns in place?
The answer is that the road would likely be a very different solution. Because implementing infrastructure solutions in the Charlottesville – Albemarle region takes a minimum of 30-50 years, plans should change, but they wonâ€™t.
I know this –
– The proponents arenâ€™t going to give up just because the road is a flawed design. Terminating at Forest Lakes is the wrong terminus – it was probably the right location 30 years ago, but now it should dump traffic north of the Charlottesville Albemarle Airport, probably north of the UVA North Fork Research Park and really should terminate in Greene County. Those necessary changes arenâ€™t going to happen.
– The opponents are accused of using flawed data as are the proponents, whenever these arguments arise. They donâ€™t want the bypass and disregard the studies saying that the Western Bypass will save time.
– I just wish there was unbiased data and analysis by which the citizens could make informed decisions. I also wish that unicorns were real and
Police officers in the City of Charlottesville have doubled in the past two years the number of tickets they have issued to bicyclists, Charlottesville Tomorrow reports.
– Good. As a bicycle advocate and rider, seeing cyclists cutting in and out of traffic, on and off sidewalks, blowing through red lights, etc. makes it harder for the law-abiding cyclists.
– Really? The number of times Iâ€™ve watched a car badly blow through a red light while a police officer sits there watching the offense is itself almost criminal.
– Bad. Points on a driverâ€™s license because of these infractions? Donâ€™t you have to have a license in order to get points on said license?
– Good. Maybe this will serve as a discussion point for educating the police, cyclists and drivers.
– Is there something in the Code of Virginia for distracted pedestrians? Maybe they could target UVA students on the Corner; theyâ€™re dangerous, too.
Maybe the City can add this discussion point to their newest $50k study on creating and integrating â€œcomplete streets.â€ (it would be awfully nice to have this discussion include how to traverse City/County lines rather than myopically looking solely at each localityâ€™s needs.)
If you look solely at the numbers, it looks like housing inventory is up. Not so.
Iâ€™ve been thinking for months that weâ€™d be seeing more housing inventory on the market by now. Itâ€™s not yet here.
Comparing the first 9 days of February of this year versus last – 116 new listings came on last 1-9 February versus 50 this 1-9 February.
For the MSA (Charlottesville, Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, Nelson) – 84 this 1-9 February and 210 last 1-9 February.
I’m confused. I know this: I have buyers who are looking for homes to to, and we canâ€™t find them. I get emails frequently from buyersâ€™ agents who are looking for homes for their buyers, and they canâ€™t find them.
If youâ€™re interested, hereâ€™s a bit more data:
Update 18 February 2014: this is not merely a Charlottesville – Albemarle MSA trend. Redfinâ€™s post today is outstanding.
Redfin agents say the downturn in demand is uneven. â€œThe picture-perfect homes are selling just as fast as last year, often drawing a dozen or more offers,â€ according to Redfin Washington, D.C. agent Philip Gvinter. â€œBut now the undesirable properties that would have sold in a few months last year arenâ€™t selling at all. The biggest change is in between, with the sort-of-desirable homes. Last year, these homes got multiple offers and sold quickly. Now, they are getting only one offer during the first week, sometimes having to reduce their price, and the home is taking three to six weeks to sell.â€