Low Housing Inventory Continues in Charlottesville and Albemarle

If you look solely at the numbers, it looks like housing inventory is up. Not so.

I’ve been thinking for months that we’d be seeing more housing inventory on the market by now. It’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 can’t find them. I get emails frequently from buyers’ agents who are looking for homes for their buyers, and they can’t find them.

If you’re interested, here’s a bit more data:

The Sales and Inventory report for Charlottesville and Albemarle

The Sales and Inventory report for the Charlottesville MSA

Update 18 February 2014: this is not merely a Charlottesville – Albemarle MSA trend. Redfin’s post today is outstanding.

“Redfin agents say the downturn in demand is uneven. “The picture-perfect homes are selling just as fast as last year, often drawing a dozen or more offers,…  according to Redfin Washington, D.C. agent Philip Gvinter. … But now the undesirable properties that would have sold in a few months last year aren’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.””

Also, for a national look at inventory, Calculated Risk is always useful and insightful.

In a break from practice, I’m publishing a piece of my monthly note … if you want to read the whole note, subscribe here.

Solely for Charlottesville + Albemarle:

Single family homes sales in January 2014 vs January 2013 – 58/67

Attached homes sales in January 2014 vs January 2013 – 18/21

Condo homes sales in January 2014 vs January 2013 – 11/10

And as I mentioned last month, that I thought we’d see more inventory in 2014 …

Dammit, so I’m wrong (so far). 247 homes were listed in January 2013 and 180 were listed this January. 34 (18.9%) of those 180 went under contract in January and 46 (18.6%) of the 247 went under contract last January. I still think we’re going to see more this month come on the market. Anecdotally, the productive agents with whom I’m talking seem to have a lot of listings to activate this month and next.

Across the Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) – Charlottesville, Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, Nelson, in January, Year over Year for all products – inventory is up and sales are down (see PDF). For single family homes across the MSA: inventory up, sales down. For Albemarle: inventory up, sales down. For the City: same story.

And … for Charlottesville + Albemarle: 122 contracts in January this year versus 149 last year. Hmmm.

For Charlottesville + Albemarle: contracts in December + January were down 11%.

226 – contracts from 12/1/13-1/31/14
254 – contracts from 12/1/12-1/31/13

For the Charlottesville MSA (Charlottesville, Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, Nelson): contracts were down 7%.

366 – contracts from 12/1/13-1/31/14
393 – contracts from 12/1/12-1/31/13

What does this data mean? To me, it means that if you’re buying, you may be able to be a little more aggressive. If you are selling, you still need to be well-prepared and well-priced.

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  1. Stormy February 10, 2014 at 08:57

    Because it was exceptionally cold in January? It might be as simple as that.

  2. Simon Campbell February 18, 2014 at 09:31

    I see your frustration. It was assumed that as homeowners saw values increasing as well as interest rates, they would be more inclined to list their property and either upgrade, downgrade or move to a new location. I wonder what is holding them back. It will be interesting to see if this trend continues into the buying season.

  3. Mark February 20, 2014 at 11:50

    The problem in the city has always been “quality” inventory, aka houses people want to buy. There are so many brick ranchers and small Cape Cods which are too small for today’s homebuyer. I would imagine that accounts for much of the City inventory.
    If you have 3+ bedrooms and 2+ full baths (above-ground) and a driveway in the city, and your home is reasonably updated (granite/stainless), you stand a good chance of selling quickly. If you have a garage, even better.

    The day after I listed my previous house in 2010, the eventual buyer was calling my agent. He had been looking for months and not found anything “quality.” It went under contract in a week.
    The brick ranchers will sit and keep inventory high, they’d be a commodity if there wasn’t a difference in quality of school district. They’re $190-260 depending on school district.
    I don’t know much about the County, but it seems from afar that houses in the few “amenities” neighborhoods (FL, Hollymead to the north and Reynovia/Mill Creek/Redfields to the south) sell pretty quickly, as do the closer-in neighborhoods like Carrsbrook. And I won’t deign to speculate on Crozet…what do you think, Jim?

    1. Mark February 20, 2014 at 11:55

      P.S. I have had the same experience as a buyer in the city 2-3 times
      since 2007…there’s not much to choose from for a family of 5 or more.
      Jim showed me several houses and wrote 3 offers on less-than-ideal
      houses in summer 2007 before we decided to rent. We finally found a
      “quality” place to buy in spring 2008, and had no trouble selling it when kid #4 came along and we needed more space.


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