Date Archives February 2014

Lawrence Yun Came to CAAR

It’s always great to hear NAR’s chief economist talk. He’s in a tough spot – he’s a great economist. But he’s the Chief Economist for the National Association of Realtors – the trade association for Realtors*. Part of his job is to be both an honest economist and to spin the research positively for Realtors. That said, he’s infinitely better than his predecessor. I’m inclined to follow up on our lunch from a couple years ago to see how, if at all, his perspective has changed. That said …

A few takeaways –

– Rents and renters are rising

– Interest rates are likely to rise this year – he says to 5.3%

– Home sales are up (nationally)

– Home prices nationally have risen 20% (way to fast/high in my opinion)

– Pending sales are down – troublingly so. (see Calculated Risk, Zero Hedge (sales “collapsed” & Big Picture, who uses the term “cratered” referencing pending sales)

(results from my running data)

For Charlottesville-Albemarle, contracts were down 11%:

226 – from 12/1/13-1/31/14 – number of homes went under contract in the Charlottesville MLS
254 – from 12/1/12-1/31/13

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

366 – from 12/1/13-1/31/14 – number of homes went under contract in the Charlottesville MLS
393 – from 12/1/12-1/31/13 –

One of the most striking things I heard him say was this:

Some (many?) parts of the Charlottesville area market are doing better, but if you were about to have a day like I’m about to have, you’d know that there remains a lot of pain and suffering – financial, personal and psychological – in our market.

Click through to see the slides from Dr. Yun’s presentation.

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Why Move to Charlottesville?

I’ll defer to these folks’ story about why they moved to Charlottesville. Of particular note is that “finding jobs” is #6, behind wanting to buy a house with at least a little bit of land, proximity to the mountains … this is a common thing – choosing Charlottesville and finding jobs later. Or choosing Charlottesville and keeping the jobs you have and telecommuting.

It’s a great story worth a few minutes’ read.

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Arthouse Theater + Beer + Restaurant Coming to Downtown Mall

In the “something cool coming to Downtown Charlottesville” category …

If the number of times this story was shared and discussed on Facebook is any indication of success, the new movie theater on the Downtown Mall is poised for tremendous success.

The Downtown theater, that just successfully drove the Vinegar Hill theater out of business, will now be an art house theater with a bar and restaurant.

Regal Cinema’s movie theater monopoly in Charlottesville has ended, and the new kid on the block is planning to serve up something sure to have local cinephiles salivating: a Downtown theater that offers upscale food and cocktails along with indie film fare.

He said the movies the new theater will show will be in line with the mostly indie fare currently screening at the Downtown Regal—which will continue to be the tenant in the space for the immediate future—but he also plans to show some more mainstream films.

Patience is recommended though.

The first step is getting approval from the city’s Board of Architectural Review for a new facade. He’ll present initial plans to the BAR on February 18, but he’s aware it might take awhile to get the O.K.

As it turns out, when my small one and I went to the UVA Women’s soccer tournament in December, we had an occasion to try what I perceive (and hope) this new theater will be.

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Charlottesville a Fast-Shrinking Economy?

Hmmm … this isn’t good. I wonder how they define “Charlottesville” – is it “Charlottesville, the City of,” or “Charlottesville = Charlottesville, Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, Nelson”?

9. Charlottesville, VA

> 2013 GMP change: -2.2% (tied-7th worst)

> Change in employment: -1.9% (tied-5th worst)

> Projected 2014 GMP change: 2.3% (tied-144th best)

> Unemployment rate: 4.6% (32nd lowest)

Charlottesville’s economy contracted by 2.2% in 2013 after failing to grow in 2012. This year, however, may be relatively strong for the area. Employment is projected to rise by 1.4%, while GMP is expected to grow by 2.3%. While these figures aren’t strong relative to the U.S. overall, they are a step in the right direction. Despite the two consecutive years of a shrinking economy, the area’s unemployment rate of 4.6% is considerably lower than many other metro areas. Charlottesville is home to the University of Virginia, a major employer in the area.

This does track with some of the sentiments I have observed, if not the data. I’m thinking that the study authors mean at least “Charlottesville + Albemarle” as much of the University of Virginia is in Albemarle.

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February 2014’s Monthly Note

Jim Duncan's February 2014's Monthly Note

If you’re interested in reading one note a month, usually less than 1500 words, please consider subscribing here. (subscribing is a two-step process)

Not all of these topics will make the final draft of my monthly note, but many will. This month I’m thinking a lot about buyer and the process, but have quite a few other ideas and topics.

This month’s Table of Contents:

– The Market
– Nest + Google
– The note’s value
– Are we a Good Fit? Will we work well together?
– The pain of asking for reviews
– Video quiz
– what is this?
– Blog Roundup

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