July 2015 Monthly Note

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Discussed: July 2015 – Mid-year market update, builders update, blog roundup.

Quick note – 

To you new subscribers, thank you! I hope you find this note interesting and useful.

This month – 

  • Market: Mid-year thoughts – old school. I process it better.
  • Update on builders.
  • Blog roundup.
  • What I’m reading.

Mid-Year Market

I think I’m always going to have tempered optimism. The crash has forever jaded me. Across Charlottesville MSA, we have increased contracts, increased median prices, decreased days on the market… but I can also point to the foreclosure I showed last week or the short sale I didn’t show the week before or the house that should have sold six weeks ago that is still oddly languishing on the market.

The activity this year has been… interesting. A nutty spring – lots of offers, lots of multiple offers and bidding wars, houses flying off the market… and others sitting and languishing, inexplicably.

It’s easy to look at the market data and say, “Everything is great!” Look closer and there remain cracks in the façade of everything being super fantastic.

In the first week of July, I showed a foreclosure and a house that had been on the market for two days. My buyers and I made an offer before two other showings. And just this week I represented another buyer in a multiple offer situation.  I also showed a house that has been on the market for over 400 days.

As much as I enjoy talking to the media about market data, there is never any room for nuance.

Let’s look at some numbers.

With everything market-data related, keep in mind two things:
1 – Your market will vary. “Single family homes in Albemarle County” includes the few $200K properties, as well as the $775K homes, those on .2 acres built last year, and the 1927 farmhouse.
2 – There are many ways to pull market data. I do mine one way by hand, but then we do them differently when puttingtogether the Nest Report. I’ve found with our MLS, two people can pull numbers on the same afternoon, seeking the same data set, and come to different results. Dammit.

Solely in the City of Charlottesville from January to June, comparing last year and this year:

First # is the % change, next is 2014, next is 2015

  • Single family contracts are down 2.5% – 235/229
  • Single family closings are down 2% — 200/196
  • Single family new listings are down 18% — 369/304 — I’ll put a couple reasons out there for this: 1) More people are content where they are. 2) Quite a few folks are still under water. 3) Pocket listings. (I know, I’ve been promising this… I’m still working on it.)
Attached homes
  • Attached home contracts are up about 30% — 32/42
  • Attached home closings are up about 11% — 27/30
  • And attached home new listings are down about 21% — keep in mind that this doesn’t necessarily account for new construction townhomes.

Prices – this is such a difficult, and frankly, broad metric, as it is relevant only for broad trending perspective. But, it matters.

Single family media prices in the City – down from $292K to $274K, attached up from $224K to $243K, and condos down from $215K to $181K. And if the data is correct, average days on market are down for single family homes from 57 to 15 days. (That feels both right and wrong depending on the specific market segment.)

And for 
Albemarle County:

First # is the % change, next is 2014, next is 2015
  • Single family contracts are up 13% — 599/677
  • Single family closings are up 8% — 475/514
  • Single family new listings are pretty much flat — 1030/1039
Attached homes
  • Attached home contracts are up about 11% — 211/235
  • Attached home closings are pretty much flat — 194/193
  • And attached home new listings are down from 98 to 91 new listings — keep in mind that this doesn’t necessarily account for new construction townhomes (or single family homes either).

And Albemarle County median prices for single family homes went from $400K in the first half of 2014 to $386K in 2015. For an example of how the above is somewhat misleading, the median sold price for all Albemarle County homes dropped from $327K in 1st half 2014 to $322K in 1st half 2015.

On another note, I’m hoping to release on Friday the 17th a video a colleague and I have done talking specifically about the Crozet real estate market. Stay tuned; I’m a little bit excited about this venture.

Building homes

A few months ago, I noted that I am representing buyers who are – (or have built now) building with four different builders in the Charlottesville area. Three have closed so far — one will be inviting the builder and me to their housewarming party, one closed, and the most recent one closed with the homeowners saying to me at the closing table:
In every case where there was a question, (the builder) made it better. 100% of the time.
Working with them validated your advice and opinion about how good of a builder and experience it would be.
It’s always nice when a builder delivers a quality experience that validates what I’ve told my clients. On the other hand, I take no satisfaction when a builder delivers an unsatisfactory experience that also validates that for which I’ve prepared my clients.

One of the keys in building a home, or anything really, is how one responds to an error or a challenge. This month brought a couple opportunities, but one in particular, Southern Development (not the builder referenced in the quote above) responded to such a challenge well. They communicated, they owned the previous miscommunication, and they made it right; and the client is happy. Doing the right thing shouldn’t be so remarkable, but it is.

Question for you

What’s your favorite thing about living in the Charlottesville area? Best answer gets a donation to the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank made in their name.  (it’s easy – just hit “reply”)

On the Blogs

RealCentralVA (7 stories)

RealCrozetVA (16 stories)

Next month – I’ve been writing less on the blog, community, and similarities between building a church and buying a home.

What I’m reading (at the request of a reader)

As always, thank you, and please call or email anytime with questions. 434-242-7140

—-  Jim

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Jim Duncan, Nest Realty, 126 Garrett Street Suite D, Charlottesville, VA 22902. Licensed real estate agent in Commonwealth of VA.

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