March Monthly Note – This Market, Take 2. Blue Apron. Privacy. Pooping babies.

March 2016 Monthly Note
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This month, that holds true. We’re in the thick of it. This market is, in many segments, crazy. Feels-like-2005-and-2006-crazy. Crazy as in, I feel like I’ve been here before crazy.

I’ve not seen that combination since the “boom” market.

There is nothing my clients could have done.

This is a market where buyers make big mistakes. As a 15 year (holy cow) veteran of this market, I’ve seen remarkable windfalls and profound pain. I remember my clients’ pain more than I do the successes.

Buyers, if you’re thinking about buying a house, even a little bit, engage a buyers’ agent now. If you wait to make that first call to a Realtor on the morning you see that house you love, the only thing you’re going to get is a feeling of disappointment and lost opportunity. Please, be prepared.

The Market, Context.

There is no good way to track pocket listings and unrepresented sellers (although I’m pretty sure Zillow has figured this out). That said, to give some insight into what we’re seeing:

In Albemarle County from 1 January to 14 March

In 2015, 558 homes were listed from January 1 to March 14. 621 have been listed so far in 2016; more homes have come on the market this year, but it sure hasn’t felt like that. In 2015, 314 homes went under contract. 358 (12% more) have gone under contract in 2016.

Looking at how quickly homes have gone under contract: in that timeframe in 2015, 69 homes went under in under two days while 71 went under in 2016. I’ll call that flat (excepting pocket/pre-marketed listings).

In the City of Charlottesville from 1 January to 14 March

In 2015, 162 homes were listed in this time frame. 187 have been listed in 2016; a few more homes have come on the market this year than did last, although the bidding wars and escalation clauses would seem to belie that. In 2015, in this time period, 107 homes went under contract (21 in under 2 days). 119 (22 in under 2 days) have gone under contract in 2016 so far.

I wish there was a way to track the number of escalation clauses and offers submitted; I’d wager this year has seen *way* more than last year.

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1 Comment

  1. Mark March 21, 2016 at 17:36

    Jim, any sense that this local trend is happening in the macro nationwide? The link below discusses how there’s not much inventory on the lower end of price, so the supply inexpensive ($150-250k) houses remains stagnant, causing rents to increase.
    In Cville, I would say anyone with a housing budget under $250k has no single-family options within 15 minutes of town- a few townhome or condo options but even new constrcution there is often above $250k. The simple fact is for 15-20% more cost, a builder can get 50% higher price by squeezing a 3200sf home on that lot, where they used to build 1100-sf ranchers.


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