What is It? 2015’s Over, 2016’s Ahead, and the MLS | Note From Jim | January 2016

Archives of my subscription-only monthly notes. The blog is more searchable. Interested in not waiting a few months to read it? Learn more here.   For these posts, I don’t do much formatting/changing as I’m more concerned about simply having the content here (because I own the blog, and not Tinyletter).

This month: 2015 market roundup & predictions, ownership, thought on the MLS, best of the blogs & what I’m reading. (Do you know what that greenish thing is below?)

Preface: I’ve written over 30 of these monthly notes and I truly enjoy (and agonize) writing each and every one. It’s been interesting to observe objectively how my focus has shifted a bit from writing on RealCentralVA to this note. My attitude when writing here is different than writing there; I’m writing for you – and think of that with each sentence I put to paper, if you will (I actually print these out to proofread). I hope you’re finding value each month.

A refocusing note to the reader myself

For those of you new here, thanks for subscribing. This note is for the consumers – those curious about the market, those thinking about buying or selling (preferably in the Charlottesville area, because I happen to earn a living representing clients). For the lenders, Realtors, attorneys – thank you for reading (but I’m writing for the consumers 🙂 )

The Market – 2015 and 2016

2015 was another year of recovery in the Charlottesville – Albemarle region.

A preface: keep in mind that these are locality-level numbers. Your market – whether it’s a cookie-cutter house in Crozet, townhouse in Charlottesville’s urban ring, or an older home on three acres in Batesville – will vary. Use the following to get a sense of the market. Then ask questions.

Quick and broad strokes:

  • New construction in Charlottesville & Albemarle was strong in 2015
  • Up. Albemarle sales (detached, attached, condos) were up about 8.5%from 1,468 to 1,594
  • Down. City of Charlottesville total sales were down a smidge, from 518 to 511. I attribute this to the lower levels of inventory in the City of Charlottesville; about 10% fewer homes were brought to the market via the Charlottesville MLS in 2015. If you can’t find what you want, you’re most likely not going to buy.
  • Down. Median sold price in Albemarle County in 2015 for a detached home was $385K; in 2014 that number was $393K. For all product types, the median price actually dropped from $330K to $325K.
  • Up. Median sold price in Charlottesville City in 2015 was $270K and $261K in 2014. Single family homes’ median prices increased from $281K to $295K.
  • If you’re seeking to buy a house, have a minimum horizon of 5-7 years.
  • Look for our Nest Report in the next couple days; we’ll have a ton more data there (and I’ll write more in-depth then, too)

2016 – What to look for

  • This is going to be an interesting year as new construction continues its march through recovery, resales that compete with new (even tangentially) may find themselves in stiffening competition with new, and even may see values rising as many buyers are unable to afford new and have to “settle” for resale. I’m going to be tracking this.
  • If inventory remains low, competition is going to be stiff. Some may say that appreciation we see will be “artificial,” but the market is what the market is. If there are fewer homes, more buyers and prices rise, that’s the market.
  • I suspect that City/walkable homes and those in the immediate urban ring (including Crozet) are going to be in high demand.
  • Pocket listings are going to remain a big thing (and I’m going to do everything I can to know about them for my clients!)
  • Zillow is going to remain a big deal, despite their not having a complete data set of homes for sale.

And a couple tweets if you missed them

The MLS – Be Aware of the Boiling Frog

The MLS needs to evolve. Last year, I represented a couple different buyers and a couple different sellers in different situations where the house they were buying or selling wasn’t in the MLS. The MLS needs to evolve beyond their adamant stance that an MLS’ sole role is for cooperation and compensation. If that’s the case, why does the local Realtor Association insist on having a (inferior) public site? Not having the most complete and full data does a disservice to all – the members, the public, appraisers, sellers, buyers …

The MLS is still the best and most effective means by which to market a home for sale. And it still needs to evolve. (I’m a broken record; this is from 2011)

More on “owning it”

Last month, I gave three examples of owning it (and I received quite a few responses based on that). This month, I had occasion to experience another instance of ownership. Short story: a local lender made a mistake. He owned it. And worked his tail off to rectify the situation. And did. Again, we are all fallible; how we respond matters.

Taking on New Clients?

I love getting this question from potential clients, “Are you currently taking on new clients?” Frequently, the answer is “yes.” Looking for representation? Contact me anytime or just reply to this message. I love what I do, have fun representing clients, and appreciate the insight my clients offer when they fill out my buyer survey (although one recent new client surprised me when he jokes that he preferred to communicate via fax – I’d forgotten that I’d inserted that joke in the survey!).

What I’m reading

Blog Roundup

RealCentralVA (8 stories)

RealCrozetVA (14 stories)

Next Month

  • Emerging concerns about the market
  • Realtor Committees – why bother?
  • What might driverless cars do to real estate?

Want a hard copy of the about-to-be-released Nest Report? Reply to this and send me your address, and I’ll mail it to you!

— 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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