Vacant Homes for Sale in the Charlottesville Area – 2018 edition

Update 10 September

Looking at the 2017 market (a very active market) for some context:

  • In Charlottesville + Albemarle, 2,379 homes sold via the MLS.
    • 485 of those were new construction
    • 1,894 were resales
      • 737 of the 1,894 – 39% – were marked as vacant. Now I’m more curious – was the vacancy rate so high because sellers were so confident that they could sell?

No answers yet, but curious.



Funny thing about practicing real estate, and writing about it, for so long … some stories become relevant again as the real estate market cycles.

A Nest colleague sent me an email recently about resale homes in a part of the Charlottesville – Albemarle market:

24 Active listings built since 2015

37 Sold listings this year built since 2015

15 Pending listings built since 2015

There is stuff sitting around or below what they paid to build it. Especially in (the) higher end in …

Hmm, I thought, so I dug into each listing to look at not just the occupant/showing instructions, but the agent notes as well. Sometimes the showing instructions allude to vacant homes, and the agent notes say something like, “owners rarely home; call or text agent to show.”

11 of those 24 actives are vacant – 45%
3 of the 15 pendings are vacant.

Double Hmm. When was the last time I’d looked at the data for vacant houses for sale in the Charlottesville real estate market?


In 2006

There are almost 1200 residential properties actively on the market in CharlAlbemarle. Almost 400 of these show as vacant, while almost 300 of these vacant homes are new construction.

For the entire market area, there are about 2,000 homes on the market, 600 of which are vacant, 450 of which are new construction.


In the Charlottesville/Central Virginia area*, there are 1709 residential properties on the market.
620 of these are vacant – a staggering 36%.

Looking at vacancy rate through the 2018 lens

In Charlottesville + Albemarle

  • In Charlottesville + Albemarle, there are 874 residential properties on the market. 617 of those are resales (not new construction).
    • 225 are marked as “vacant” in the MLS. About 36% of homes for sale in the MLS
  • 1531 homes are on the market in the Charlottesville MSA; 1,164 are resales
    • 485 of the resales are vacant – 41%

What does this mean? I don’t know yet, but I’ve been thinking more and more about the “third wave” of sellers in this market. (I read this theory somewhere recently, and haven’t been able to 1) find it or 2) stop thinking about it).

The vacancy rate may be nudging up as the market shifts a bit, and we might be seeing more vacant homes because of the impact of the shift.

I’ll let you know in 18 months what’s going on today.


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  1. Amy Warren September 6, 2018 at 09:39

    I”m not in the real estate business so you will have to enlighten me on the significance of a vacant property with respect to sales? Does that mean its been on the market too long and the owners had to move? Sitting on the market because its overpriced? A little bit of context would be helpful! Thanks.

    1. Jim Duncan September 10, 2018 at 09:58

      Amy – Thanks for the question.

      Short answer: I think you’re on track, and there’s no one answer, but rather a combination of what you’ve pointed out.

      The best answer is, “it depends.”

      – Maybe overpriced
      – Sellers have ability to carry two (or more) payments
      – Seller don’t, but may be on track to get to a short sale … or foreclosure.
      – Sometimes sellers don’t have a choice; life happens and they need to leave … this life happening/need for mobility is one of the many reasons that some people are choosing to not buy (homeownership rate is down nationwide).

      Back to the beginning: it always depends.


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