Housing Appreciation in Charlottesville and Albemarle over 20 years

This New Yorker article is hilarious, sad, and true.

Congratulations! Our magazine has just declared your beloved city the most livable in America, and we cannot wait to tell our millions of readers about it. You must be thrilled that your previously under-the-radar, midsize, relatively traffic-free haven is finally getting the recognition it deserves! It’s our unique joy to bring this fine municipality to the attention of so many unhappy New Yorkers with remote jobs and salaries that seem insane to you.

Your city ranked pretty highly in affordability. Housing costs are so reasonable, it’ll be a breeze for young Manhattanites to buy their first homes for sixty thousand dollars over asking price, in cash. And all the adorable, small houses in the area will soon benefit from the cool shade of dozens of identical luxury-condo buildings. You haven’t even finished reading this article, and already you can hear the faint sound of bamboo floors being installed.



As I commented on the Charlottesville Reddit thread:

That New Yorker article speaks the truth.
2004 was the first time (IIRC) that Charlottesville was “the best place to live” … a lot’s changed since then. (I’d link to the actual story, but that link is long dead)
“Charlottesville enjoys clean air and water, and pleasant weather year-round, highlighted by especially beautiful fall foliage. Nearby Shenandoah National Park offers a wealth of recreation opportunities. Charlottesville is home to the University of Virginia, which strengthens the area’s healthy economy by providing steady jobs and a wealth of amenities and entertainment. Homes are not cheap (median home price $225,000), but the cost of living is manageable. The city’s low unemployment rate and significant recent job growth promise continued prosperity. As more and more people learn about this year’s best city, Charlottesville may find staying affordable and sprawl-free is its greatest challenge!”
  • Median sold price for all housing types (2,337 homes via MLS) in Charlottesville + Albemarle in 2022 was $475K.
  • Median sold price for single family houses (1,534) was $582,260; average was $711,101.

Looking a bit more narrowly

In Charlottesville + Albemarle in 2002, 1,345 homes sold via the Charlottesville MLS. Average sales price was $316,640 and median sales price was $242,750.

In 2023 in Charlottesville + Albemarle, 1,535 homes sold via the MLS*. Average sales price was $711,273 and the median sales price was $582,620.

Narrow looks matter.

Yes, over time houses tend to appreciate. Every micro market is different – the Charlottesville condo market is different than the Albemarle one, and the Charlottesville 1960’s brick ranch will be a different product that a newish home in Albemarle.

I advise my clients to buy a home to live their lives, and when the time is right, think about selling. As one of my early quasi-mentors said though, “you make your money when you buy, and not when you sell.”

Said differently, I’ll give you the best most relevant information about today’s market and tomorrow’s projections to help you make a great decision whether to buy or sell right now.

Population numbers

Keep in mind that in in 2021 the population for Charlottesville City was 45,672 and was 45,049 in 2000. Albemarle County was 113,535 in 2021 and 79,236 in 2010.

Charlottesville and Albemarle remain great places to live. Are we inexpensive? No.

Do we have traffic? Yes.

As a client who lived where they had “real” traffic told me once when I was commenting on our traffic, if we live in a place with no traffic, that’s a sign of stagnation and people not wanting to live there — don’t we want to have some traffic?

Do we have great access to music, arts, hiking, biking, education? Yep.

Still a great place to live, even in 2023.

And here’s the thing

For many, if not most of my clients, housing is not a commodity to be traded every few years. Their homes are their home bases, the places from which they live, raise families (of kids or dogs and/or cats), and leverage for life stability – that invaluable feeling that should you want to move, that will (usually) be a decision that they make, rather than to be made for them by their landlord.

On that note, if you have a question about buying or selling a home in Charlottesville, I’m always happy to have a conversation. Over the past two weeks alone, I’ve spoken to people who are evaluating if now or in two years would be the best time for them to make those decisions. A conversation can help. 🙂

Browns Gap turnpike dark clouds and sunrise

For kicks and giggles, I asked ChatGPT:

“How much have housing prices in Charlottesville, Virginia appreciated over the past 20 years, and please cite sources”

The answer shows that the AI is still in early days, but it knows where to find the answers, which is one of the first steps to finding the answer.

It is difficult for me to accurately answer your question as my training data only goes up until 2021 and I do not have access to browse the internet to verify current information. I also do not have information on the specific appreciation of housing prices in Charlottesville, Virginia over the past 20 years.

However, I can tell you that in general, housing prices can vary significantly based on many factors such as location, demand, and economic conditions. It is possible to get an idea of trends in housing prices by looking at data from sources such as the National Association of Realtors, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, or Zillow. These organizations may have data on the appreciation of housing prices in Charlottesville, Virginia over the past 20 years or longer.

Neeva’s AI answer was a bit better

“The majority of housing markets have seen between a 50% and 100% increase in price over the past 20 years.(1) According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, prices for housing are 864.71% higher in 2022 versus 1967.(2) This is also true at the state level, where booming markets such as Hawaii saw price increases double the U.S. average. (1)

This answer was generated by neevaAI using the following websites:
1 – www.visualcapitalist.com
2 – www.in2013dollars.com


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